Other considerations that may apply
List of other considerations which may apply.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students
School-based strategies to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students who are the subject of child protection concerns must be linked to their personalised learning plan, involve the student and his or her family and, where appropriate, involve appropriate support from available Aboriginal staff.
Gender considerations (Men’s/Women’s Business) should be taken into account when supporting students. Consideration may also be given to seeking advice from the local Aboriginal Medical Service where appropriate.
The department's Child Wellbeing Unit has Aboriginal Assessment Officers available on 9269 9400 who can provide support and advice when schools are responding to child protection and wellbeing concerns and supporting Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander families or referring them to appropriate services.
Students from other culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds
In supporting the needs of specific groups of students including new arrivals, refugees and other students from culturally or linguistically diverse backgrounds, schools should identify relevant resources and services available in the community. Focus areas include cultural diversity and community relations and refugee and support programs. Existing plans to support the student should be reviewed in consultation with the student (where practicable) and their parents.
Consideration should be given to arranging for an interpreter when speaking with families from linguistically diverse backgrounds. Information about interpreting and translation services is available in the department’s Interpreting and translation services guidelines.
Where a family is from a minority cultural group within NSW, care should be taken that the interpreter is not a member of the family’s community or extended family group.
Students with learning and support needs
Students with learning and support needs are at increased risk of experiencing abuse and neglect.
The school counselling service, the department’s Child Wellbeing Unit and/or external agencies such as local NSW Health Child Sexual Assault services can provide further assistance in supporting students with learning and support needs who have been affected by abuse and/or neglect. A combined interagency response can ensure the approach is appropriate and effective.
Schools should provide personalised learning and support in consultation with parents and, where practicable, the student, to enable each student with learning and support needs to access and participate in educational activities on the same basis as other children, including child protection education.
Reasonable adjustments must be made for a student with learning and support needs to enable their participation in educational programs offered by the school. An adjustment is reasonable in relation to a student with learning and support needs if it balances the interest of all parties affected including both the student with learning and support needs, staff and other students.
Students in out of home care
There is a likelihood that student in out of home care will have been exposed to higher levels of trauma and/or abuse/neglect in childhood than many other children.
Unfortunately schools are not always informed that a student is in out of home care when they begin attending school.
The Child Wellbeing Unit is able to confirm if a student is in statutory out of home care and, if they are, provide details for the non-government organisation or Family and Community Services Community Services Centre providing casework support for the child.
Given the number of people/professionals involved in the lives of children in out of home care, the views of the child should be sought about who they would like to be contacted first and from whom they would like support, to the extent it is practicable to do so.
It is the responsibility of the Secretary and Minister of Family and Community Services to confirm that children in temporary or statutory care are safe, adequately supported and cared for. A report to Family and Community Services Child Protection Helpline is required if there are concerns that a child in out of home care is homeless, pregnant or demonstrating problematic or harmful sexualised behaviour – even if the concerns do not reach the threshold of suspected risk of significant harm.
Once they are aware a student is in out of home care, school staff should work with the student’s caseworker and carers to coordinate service provision for the student. This includes reviewing the student’s personalised learning and support planning to ensure adequate support is in place to meet any additional needs. This planning should commence within 30 days of the school being informed of the student's care status. Where practicable the student should be consulted about which adult will support them in any meetings planning for the student’s support.
The support required by students in out of home care may require additional time to listen to the child, liaise with carers/professionals involved with the child and higher levels of follow up support at school. Out of home care usually involves ongoing changes in adult support. The continued, consistent support provided by schools can greatly contribute to the wellbeing of students in out of home care.
If there are concerns for the safety, welfare or wellbeing of a child or young person who is in the care of the Minister that meet the threshold for suspected risk of significant harm, a report must be made to the Child Protection Helpline. If they do not meet the threshold for significant harm, this information should be provided to the local community services centre or non-government agency that has case management responsibility for the child or young person. The agency should be informed that the information is being provided because the child or young person is in out of home care. The Child Wellbeing Unit can be contacted for assistance in determining the agency responsible for the child’s case management, if this is not already known.
In situations where the parents of a child or young person make an arrangement for them to be placed in voluntary care, if the legal restrictions for this care are not complied with, the child or young person is also taken to be at suspected risk of significant harm. The Mandatory Reporter Guide provides assistance in making decisions in these circumstances under Relinquishing Care. (Sections 154, 2(A), 156A Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998).