Child Protection Policy

Aim

Australia is a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) and many of the principles within the Convention are embedded within child protection legislation. Whilst Parents and Educators/Staff are responsible for the safety and welfare of children in their care, protecting children and young people from abuse and neglect is the responsibility of the whole community.

Educators/staff at Glenhaven Private Preschool believe they have a responsibility to all children attending the Service to defend their right to care and protection. To support this right, the Service will follow the procedures covered within this policy, when dealing with any reportable allegations, to ensure the protection of all children attending the Education and Care Service. Approved Providers, Nominated Supervisors, Educators, and Staff Members are aware of their responsibilities to respond to every child at risk of abuse or neglect.

Glenhaven Private Preschool believes it also has a responsibility to its employees to defend their right to confidentiality unless allegations against them are substantiated. The Education and Care Service will ensure all groups affected by this policy, are aware of the roles and responsibilities that the Education and Care Service has in relation to Child Protection.

The Education and Care Service will implement preventative procedures which protect and educate Children, Educators, Staff, Parents, and Community Members.

The Education and Care Service will ensure that all requirements of Child Protection Legislation are being met.

Under the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998, there are provisions where Education and Care Service staff, have child protection concerns about a child/ren. Education and Care Services play an important role in recognising and reporting child abuse and neglect, and in promoting the safety, welfare and wellbeing of children. This legislation states that all people who hold a management position, or who are employees delivering Education and Care Services, are legally obliged to report any reasonable grounds to suspect that a child is at significant risk of harm.

This means that if you work in an Education and Care Service you are a mandatory reporter. It also includes those involved in the management of an Education and Care Service. 

Legislative Requirements

  • Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998 (NSW)
  • The Ombudsman’s Act 1974
  • Commission for Children and Young People Act 1998 (NSW)
  • Child Protection (Prohibited Employment) Act 1998
  • Child Protection (Offenders Registration) Act 2000 (NSW)
  • Crimes Act 1900
  • Family Law Act 1975 (Cth)
  • Education and Care Services National Regulation 2011
  • Education and Care Services National Law Act 2010
  • National Quality Standards 2011
  • United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989)
  • Children Legislation Amendment (Wood Inquiry Recommendations) Act 2009 No 13

Who is affected by this policy?

  • Parents
  • Children
  • Educators
  • Management
  • Volunteers
  • Students
  • Ancillary Staff
  • Service Visitors
  • General Community

Responsibilities

Education and Care Services Staff

  • Report any case where a child is suspected to be at risk of significant harm to the Child Protection Mandatory Reporters Helpline on 133 627.
  • Promote the safety, welfare and wellbeing of children and young people at your Service.
  • Where concerns of harm do not meet the significant harm threshold, be aware of referring agencies for families.
  • Be aware of the New South Wales Mandatory Reporter Guide.
  • Assist in supporting children and families in partnership with NSW Government Human Services Community Services and other government agencies.

 

It is important to remember that all employees, members of staff and Educators (and the Approved Provider) are mandatory reporters for NSW Government Human Services Community Services. The Education and Care Service procedure states that reports regarding a child at risk of significant harm are to be made by the Nominated Supervisor or Approved Provider. However, if the Nominated Supervisor or Approved Provider has not made a report to the Child Protection Hotline, you (Staff Member) continue to be legally responsible to do so.

It is the responsibility of the person suspecting the risk of child protection to ensure that a report is made.

Education and Care Services Employer

  • Ensure that all employees, members of staff or Educators are:
    • Clear about their roles and responsibilities under current Acts and Regulations.
    • Aware of their obligations to immediately report to the Child Protection Hotline a    child that they suspect is at risk of significant harm, and procedures for reporting.
    • Aware of indicators when a child may be at risk of harm or significant harm.
  • Provide training and development for all employees, members of staff or Educators in the recognition and reporting of suspected risk of harm.
  • Provide reporting procedures and professional standards for care and protection work generally.
  • Conduct the Working with Children Check.
  • Report to the NSW Ombudsman, any reportable allegations and convictions made against an employee, volunteer or student and ensure that they are investigated by the Head of Agency, with the appropriate action to be taken in relation to finding.
  • Notify the Commission for Children and Young People details of employees, members of staff or Educators against whom relevant disciplinary proceedings have been completed, or of persons whose employment has been rejected primarily because of a risk identified in employment screening processes.
  • Enable employees, members of staff or Educators access to Acts, Regulations and procedures where this is necessary for them to fulfil their obligations.

Other Agencies

In dealing with Child Protection in Education and Care Services, it may be necessary to work with other agencies, these agencies also have responsibilities – these responsibilities are;

Child Protection Helpline

  • Receive and assess reports of children who are at risk of significant harm.
  • Investigate and assess reports where there is a likelihood of risk of significant harm to the child or a class of children.
  • In cases involving child sexual abuse or serious physical abuse, plan, conduct and manage, with Police (and NSW Health where a medical examination and/or counseling or support are needed), joint investigation, through Joint Investigation Response Teams (JIRT).
  • Provide, arrange and request care and / or support services for children and families.
  • Informs reporting agencies of the progress and outcomes of assessments and investigations as permitted by law, and as appropriate.

Child Wellbeing Unit

  • To help and identify whether a case meets the new threshold of risk of significant harm.

NSW Ombudsman’s Office

  • Monitors the investigation of and in some cases investigates reportable allegations made against employees in government and non-government agencies, such as Education and Care services.
  • The Ombudsman must be notified of all allegations of abuse or neglect of a child by one of the employees.
  • For the purposes of the Ombudsman’s legislation, an employee includes someone who is helping out as a volunteer.

The Commission for Children and Young People

  • Monitors trends and makes recommendations to government and non-government agencies on legislation, policies, practices and services affection young children.
  • Provides guidelines relating to employment screening for child related employment and maintains database of relevant disciplinary proceedings.

Implementation

  • Strategies for creating a child protective environment will be adopted and followed at the Service.
  • Employer and employee responsibilities in relation to reportable allegations are included in staff handbooks. These responsibilities are highlighted to new staff members at their induction. (Refer to information sheet on “Notification of those involved in Education and Care Services” –in this policy).
  • Staff members will be encouraged to attend training on child protection.
  • Any reportable allegations in respect of a child attending the Education and Care Service made against the head of agency or a staff member must be reported to the Ombudsman Office within 30 days after the day on which the allegation was made.