Dyslexic Strengths Child Safe Policy and Code of Conduct
This policy is written to demonstrate the strong commitment of Dyslexic Strengths to child safety and establishing and maintaining our child-safe and child-friendly environment.
Commitment to child safety
All children who come to Dyslexic Strengths have a right to feel and be safe. We are committed to the safety and wellbeing of all children and young people accessing our services. The welfare of the children in our care will always be our priority. We aim to create a child-safe and child-friendly environment where all children are valued and feel safe.
Legislation and standards
This policy reflects our commitment to provide a safe environment where every person has the right to be treated with respect and is safe and protected from harm as our first priority.
It complies with our obligations under the Children and Young People (Safety) Act 2017
Dyslexic Strengths encourages and respects the views of children and young people who access our services. We listen to and act upon any concerns that children, young people or their families raise with us.
We ensure that children, young people and their families know their rights and how to access the complaints procedures available to them.
We value diversity and do not tolerate any discriminatory practices.
Code of Conduct
All paid and unpaid staff, including volunteers, interns or trainees of Dyslexic Strengths are responsible for the safety and wellbeing of children and young people who engage with Dyslexic Strengths. All paid and unpaid staff are expected to act in accordance with this Code of Conduct in their physical and online interactions with children and young people under the age of 18 years. Ensuring the safety and welfare of the child or young person is paramount at all times.
All paid and unpaid staff will:
• Act, under Dyslexic Strengths’ child safety and wellbeing policies and procedures at all times.
• Behave respectfully, courteously and ethically towards children and their families and other staff.
• Listen and respond to children’s views and concerns, particularly if they communicate (verbally or non-verbally) that they do not feel safe or well.
• Promote the human rights, safety and wellbeing of all children in Dyslexic Strengths.
• Demonstrate appropriate personal and professional boundaries.
• Consider and respect the diverse backgrounds and needs of children.
• Create an environment that promotes and enables children’s participation and is welcoming, culturally safe and inclusive for all children and their families.
• Involve children in making decisions about activities, policies and processes that concern them wherever possible.
• Contribute, where appropriate, to Dyslexic Strengths’ policies, discussions, learning and reviews about child safety and wellbeing.
• Identify and mitigate risks to children’s safety and wellbeing as required by Dyslexic Strengths’ risk assessment and management policy or process.
• Respond to any concerns or complaints of child harm or abuse promptly and in line with Dyslexic Strengths’ policy and procedure for receiving and responding to complaints.
• Report all suspected or disclosed child harm or abuse as required by sections 17, 18, 30 and 31 of the Children and Young People (Safety) Act 2017 (SA).
• Comply with Dyslexic Strengths’ protocols on communicating with children.
• Comply with Dyslexic Strengths’ policies and procedures on record keeping and information sharing.
All paid and unpaid staff will NOT:
• Engage in any unlawful activity with or in relation to a child.
• Engage in any activity that is likely to physically, sexually or emotionally harm a child.
• Unlawfully discriminate against any child or their family members.
• Be alone with a child unnecessarily.
• When they are alone with a child, it will only be in an open and publicly visible space. Room doors will be kept open and windows uncovered.
• Arrange personal contact, including online contact, with children they are working with for a purpose unrelated to Dyslexic Strengths’ activities.
• Disclose personal or sensitive information about a child, including images of a child, unless the child and their parent or legal guardian consent or unless I am required to do so by Dyslexic Strengths’ policy and reporting procedure.
• Use inappropriate language in children’s presence or show or provide children with access to inappropriate images or material.
• Work with children while under the influence of alcohol or prohibited drugs.
• Ignore or disregard any suspected or disclosed child harm or abuse.
If staff think another person has breached this Code of Conduct in Dyslexic Strengths, they will:
• Act to prioritise the best interests of children.
• Take actions promptly to ensure that children are safe.
• Promptly report any concerns to the director, Dyslexic Strengths Child Safety Officer, the Chief Executive Officer or another manager or leader in Dyslexic Strengths.
• Follow Dyslexic Strengths policies and procedures for receiving and responding to complaints and concerns.
• Comply with legislative requirements on reporting if relevant, and with Dyslexic Strengths policy and procedure on internal and external reporting.
This policy applies to all people involved in the organisation, including:
• employees (permanent and casual)
• work experience students
• indirect service providers
• any other individual involved in this organisation
Note: In this policy, the term “employee” covers all persons occupying any position listed above
The Director of Dyslexic Strengths, Michael Shanahan, is directly responsible for implementing and maintaining a child-safe environment. This responsibility includes developing and maintaining:
• all policies
• recruitment and screening practices
• staff induction, training, supervision and support
• policy or procedure for receiving and responding to complaints
• risk assessment and management process
• policies or procedures on external reporting, record keeping and information sharing
• code of conduct.
