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  • Writer's pictureHelen Haydock

Child safety starts with hiring suitable staff

In this post, we will focus on how child safe organisations can ensure that the individuals working with children are suitable for their roles. Children interact with various organisations, ranging from professional settings like schools and health services to volunteer-led activities such as sports and leisure programs. While legislation may differ across states and territories, there are general considerations we can keep in mind when assessing an organisation's commitment to child safety. Let's explore these aspects together.

Beyond the Working With Children Check

Working with Children Checks (WWCC) and police checks are commonly used to evaluate the suitability of staff and volunteers. However, it's essential to remember that these checks only provide information about a person's known history. Unfortunately, cases of abuse often go unreported or fail to result in action. Consequently, individuals with a WWCC or who pass a police check may still pose a risk. Therefore, relying solely on a WWCC is not sufficient to determine someone's suitability to work with children. Additionally, organisations should ensure the ongoing monitoring of a person's WWCC validity.

Interview, check, train and supervise

Organisations that hire staff to work with children can do more to assess their suitability. These may include thorough interviews, reference checks, comprehensive training, and effective supervision. By combining these measures, organisations can make informed decisions regarding the suitability of potential staff members.

Safe and suitable volunteers

For organisations that rely on volunteers, there are additional steps that can be taken alongside WWCCs to ensure their suitability. These measures include appropriate supervision of volunteers, clearly defining the scope of their roles, and providing clear guidelines to both volunteers and families/children regarding acceptable behaviour. Creating a code of conduct that volunteers must agree to can be an effective way to communicate behavioural expectations.

Looking ahead

By adopting these practices, organisations demonstrate their commitment to safeguarding children. In our next post, we will explore the significance of a code of conduct in further detail.

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