By Jane Larsson, Executive Director CIS and Chair, International Taskforce on Child Protection
Amazing work has been achieved by the International Taskforce on Child Protection volunteers since we joined together in 2014 to apply our collective resources, expertise, and partnerships to help international school communities address child protection challenges. Six international education associations formed the original coalition.
Today, the International Taskforce includes almost 100 volunteers as we approach ten years of working together and sharing insights. And, we continue to grow!
Dictionary.com defines volunteerism this way: the policy or practice of volunteering one's time or talents for charitable, educational, or other worthwhile activities, especially in one's community.
What was and is amazing about the Taskforce is our shared commitment—across professions—to address highly complex and challenging global issues that combine to make international schools vulnerable when it comes to preventing and identifying child abuse in all its forms.
Personally, I’ve had the privilege and pleasure of serving as Chair of the Taskforce since its inception, and I’ve seen the dedication of countless volunteers to this work.
What makes volunteering on the Taskforce so rewarding for educators?
It's the opportunity to meet and learn from people in other professions as we come together to share multiple perspectives and solutions—including professionals and experts from government, law and law enforcement, medicine, psychology, insurance and social work.
Imagine the possibilities as we work with people who typically only work with children after something terrible has happened to them.
When the Taskforce formed in 2014, we were motivated by the sheer pain of knowing that our systems had failed to protect so many children … and that we hadn’t seen it happening.
We then began educating ourselves, learning from the incredible people in other professions who taught us what we needed to know.
Together, we make substantive improvements to prevent abuse from happening in the first place.
The Taskforce in 2022 includes a broad range of volunteer perspectives:
- 20 educational associations
- 11 school leaders
- 8 accreditation and inspection agencies
- 7 school groups
- 6 school safeguarding leads/counselors
- 6 experts in safeguarding, psychology and crisis communications
- 6 international recruitment agencies
- 5 governmental law enforcement agencies
- 5 safeguarding nonprofit organizations
- 3 higher education researchers
- 2 experts in data protection and cybersecurity
- 2 international curriculum and assessment organizations
What’s next, and how can you contribute?
Moving forward, we’ve identified four areas of challenge which require our attention.
- Governance and leadership accountability
- Social and emotional curriculum implementation
- Parental engagement
- Recruitment, regulations and reporting
A new call for volunteers is underway. Let us know your interest by completing this short survey.
If you are already part of the Taskforce, thank you for your insights and collaboration! We hope that many of you are able to join one of our four new working groups.
Founding members of the Taskforce:
- Jane Larsson, Executive Director, Council of International Schools (Chair)
- Colin Bell, Executive Director, Council of British International Schools
- Christine Brown, Regional Education Officer for Europe, U.S. Department of State, Office of Overseas Schools
- Kam Chohan, Executive Director, ECIS, the Educational Collaborative for Schools
- Liz Duffy, President, International Schools Services
- Laura Light, Executive Director, Association for the Advancement of International Education
- Andy Page-Smith, Executive Director, Academy of International School Heads
Reports and resources available from work completed in 2021
The latest International Taskforce reports and resources are published on the ICMEC Education Portal.
The International Taskforce on Child Protection (ITFCP) Expectations for School Communities have been strengthened* to highlight leading safeguarding and child protection practices. Working in consultation with school evaluation, accreditation and inspection agencies operating within national and international contexts, the ITFCP Accountability Committee achieved broad agreement for the adoption of updated recommendations to be included within each agency’s framework for school evaluation.
Student Voice: Data, Guidance and Resources This report focuses on the importance of student voice in the development of safeguarding and child protection practices. It is accompanied by guidance, survey tools and resources for school use as they consider how to seek and incorporate student voice in their safeguarding programs and practices.
CIS members can also visit the CIS Community portal > KnowledgeBase > Videos to watch Jane Larsson, Katie Rigg, and Rick Spradling provide an overview of new resources and expectations from the Taskforce to strengthen safeguarding and child protection practices internationally. Including guidance on how to seek and incorporate student voice when developing programs and practices.
- Learn more about the International Taskforce on Child Protection
- Learn more about child protection at CIS
- Register for a CIS workshop to help your work with child protection, data protection & safeguarding, and mental health & well-being
- Read more posts about child protection and safeguarding from across the CIS community