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  • Writer's pictureHelen Haydock

Ensuring child safety: what to look for in an organisation

Following recent media focus on child safety many parents and guardians may be questioning what they should be looking for when selecting organisations to provide services to their children. In this blog post we'll explore questions parents and guardians can consider to determine whether an organisation is child safe. While your level of involvement with these organisations may vary, there are key factors to look out for. Let's dive in!

Understanding child safe organisations

First, let's understand what a child safe organisation is. We've covered various elements in previous posts that highlight an organisation's commitment to child safety. Keep in mind that there are different types and sizes of organisations, so our list is not exhaustive but offers valuable insights.

Questions to ask yourself

To ensure your child's safety, consider asking yourself the following questions:

Do I feel welcomed by the organisation? Look for signs of inclusivity, open communication, and a friendly atmosphere. Feeling welcomed shows that the organisation values parent/guardian involvement.

Are my children happy attending the organisation? Are they welcomed? Observe your children's emotions and assess whether they feel comfortable and included in the activities. Additionally, consider if the staff and other children make an effort to welcome and engage them.

Has the organisation made efforts to engage with me in an accessible way? Effective communication is crucial. Evaluate whether the organisation uses channels that suit your needs and accessibility requirements to engage with you.

Do I trust the people working with my child? Consider the behavior, professionalism, qualifications, and relevant background checks of the staff and volunteers interacting with your child. Trust your instincts and address any concerns with the organisation.

Has the organisation answered my questions? A child-safe organisation should provide clear and timely answers to your inquiries about your child's wellbeing, activities, policies, or procedures.

Does the organisation involve me in decisions about my child? Assess whether the organisation communicates regularly, seeks your input and feedback, and involves you in decision-making processes related to your child.

Is it easy for me to provide feedback to the organisation? Evaluate if the organisation encourages and welcomes feedback from parents and children, and if they have accessible channels for providing feedback.

Questions to ask the organisation

You can also directly ask the organisation the following questions:

  • How does the organisation ensure the suitability of staff, volunteers, visitors, and contractors who work with children?

  • Can I review the organisation's child-safe policies and complaint handling procedures?

  • What kind of child protection training do staff receive?

  • For relevant organisations in Victoria and NSW, what steps are being taken to implement the Child Safe Standards? In Tasmania, how are they preparing for the upcoming standards? In other states and territories, how do they align with The National Principles?

Observations to make

In addition to asking questions, make the following observations:

  • How do staff members interact with children?

  • How do staff members interact with each other in the presence of children?

  • How involved are senior staff and management in day-to-day interactions between staff and children?

  • Is child safety-related information displayed within the organisation?

  • Does the environment appear safe and child-friendly in design?

Talking to your children

Engage in conversations with your children:

  • Ask if they enjoy attending the organisation and what they do there.

  • Inquire about the individuals they trust or feel safe with within the organisation.

  • Talk openly about their safety and let them know they can share any concerns with you.

Where possible, be involved in the organisations your children engage with. Child safe organisations prioritise transparency and welcome parent input. Volunteering (where appropriate) can provide valuable insights into an organisation's approach to child safety.


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