The Child Safe Standards provide a framework to support services with implementing child-safe leadership practices and governance
The Office of the Children’s Guardian answers frequently asked questions on implementing child-safe leadership and governance as part of the requirements under the Child Safe Standards.
26 August 2022
The Child Safe Scheme, introduced on 1 February 2022, is regulated by the NSW Office of the Children’s Guardian (OCG) and requires early childhood education and care services to implement the Child Safe Standards recommended by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
CEOs, boards and Parent Management Committees need to be aware of their new responsibilities and what is involved in creating, maintaining and continuously improving their child-safe practices.
To support early childhood educators, leaders and governance, the OCG answered some frequently asked questions from the sector.
1. Child Safe Standard 1 requires child safety to be embedded in organisational leadership, governance and culture. As a CEO or leader, what should I be doing to create and maintain a child-safe culture?
Leaders should prioritise, facilitate and promote a child-safe culture and can do so in several ways, including:
- making child safety prominent in all communications
- ensuring child safety is a standing item on all meeting agendas, including one-on-one supervision
- allocating time and budget for staff to attend child-safe training so it is well understood and embedded in everyday practices.
2. As a CEO or leader, how can I model child-safe practices?
Always be transparent and declare your conflicts of interest.
All conflicts of interest should be managed through policies and procedures.
This enables staff to act or report on incidents or allegations that relate to them without fear of repercussions.
Remember to promote child-safe practices in your regular communications, too. For example, share child-safe resources or training. You could make each month focus on one of the Standards and share best-practice case studies of child safety.
3. I’m a volunteer on the Parent Management Committee, what do I need to know?
You are responsible for the governance of a service that is involved with keeping children safe.
Boards and Parent Management Committees have a number of legal responsibilities, including implementing the Child Safe Standards.
A great place to start is understanding what the Standards are and how to implement them in your service.
A Child Safe Risk Management Plan will help your organisation understand and plan how to mitigate risks to children and should be a priority if your service does not already have one.
4. I’m a parent on the Parent Management Committee, what do I do if I have a conflict of interests when there is an incident?
You may have to declare a conflict of interests and remove yourself from the meeting while the incident is discussed.
Conflicts of interests are common in the sector, and it is important that they are documented in your policies and procedures so processes can be followed when serious incidents occur.
If an incident involves the safety of a child, it is vital all members of the board or committee (even if you are a parent) maintain confidentiality to protect the child, family and others involved in the matter.
5. If a member of our board or Parent Management Committee is the Head of Relevant Entity (HRE), what do they need to do if there is a reportable allegation?
An HRE is required to report all allegations of reportable conduct or reportable convictions regarding an employee to the OCG within 7 days of being made aware of the allegation or conviction.
Once the HRE has made the report, they will also need to arrange for the matter to be investigated and meet additional reporting obligations throughout the investigation.
If an HRE receives an allegation and is unsure whether it requires reporting, or needs further information to understand their obligations, they can find more information on the OCG website or contact the Reportable Conduct Directorate for advice on (02) 8219 3800 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
6. What resources are available for early childhood leaders and educators to support further learning and development on child-safe practices?
OCG’s Child safe resources will help extend your current child safety practices:
- Risk management handbooks to inform and manage organisational risk
o Risk Management and the Child Safe Standards Part 1 Responding to risk: A resource for child related organisations
o Risk Management and the Child Safe Standards Part 2 Identifying risk: A resource for child related organisations
- Educating staff and educators on risk of abuse:
o Induction video - Part 1 Recognising abuse
o Induction video – Part 2 Responding to abuse
o About grooming – information for child related organisations
- ELearning for staff and educators (register or log in to access):
o Child Safe eLearning
o Reportable Conduct eLearning
Risk Workshops for ECEC services
These child safe risk management workshops are suitable for area managers, directors, managers and experienced educators. There is some assumed knowledge that will not be covered in the workshops.
The risk workshops include:
- child safe policies and Code of Conduct
- reporting and conflicts of interest
- recruitment and staff training.
Please register here if you are interested in attending the workshops.
7. Where can we find more information about our child-safe responsibilities?
You can find more information on the OCG website under our resource page.
If you have further questions, you can contact Rachel Norman at email@example.com.