On the 30th November, Steve Thompson (Quality Systems Manager) and I attended a briefing by the Centre of Excellence in Child and Family Welfare, at DHHS in Wangaratta, on the forthcoming Child Safety Standards. These standards to which UMFC will be held accountable come into effect from the 1/1/16. You should also know that from this date it will be a criminal offence for any Victorian adult to fail to report any reasonable belief that a child has been sexually abused by another adult.
The standards however cover the full range of child abuse and UMFC will need to demonstrate documented compliance in protocols and practices. Our evidence also has to explicitly identify our understanding of the special vulnerability of aboriginal and CALD children, as well as children with a disability.
The evidence required relates to the 7 standards, which cover things like, our child safety statement, code of conduct, staff recruitment, training and supervision, risk assessment/ reduction/removal, identification and reporting and strategies for empowering children.
You will be aware that we have already amended our code of conduct and released a child safety statement in light of this legislation. We have other measures in place which meet these standards too. However the legislation is based on the assumption of continuous improvement, meaning we can’t rest on our laurels. So, expect to see and hear more about this from next year and beyond as we strive to make our agency as child safe as possible.