Understanding about training, professional development, supervision & other structures which support providers to ensure children are safe

An organisation (and independent contractor) committed to providing a quality service provide their staff with appropriate orientation and ongoing opportunities for training and professional development. The focus of the training need to include information about children’s development and needs,  how to provide them with a safe environment and information about risk factors for children. This demonstrates a commitment to staff continuously developing, strengthening and maintaining their skills.

Quality organisations also have a number of ways of monitoring staff progress, their job performance and ensuring they are complying with the organisation’s policies and codes of conduct.

They provide ongoing supervision and support for staff.  This applies to both organisations and individual contractors.

What questions you could ask to find out more about this area include:

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  • What form of induction is provided to new staff?
  • What type of support, training, professional development, supervision and monitoring of staff are provided?
  • What training and ongoing professional development do you provide specifically related to ensuring that staff/providers are adequately aware of the features of what constitutes a child safe organisation?
  • For an individual contractor what training, professional development, supervision do they receive

  • Are staff trained in how to promote children’s safety and how does this occur?
  • Are they trained in how to recognise abuse and neglect and how does this occur?
  • Do staff and volunteers receive regular training about different forms of abuse – emotional, physical, sexual, and financial and neglect?
  • Are staff, providers & volunteers provided with training regarding risk factors for children with disability being placed in situations where they are not safe?
  • Are all staff included i.e. those providing direct care but also those providing other activities and/or those working in the organisation in non-direct care roles?

Organisations need to have an awareness of the most serious risk factors that can apply to their own staff.  They need to be vigilant to ensure there are no staff members who could be perpetrators and who may groom children as part of the process of sexual abuse. Parents must also keep this in mind and in relation to employing carers and providers for their children. This is very hard to think about but it needs to be done.

Grooming is defined as ‘a process by which a person prepares a child, significant adults, and the environment for the abuse of the child. Specific goals include gaining access to the child, gaining the child’s compliance and maintaining the child’s secrecy to avoid disclosure. This process serves to strengthen the offender’s abusive pattern, as it may be used as a means of justifying or denying their actions’ (Craven et. al, 2006, quoted in Child Wise, Child Grooming, 2013)

Grooming is now a criminal offence to be reported to Victoria Police and more information can be found at: http://www.justice.vic.gov.au/home/safer+communities/protecting+children+and+families/grooming+offence