Dyslexic Strengths will take all reasonable steps to ensure that it engages the most suitable and appropriate people to work with children. We employ a range of screening measures and apply best practice standards to screen and recruit employees and volunteers. Including
· clear position descriptions
· face-to-face interviews
· referee checks
· written applications
· on-the-job observation
· working with children checks
· qualification checks
· probationary periods.
We are aware of our working with children check obligations under the Child Safety (Prohibited Persons) Act 2016. We always ensure that staff and volunteers have a: a child related employment screening certificate issued by the DHS Screening Unit or a working with children check.
Support for employees and volunteers
Dyslexic Strengths we will provide support and supervision, so people feel valued, respected and fairly treated. We will ensure that employees/volunteers who work with children have ongoing supervision, support and training so that their capacity is developed and enhanced to promote the establishment and maintenance of a child-safe environment.
Reporting and responding to suspected child’ harm’ and ‘risk of harm’
Information about making appropriate reports of abuse or neglect is available from https://www.childprotection.sa.gov.au/
Dyslexic Strengths will not tolerate incidents of child abuse.
All employees and volunteers understand their obligation to notify the Child Abuse Report Line on 13 14 78 as soon as practicable if they have a reasonable suspicion that a child has been, or is being, abused or neglected.
We ensure that employees:
· Read and understand the Child safe environments: Guidelines for mandated notifiers and information for organisations
· Complete the free online SMART (Strategies for Managing Abuse Related Trauma) training http://www.childhood.org.au/for-professionals/smart-online-training
· Attend child safe environments training sessions.
We ensure that support is also available for the employee making the report, particularly where an ongoing service is provided to the child, young person, and family.
Supporting children, young people and their families
Child Protection is everyone’s responsibility. Dyslexic Strengths recognises that even where a report is made, we may still have a role in supporting the child or young person. This support may include:
• Referring the child, young person or their family to other appropriate services
• Sharing information about services that can assist children and their families (such as the Kids Helpline and Youth Healthline).
Dealing with reports or concerns relating to the actions of an employee or volunteer of our organisation
In addition to making a report to the Child Abuse Report Line, employees and volunteers must also report to Michael Shanahan, Director Dyslexic Strengths if reasonable suspicion is formed that a child has been, or is being, abused or neglected by another student, employee, or volunteer.
In response to any management report concerning a student, employee or volunteer of this organisation, management may determine to take disciplinary action.
Other protective actions may also be introduced to ensure children and young people’s safety within our organisation.
Dyslexic Strengths opposes all forms of harassment, discrimination and bullying. We take this issue seriously and encourage anyone who believes that they, or another person, has been harassed, discriminated against or bullied to raise this issue with Michael Shanahan, Director Dyslexic Strengths.
Dyslexic Strengths will ensure that everyone to whom this policy applies is aware of and has had an opportunity to read the policy. The policy is publicly available on Dyslexic Strengths website https://dyslexicstrengths.com.au/.
We also ask employees and volunteers to sign a written statement indicating that they have read and will abide by our child-safe policy. We retain a copy of all signed statements.
Child Protection guidelines for employees and volunteers of Dyslexic Strengths
Caring for children and young people brings additional responsibilities for employees and volunteers of this organisation.
All employees and volunteers of this organisation are responsible for promoting the safety and wellbeing of children and young people by:
• Ensuring the safety and welfare of the child or young person is paramount at all times.
• Treating all children and young people with dignity, equality and respect.
• Adhering to this organisation’s child safe policy at all times.
• Listening and responding appropriately to the views and concerns of children and young people within the organisation.
• Taking all reasonable steps to ensure the safety and protection of children and young people within the organisation.
• Ensuring children and young people understand their rights and explaining to the child in age-appropriate language what they can expect when participating in a service, activity or program offered by the organisation.
• Responding quickly, fairly, and transparently to any child, young person, or parent/guardian that makes a complaint.
• Notifying the Child Abuse Report Line on 13 14 78 as soon as practicable if they have a reasonable suspicion that a child or young person has been or is being abused or neglected.
• Ensuring there is another adult, guardian or caregiver present when working with children, that is, employees and volunteers are to avoid being alone with a child.
• Employees/volunteers will not:
• Take part in any unnecessary physical contact with a child or young person.
• Discriminate against any child or young person because of disability, age, gender, cultural background, religion, vulnerability or sexuality.
• Develop any ‘special’ relationships with children or young people outside of the professional relationship.
Approved by Michael Shanahan Date 24/02/2021 Review date 11/02/2023