Purpose of Policy
This policy was written to reflect Sure Start Health’s commitment to the safety and wellbeing of all children and young people that interact with us. This policy is also designed to outline the roles and responsibilities for management and all staff to help establish and maintain a child safe and child friendly environment.
At Sure Start Health, all children and young people are valued, respected, and encouraged to participate. The safety and protection of children and young people is always our priority.
Our policy complies with the:
• Children and Young People (Safety) Act 2017
• Child Safety (Prohibited Persons) Act 2016
• National Principles for Child Safe Organisations
We embrace all children and young people regardless of their abilities, sex, gender, or social economic or cultural background.
Bullying and harassment will not be tolerated.
We display information about services that can assist children and young people (such as the Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800 and Youth Helpline on 1300 13 17 19) in areas accessed by them.
This policy applies to:
• Employees (permanent and casual)
• Managers including Directors and the Practice Manager
• Work experience students
For the remainder of this policy, the above entities will be referred to collectively as ‘staff’.
• Children, young people and families.
Child or young person – persons under 18 years of age.
Complainant – person who makes a complaint.
Harm – Section 17 of the Safety Act defines ‘harm’ to mean physical or psychological harm (whether caused by an act or omission), including harm caused by sexual, physical, mental or emotional abuse or neglect.
National Police Check – a summary of an individual’s offender history in Australia and a record of their criminal history relating to convictions, finding of guilt or pending court proceedings. They are available from South Australia Police (SAPOL) or organisations accredited by the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission.
Working with Children Check – People working or volunteering with children in South Australia must, by law, have a valid, not prohibited Working with Children Check. A Working with Children Check is an assessment of whether a person poses an unacceptable risk to children. As part of the process, the Screening Unit will look at criminal history, child protection information and other information.
Our child safe policy and procedures are available to children, young people and families via our website and on request. A link to this policy is also provided within our online new patient intake form system.
Staff are directed to our child safe policy provided at recruitment or as part of induction process.
We encourage children and young people to participate in our ‘child safe’ process. We take steps to educate children and young people on their rights including their right to safety and right to be listened to. We communicate this using age and developmentally appropriate language.
We invite children and young people to provide feedback or raise any complaints and concerns by completing the forms provided:
• Appendix A – Children & Young people’s Feedback form
• Appendix B – Children & Young people’s Complaints or Concerns form
All members are made aware of, and must abide by, our Code of Conduct. Sure Start Health’s Code of Conduct is outlined in Appendix C.
When recruiting team members, we make clear our commitment to child safety and wellbeing by including a link to our ‘Child Safe policy’ online, and by stating in any job advertisement that we require a ‘not prohibited’ status on a Working with Children Check issued by the DHS Screening Unit. During face-to-face interviews we include behavioural questions in relation to child safeguarding.
We include a minimum of two referee checks and relevant qualification checks and require staff to have a current, ‘not prohibited’ Working with Children Check issued by the DHS Screening Unit.
We will verify new employees have a current, not prohibited Working with Children Check before employing them to work with children and young people, and for existing employees, we will verify they have renewed their Working with Children Check every 5 years and the status remains as not prohibited. Verification will be done online through the Organisation Portal accessed via the DHS Screening Unit.
We will advise the Screening Unit where the organisation becomes aware of certain information regarding any person involved with your organisation, including any serious criminal offence, child protection information, or disciplinary or misconduct information.
Sure Start Health will provide ongoing support to staff about their role in maintaining child safe environments. Support includes supervision and training.
Regular on-the-job supervision sessions that include a focus on child safety and wellbeing.
During their induction process, new staff will receive access to this policy and be made aware of their responsibilities to children and young people, including record keeping, information sharing and reporting obligations.
Staff will be reminded of their responsibilities as part of their quarterly performance appraisals.
Staff will be made aware of who is the appointed child safety officer.
• All staff are aware of the Mandatory Notification Information Booklet (see: https://dhs.sa.gov.au/ data/assets/pdf_file/0003/103179/CSE-Mandatory-notification-information- booklet.PDF).
• Include child safety as a standing item on meeting agendas.
• Encourage viewing of web-based resources about issues concerning child safety and wellbeing.
• Mandated notifiers to provide feedback to staff, after completing their periodic mandated training regarding the wellbeing and development of children and young people.
