International Taskforce on Child Protection | November 2015

Download the complete November 2015 Report.

Dear Colleagues,

The work of the International Task Force on Child Protection (ITFCP) continues. We are a coalition of 90+ volunteers, leaders of international education organisations, school leaders, counsellors, business and security managers and teachers, school accreditation, inspection and recruitment professionals, working collaboratively across professions with dedicated law enforcement officials and the medical community. It is this broad collaboration and diverse perspective from a variety of roles which has enriched our discussion and now, our results.

Our charter is to apply our collective resources, expertise, and partnerships to help international school communities address child protection challenges. 

Today, we announce significant outcomes of our work.

Child Protection website launched …in cooperation with ICMEC
Our partnership with the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (ICMEC) has resulted in the creation of an Education Portal at the new ICMEC website, where school communities can access child protection resources, and report suspected or known abuse. We will continue to identify, gather and update resources at the site to support schools as they develop child protection programmes. Ultimately, we must also provide guidance so that people can confidentially seek advice when they suspect or detect abuse.

Child Protection Survey reveals three significant findings
International School Training Needs Survey, September 2015

Our recent survey of over 700 international educators revealed that almost half lack confidence in their abilities to detect abuse and that 90% believe annual training should be required and provided. They identified cultural difference as one of the primary barriers to reporting abuse. The full survey results can be found at the new ICMEC Education Portal.

Accreditation and Inspection agencies agree on recommendations to enhance standards for Child Protection
Demonstrating strong collaboration, Accreditation and Inspection agencies evaluating international schools have agreed on recommendations to implement enhanced standards for child protection in schools. These fall into two distinct domains:

  • Essential Questions: 13 Questions which should be comprehensively considered and which form the basis of whole school community dialogue on policies and practices related to safeguarding and child protection.
  • Expectations: 18 Essential Elements which school evaluation, accreditation and inspection agencies are strongly encouraged to adopt as essential requirements within their evaluation programmes as appropriate.

The recommendations are fully aligned with the values statements contained within the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. The School Evaluation Committee will work with the Founding Task Force Members to identify a publication date and a date by which all evaluation agencies will make a formal commitment to adopting the recommendations. (Target: February 2016)

Interpol International Police Certificate
Interpol has now launched an initiative to create one police certificate which would reflect criminal background checks in all 190 member countries. Members of the Task Force will be working with Interpol as the feasibility study gets underway.

Piloting enhanced Recruiting Practices at 70+ schools internationally
The School Recruitment Committee continues to monitor and develop effective screening practices as enhanced practices are piloted at schools around the world. A recruitment 'toolkit' will be created following completion of the pilot and posted at the new ICMEC website.

Goals for 2016:

We will move forward to implement enhanced standards for child protection in schools, to work collaboratively with educational recruitment agencies to strengthen school recruitment practices, and to identify, gather and provide resources to the international school community to support your development of child protection programmes.

During our last meeting in Dubai, we discussed the future of the Task Force, and in what form it should continue as our initial objectives are achieved. These results demonstrate the need for our continuing collaboration in some form so that we can provide the support that our schools need as we begin to implement changes in our practices.

We intend that our work will have tremendous positive impact in our schools, and to this purpose, we welcome opportunities to report on our work and discuss our findings. Many of you who are reading this report have helped to further our efforts in a highly tangible way, and for that we all thank you!

In your service, on behalf of our founding members,

Jane Larsson
Chair, International Task Force on Child Protection

Founding Members of the International Task Force on Child Protection

  • Colin Bell, Executive Director, Council of British International Schools
  • Deborah Welch, Executive Director, Academy of International School Heads
  • Christine Brown, Regional Education Officer for Europe, U.S. Department of State, Office of Overseas Schools
  • Yolanda Murphy-Barrena, Executive Director, Association for the Advancement of International Education
  • Paul DeMinico, Vice-President, International Schools Services
  • Jane Larsson, Executive Director, Council of International Schools (Chair)
  • Kevin Ruth, Executive Director, ECIS