Compassion International has achieved Level One Certification from Keeping Children Safe (KCS), an internationally recognized child safeguarding organization.

The following blog post will give: 

  • An overview of the process to achieve the certification
  • Detail how Compassion exceeded requirements
  • Highlight why the certification is significant
  • Underscore our commitment to child protection

An overview of the process

Keeping Children Safe is an independent organization which establishes internationally recognized child safeguarding standards. The organization helps to ensure organizations that work directly with children have the right safeguards in place to ensure the children they serve are protected.

“Achieving Level One Certification means that Compassion has established a sound and robust framework for keeping children safe, as identified through a self-assessment, external review of key documents and interviews with key personnel. The framework identifies child safeguarding risks and describes the steps Compassion has taken to ensure that minimum child safeguarding measures are in place.”

Organizations often engage in training or a form of certification after they’ve been found negligent, have gone through many incidents and/or have received bad press. However, Compassion voluntarily entered the certification process, without prompting, because we understand the benefit of inviting in experts to evaluate Compassion’s work and give recommendations for improvements.

In an environment where NGOs are increasingly found to be negligent in safeguarding, external validation by a world-renowned organization like KCS demonstrates Compassion’s willingness to be transparent in our processes, our commitment to learning and growing and progress toward a truly comprehensive approach to keeping children safe in their organization.

“Achieving this level of certification is an important milestone for us,” says Compassion’s Senior Child Protection Advisor Megan Kelly. “We are thrilled to have achieved this and the validation and opportunities to continue to implement systems and best practices to keep children safe.”

A snapshot of the KCS process:

  • Took Compassion’s Child Protection team 18 months to complete.
  • Included a self-audit by each of Compassion’s 25 National Offices.
  • Required over 400 documents to support as proof of their efforts.
  • Involved 68 individual interviews.

Exceeding Requirements

We’re happy to report that Compassion exceeded certification requirements. KCS focused most interviews on Compassion staff with various roles and responsibilities, rather than only those staff members with specific child protection responsibilities, to understand whether child protection was embedded across all departments and countries.

These standards represent the gold standards in the NGO sector, and have been adopted by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID), the United Kingdom’s Charity Commission, and acknowledged by the UN as important as “they offer an excellent opportunity not only for the improvement of the quality and professionalism of those working with children but most importantly, it will help to achieve a greater impact for children,” shares KCS.

“Compassion has clear, well-publicized reporting procedures in place that allow staff, children and families to raise concerns, confidentially if necessary, about unacceptable behaviour or actual/potential abuse by staff, consultants, volunteers or contractors and that provide step-by-step guidance on what action to take.”

~ Keeping Children Safe

Why this certification is significant

KCS is a UK-based independent not-for-profit which establishes internationally recognized child safeguarding standards that ensure all organizations working directly for and with children have comprehensive safeguarding measures in place. Their independence means their standards and advice are not influenced by any other organization or government and are recognized by the UK’s Department For International Development (DFID), the European Commission (EC), USAID, and the UN, and enable organizations of all types and sizes to implement rigorous policies, processes and audits that protect children from abuse. Along with certification, KCS provides recommendations for continued improvement and opportunities for learning and growth.

“Continuous learning is just as important, if not more important, than achieving certification,” said Sarah Byrd, Compassion’s child protection advisor and project lead for certification efforts. “Inviting others in to observe our processes provides new ideas and needed perspective so we can continue to improve our efforts to make sure children are safe and empowered.”

Our ongoing commitment to child protection

Compassion’s global child protection team will collaborate with regional and national leadership in 2021.

Together, they will establish how recommendations provided by KCS will be incorporated into existing child protection strategies and implemented for the benefit of children around the world.

Written by: Compassion Canada