Building a Child Safe Organisation
All children who come to our Preschool have a right to be safe
At Preschool we hold the care, safety and well being of children and young people as a central and fundamental responsibility of our Preschool. Our Preschool have zero tolerance of child abuse and all children are entitled to, as a fundamental right, safety and protection from all forms of abuse and neglect. We all have an obligation to do the best we can to keep children safe from harm and abuse. We are committed to preventing child abuse and identifying risks early and then reducing or removing them.
We want children to be safe, happy and empowered. We support and respect all children, as well as our staff and volunteers. We are committed to the safety, participation and empowerment of all children. We have zero tolerance of child abuse, and all allegations and safety concerns will be treated very seriously and consistently with our robust policies and procedures. We have legal and moral obligations to contact authorities when we are worried about a child’s safety, which we follow rigorously. Our kindergarten is committed to preventing child abuse and identifying risks early, and removing and reducing these risks. Our kindergarten has robust human resources and recruitment practices for all staff and volunteers. Our kindergarten is committed to regularly training and educating our staff and volunteers on child abuse risks. We support and respect all children, as well as our staff and volunteers. We are committed to the cultural safety of Aboriginal children, the cultural safety of children from culturally and/or linguistically diverse backgrounds, and to providing a safe environment for children with a disability.
In April 2012, the Victorian Government initiated a landmark inquiry into the handling of child abuse allegations within religious and other non-government organisations. The inquiry’s final report, Betrayal of Trust provided a range of recommendations. The Victorian Government’s response included the introduction of compulsory minimum Victorian Child Safe Standards. The aim of these standards is to help protect children from all forms of abuse by driving cultural change in organisations in order to strengthen their approaches to preventing and responding to abuse. The standards apply from January 2017 for organisations who provide services for children.
Victorian Child Safe Standards
To create and maintain a child safe organisation, an entity to which the standards apply must have:
Strategies to embed an organisational culture of child safety, including through effective leadership arrangements.
Commitment to ensuring that all those engaged in the Preschool promote the inherent dignity of children and young people and their fundamental right to be respected and nurtured in a safe environment.
Zero tolerance of child abuse and all allegations as well as safety concerns.
Commitment to cultural safety for Aboriginal children and those from culturally and/or linguistically diverse backgrounds, and to provide a safe environment for children with a disability.
Implementation across Yongala Preschool
Training and Formation
Professional Standards for Child Safety – Training Program in 2017and 2018
Initial training is being offered. The purpose of this training is to support each of us in our varying roles and responsibilities and affirm our active contribution to a culture committed to a safe and nurturing environment.
An Induction Program offered throughout the year for new staff, committee, parents and volunteers new to their roles.
Ongoing formation opportunities for existing staff and parishioners.
Child Safety Officers have been nominated with teachers and the president of the Yongala Preschool Committee of management taking on this role.
Compliance and screening practices, including current and valid Working with Children Check.
Prevention strategies to prevent child abuse and to identify risks, comprising of policy and procedure reviews, risk analysis and meeting audit requirements.
Processes for responding to and reporting an allegation of child abuse or a safety concern, and a resource to record disclosures.
All staff, parents and voluntaries and contractors involved in child-connected work require a valid and current Working with Children Check. If this is not done they must be supervised at all times around children by a staff member during operating hours. Compulsory attendance at a Child Safety Induction Program for new staff is also required together with a signed Preschool’ Code of Conduct. The centre is required to keep up to date records of the status of Working with Children Checks, attendance at the Induction Program and signed Code of Conduct documentation.
Key Policy Documents
Reporting and Responding to Child Abuse
You may form a reasonable belief that a child in our preschool environment is in need of protection, or a criminal offence has been committed. You should always report circumstances that cause you concern. These circumstances may include:
A disclosure made to you by a child.
Being present and witnessing an event or incident.
Observing events that cause you to form an objectively reasonable belief that a child is being harmed or abused, or is at risk of being harmed or abused.
‘Child Abuse’ includes:
Sexual offences, grooming, physical violence, serious emotional or psychological harm, serious neglect, family violence or exposure to family violence.
Child Safety Team
A Child Safety Team has been established across our Preschool to oversee the implementation of the Child Safe Policy and to ensure that appropriate action is taken to respond to concerns about the well being and safety of children. The team is the first point of contact for reporting any concerns and any questions that you may have regarding the Preschool’ Child Safe Policy and Program.
For matters that cause you concern, please contact one of our Preschool Child Safety Officers as follows:
Preschool Child Safety Officers
The welfare and best interests of the child are of utmost importance. Whenever there are concerns that a child is in immediate danger, the Police should be called on 000