Mandatory Notifiers in our organisation are staff who:
• provide a service directly to children and young people
• hold a management position in the organisation the duties of which include direct responsibility for, or direct supervision of, the provision of those services to children and young people.
All mandated notifiers have a legal obligation to report a reasonable belief that a child or young person has been harmed or is at risk of harm.
Non-mandated notifiers are encouraged to make voluntary reports about harm or risk of harm to a child or young person.
Reports regarding the reasonable belief that a child or young person is, or may be, at risk of harm are to be made to the Child Abuse Report Line (CARL) on 13 14 78 or if at immediate risk, report to South Australia Police (SAPOL) on 000. In cases involving Aboriginal children and young people, support is provided by Yaitya Tirramangkotti – an Aboriginal team, via the CARL number.
The individual who identifies the harm or risk of harm is the person who makes the report to CARL/SAPOL and this is not reported internally for another staff member to determine if it is a reportable matter.
We will be guided by the relevant authority (Department for Child Protection/SA Police) about how to proceed after a notification.
Sure Start Health staff are required to notify management after they have made a report to CARL/SAPOL regarding a child or young person receiving a service from the organisation.
If there is reasonable belief that a child or young person has been, or may be, at risk of harm by staff (following a report having been made to authorities), to ensure the ongoing safety to all children and young people, we will:
• remove the staff member from any role that has contact with children and young people until authorities have concluded their investigation
• refer the child, young person or their family to other appropriate services
• be guided by the relevant authority (Department for Child Protection/SA Police) about how to proceed after a notification.
We encourage children, young people and their families to provide feedback or make a complaint using the forms in Appendix A & B.
Sure Start Health will deal with all complaints and feedback promptly, sensitively and fairly. Examples of how they can provide feedback or make a complaint include:
• verbally – (08) 8272 2862
• in writing – Child Safe Officer, Sure Start Health, U1 15-17 Princes Road, Kingswood SA 5062
• via our website – surestarthealth.com.au/contact-us/
• listen to the complaint/feedback and make a record of it
• advise the time expected for an outcome
• respond to the complainant with an outcome
• clearly document and securely store decisions and actions taken in response to complaints and feedback
• make sure that procedural fairness is followed.
Sure Start Health takes steps to minimise the risks to children due to the actions or omissions of employees, contractors, or other people within our practice. We undertake reviews to address any new or emerging risks to maintain a safe environment for children.
Strategies implemented to minimise and control risks to children and young people include:
• All employees are required to abide by our Child Safe Policy.
• We require that all practitioners engaged via Service Agreements/sub-contractors provide evidence of current, not prohibited Working with Children Check at commencement of engagement and renew every 5 years as applicable.
• Employees of Sure Start Health will take reasonable steps to ensure they are responsive to the needs and vulnerabilities of children and young people (such as age, language barriers, developmental capabilities, disability, mental health, trauma or abuse).
• We will take reasonable steps to ensure that all clients and caregivers are made aware that young children entering our practice must be always supervised. Where a child or young person is unaccompanied by a parent or caregiver, the practitioner will consider whether a chaperone is required.
• Employees will take reasonable steps to provide clear age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate explanations to children and young people about the consultation and allow for questions.
• Where treatment requires physical contact, employees will first seek the consent of the child, young person and their parents (where applicable).
• Employees confirm the identity of any child receiving treatment at this Practice.
• Sure Start Health will take reasonable steps to ensure that we respond to any concerns that children, or their families or carers raise quickly and fairly.
• Employees understand their obligation to notify the Child Abuse Report Line on 13 14 78 as soon as practicable if they have a reasonable suspicion that a child or young person has been or is being abused or neglected.
• We take reasonable steps to ensure a physically and socially safe environment for children and young people that is free of any identifiable hazards.
• Code of conduct (see Appendix C).
• Chiropractic Board of Australia, Codes and Guidelines- https://www.chiropracticboard.gov.au/Codes-guidelines.aspx
• Speech Pathology Code of Conduct
• Code of Conduct for working with children and young people
• Staff recruitment procedures and information regarding the working with children check requirements
• Risk management policy/strategy any other policies or procedures developed to manage risks and protect children and young people.
Sure Start Health will, at a minimum, review our Child Safe policies and procedures once every 5 years as required by the Children and Young People (Safety) Act 2017. We will lodge a new child safe environment compliance statement with the Department of Human Services each time this policy is reviewed/updated.