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Developing a child safe policy

Organisations must establish child safe environment policies and procedures and communicate them to everyone involved in the organisation.

Role of a child safe policy

Your child safe policy should:

  • show staff, volunteers, parents, guardians, carers and children that your organisation is committed to the safety of children
  • set out appropriate standards of behaviour and practices for people working and volunteering with children
  • increase staff and volunteer awareness of risks to children and the strategies in place to minimise them
  • build staff and volunteer knowledge of how to identify suspected child abuse or neglect and respond appropriately.
  • be relevant to the size, nature and resources of your organisation. 

Your policy sets out the steps your organisation will take to promote the safety and wellbeing of children. It should be tailored and relevant to your organisation’s focus and activities.

Individual policy development

Organisations must ensure that their policies and procedures meet minimum requirements for establishing a child safe environment.

Your organisation should  craft a set of child safe procedures and a policy that best meets your services, activities and vision for a child safe environment.

Information to include in your policy

The child safe environment compliance statement sets out the minimum criteria your organisation must meet to provide a child safe environment. 

Your policies and procedures should include:

Developing your policy

Consult

Involve all members of your organisation in the development of your child safe policy and code of conduct. Wherever possible, this should include consultation with children and young people who receive your services.

Wide consultation will help ensure the policy is useful, understood and supported by everyone involved in your organisation. 

Statement of your commitment

Your policy should clearly state your organisation’s commitment to the safety, protection and wellbeing of children.

This statement might be quoted on newsletters, posters and in other contexts to ensure that this commitment is understood by everyone involved in your organisation.

For example:

Our child safe policy was written to demonstrate the strong commitment of our organisation to child safety and establishing and maintaining child safe and child friendly environments.

All children who come to our organisation have a right to feel and be safe.  We are committed to the safety and well-being of all children and young people accessing our services and this will always be our first priority.

We aim to create a child safe and child friendly environment where all children are respected, valued and encouraged to reach their full potential. 

Our policy was developed in collaboration with all our employees, volunteers, the children who use our services and their parents.  It is available from …

Children’s participation

When children are involved in planning and decision making they feel empowered and are more likely to let people know when they feel unsafe. Your policy should include an undertaking to encourage children to express their views and make suggestions.

Always ensure that feedback and suggestions made by children are acknowledged, and acted upon wherever possible.

Choosing and developing the right people 

Establish safe and fair recruitment and selection processes for employees and volunteers and ensure your staff and volunteers receive ongoing supervision, support and training.

Reporting child abuse and neglect 

Your staff and volunteers may be mandated notifiers and required by law to report any suspicions of child abuse and neglect. Your organisation must have a policy for ensuring appropriate reports are made to the child abuse report line

Bullying and harassment 

Your policy should identify how your organisation will address bullying by or against children in your organisation.

Children and families affected by developmental delay or disabilities

Child safe policies and practices help to ensure that children and families affected by developmental delay or disability can safely participate in community activities, programs and services.

Complaints management and disciplinary action

Establish a process for managing complaints and disciplinary proceedings that is accessible to everyone in your organisation (including children and young people) and refer to it in your policy.

Review, update and refine

Set a review date for your policy. It is recommended that your policy is reviewed at least once every three years. Policies also need to be reviewed and updated if an issue is identified, or if new legislation or standards are introduced.

Communicate

Ensure everyone in your organisation is aware of your policies and committed to achieving a child safe environment.

Contact

Child Safe Environments

Phone: 8463 6468
Email: decdchildsafe [at] sa.gov.au