FINDING THE PROVIDER WHO WILL PROVIDE A SAFE AND POSITIVE ENVIRONMENT FOR YOUR CHILD.

UNDERSTANDING SAFEGUARDS, LEGISLATION & STANDARDS SECTION

 

You need to contact a service provider to determine what care they can provide your child.

This is a big thing you are considering particularly in these times of the service landscape changing.

The providers/organisations you will come into contact with will vary. Some will be specialist disability services; some will be mainstream and provide services for a range of children. Some will be registered with the NDIS, some may not. Some will be organisations, some will be sole traders.

However there are common issues to keep in mind that will apply regardless of what type of service the provider works for or offers.

There are many forms of safeguards that have been developed to ensure that all children have the right to feel and be safe wherever they are. This may be a new term. Safeguards are something that provides safety and protection.

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Safeguards include laws, policies, and programs, practices and activities that have been developed to protect children from feeling unsafe, physically, emotionally and sexually. Safeguards include actions that are taken ‘…to promote the welfare of children and protect them from harm’ (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, 2016). Examples of safeguards are legal requirements such as Working with Children Checks and policies developed within an organisation such as a Code of Conduct.

The presence of safeguards do not provide a complete guarantee that children will be protected from harm, there is evidence that the more safeguards that are present, the stronger the protection will be.

There are legislation, policies and frameworks that have been developed that applies to all organisations and all providers to ensure that they provide a safe environment for all children:

These operate at the international level, the National or Commonwealth level and at the Victorian State level. The Victorian Government has introduced a number of new legislation and policies to ensure children’s safety. The Child Safe Standards aim to prevent physical violence, sexual abuse, serious emotional or psychological abuse and serious neglect.

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The Child Wellbeing and Safety Amendment (Child Safety Standards) Act 2015 has identified seven Child Safe Standards which are now compulsory for all organisations providing services to children, and aim to drive cultural change in organisations so that promoting safety and protecting children from harm/abuse is embedded in the everyday thinking and practice of leaders, staff and volunteers. Organisations are required to consider the safety of children with a disability across the implementation of all the seven standards.

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  • Standard 1: Strategies to embed an organisational culture of child safety;
  • Standard 2: A child safe policy or statement of commitment to child safety;
  • Standard 3: A code of conduct that establishes clear expectations for appropriate behaviour with children
  • Standard 4: Screening, supervision, training and other human resources practices that reduce the risk of child abuse by new and existing personnel
  • Standard 5: Processes for responding to and reporting suspected child abuse
  • Standard 6: Strategies to identify and reduce or remove the risk of abuse
  • Standard 7: Strategies to promote the participation and empowerment of children

Further information about the Child Safe Standards can be found on the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services website: http://www.dhs.vic.gov.au/about-the-department/documents-and-resources/policies,-guidelines-and-legislation/child-safe-standards

In addition the Commission for Children and Young People and the Principal Commissioner, the Disability Services Commissioner and the organisation, Child Wise are amongst a number of champions who operate to ensure that all organisations know how to promote a safe environment and how to respond to situations where that safety has been threatened. Their web site is http://www.ccyp.vic.gov.au/. They have developed a number of excellent child safety tip sheets for parents and organisations including ‘what do look for in a child safe organisation, Safety of Children with a Disability (http://www.ccyp.vic.gov.au/downloads/tipsheets/tipsheet-safety-children-disability.pdf).

The NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme) is a Federal Government initiative which is a new way to help people with disability receive care and support. There is a NDIS website which explains who is included in the NDIS: http://ww.ndis.gov.au/ndis-access-checklist. For more information: www.ndis.gov.au, http://www.disabilityloop.org.au or call 1800 800 110.