ACSYL Policy on Safeguarding
1. Emphasis on assets, not deficits
Our approach to safeguarding, as to all of our work, is asset-based rather than deficit-based. Many people in our client group live unnecessarily narrow lives because those caring for them tend to emphasise meeting needs, solving problems and avoiding risks. To quote Judith Snow, pioneer and communicator extraordinaire: "The problem with most kinds of planning around people who are vulnerable, either because they are labelled physically, behaviourally or mentally disabled, is that we focus on what's wrong with the person or with their family. As we focus on what's wrong with them, we end up with ways to try and fix them but with no way to move forward in that person's life. Often you end up getting stuck."
We all flourish by building on our strengths and doing more of what energises us. Everyone has something unique and valuable to give, and ACSYL delights in empowering clients to design their lives around what they enjoy and would like to contribute to their community.
2. Safety in numbers
ACSYL is inspired by these words from Ted Kuntz, Chair of PLAN (Planned Lifetime Advocacy Network) in Canada: "Safety and security is dependent upon the number of relationships a person has. The more relationships, the safer they are. The fewer relationships, the more vulnerable they are."
- ACSYL provides ongoing guidance in this area for all circle members.
The Community Connector and other circle members are responsible for promoting the focus person's well-being. This includes
- nurturing his/her health, happiness, development, learning and growth
- recognising his/her right to be treated with dignity and respect at all times
- encouraging him/her to express choices and make decisions
- listening to him/her with eyes and ears, recognising that all behaviour is communication, and just because someone can't speak it doesn't mean they have nothing to say
- working to achieve a healthy balance between choice and safety: protecting the focus person from harm while recognising his/her right to have a full and satisfying life
- building strong friendships with the focus person and with each other in order to provide a robust and empowering support system
- responding promptly to accidents, complaints, and incidents of alleged or suspected abuse – reporting them to ACSYL management without delay
All Community Connectors have up-to-date DBS (formerly CRB) checks. The same applies to other circle members in cases where the focus person and/or family request it.
- Careful record keeping is part of ACSYL's safeguarding procedure. It protects the client, the Community Connector and the company.