Promoting Child Safety and Wellbeing - DECD


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Induction for tertiary students working with children and young people in education and care sites.

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Promoting Child Safety and Wellbeing - DECD

  1. 1. Promoting Safetyand WellbeingInduction for tertiary students working withchildren and young people in education andcare sites 1
  2. 2. INTRODUCTIONThis program introduces you to • the responsibilities staff in schools and children’s services have towards the safety and wellbeing of children and young people, and • your role in sharing those responsibilities as a pre-service observing or practicing student. 2
  3. 3. Some of the topics covered in thisintroduction may be discussed further in tutorials - indicated by this image. 3
  4. 4. Education & care staff promote children & young people’s safety and wellbeing in 3 ways - they• provide a safe, respectful and engaging environment where children and young people develop positive life skills and values,• recognise when children and young people’s wellbeing or safety is being compromised and respond to these concerns, and• understand the different needs of children and young people who have been harmed through family violence, abuse and neglect and adapt their teaching and support methods accordingly. 4
  5. 5. This induction program looks briefly at each of these three main contributions to safety and wellbeing beginning with… “Staff provide a safe, respectful and engaging environment where children and young people develop positive life skills and values.” 5
  6. 6. What do you think a “safe, respectful andengaging environment” means in education and care settings?Adults have criminal history checks before working with children andyoung people?YesAdults follow formal guidelines in the way they relate to children andyoung people?YesAdults teach children and young people about their rights andresponsibilities to personal safety and to respectful relationships?YesAdults intervene in, and work to prevent harassment, bullying andviolence between children and young people?Yes 6
  7. 7. Which of these responsibilities willyou be expected to share as soon as you undertake a placement in an education or care setting? 7
  8. 8. Adults have criminal history checks before working with children and young people. Adults follow formal guidelines inthe way they relate to children and young people. 8
  9. 9. In the process of applying for your course you should have been made aware of the need for a criminal history check.If you are unaware of this requirement or the process that your institution has in place, you should speak with your lecturer/course supervisor ASAP. 9
  10. 10. The guidelines you are expected to follow as anobserving or practicing student are the samethat apply to all staff working in education andcare settings. These guidelines apply to people working in Catholic, Independent or Government sectors. You should have a copy of these guidelines for your tutorial 10
  11. 11. Why were they developed?To help staff feel comfortable,clear and confident aboutthe professionalboundaries of theirphysical and emotionalinteractions with childrenand young people. 11
  12. 12. Do the guidelines prohibit children beingtouched?No, definitely not. They describe respectfulways of providing caring, encouraging &instructive touch. 12
  13. 13. The guidelines provideadvice on a number ofcircumstances. Forexample, what would youdo in the followingsituations? 13
  14. 14. A student flirts with you and tells you she/he thinks you’re hotYou are asked to assist a preschool child with their toiletingA student asks to see you on your own after school to discusssomething that bothers themYou are the only adult close enough to stop a student who isjust about to seriously harm another studentA child has just hurt themselves on play equipment andcomes to you for comfortA student invites you to their 18th birthday partyYou observe a teacher telling a student to give them a shoulder massage 14
  15. 15. The guidelines outline safe, professional & respectful ways of responding to each of the previous situations – including yourresponsibilities to act if you observe other adults behaving inappropriately with children and young people. 15
  16. 16. Most tertiary students are confident about their abilityto model responsible and respectful conduct towardsthe children and young people with whom they willinteract.Consequently, they are also confident about how staffand parents will view their suitability to care forchildren and young people.However, what if staff, parents orstudents accessed your currentsocial networking site? 16
  17. 17. Would they see or read anything that might take away their confidence inyour suitability to care for children and young people? 17 17
  18. 18. Should you accept students as friends on a private social networking site? 18
  19. 19. No The Protective Practices guidelines specify that staff “do not have children or young people in their educationcommunity as ‘friends’ on their personal/private sites.” P.11 Respect and protect the boundaries that allow you and children and young people to relate with each other positively, productively and safely. 19
  20. 20. What is the core message you need right now about appropriate conduct with children and young people when on placement? Seek advice from staff and discuss concerns with staffFor example,What’s the toileting policy?What are the nappy changing rules?Is what I heard a staff member say to a student appropriate?Should I supervise the PE changing room?Can I transport a student in my car?What should I do if a student contacts me at home?What’s the site’s policy about marking work via email? 20
  21. 21. Another important way staff contribute to childrenand young people’s development of “…positive lifeskills and values” is through the formal curriculum.In SA the Keeping Safe: Child Protection Curriculumprovides explicit teaching programs from the early tosenior years. You will not be involved in teaching these programs while on placement but you may observe their use. 21
  22. 22. Each program covers the themes:• the right to be safe • recognising and reporting abuse• relationships • protective strategies 22
  23. 23. The second way staff contribute to safety and wellbeing is - “they recognise when children and young people’s wellbeing or safety is being compromised and respond to their concerns at the earliest possible point.” 23
  24. 24. Staff are helped to gain this understandingthrough formal training which they undertake before they areemployed and which is updated every three years. 24
  25. 25. You will do this training close to the completion of your qualification. In the meantime - as an observing or practicing student - what are you expected to do inresponding to concerns about children and young people’s safety and wellbeing? 25 25
  26. 26. You are notexpected to act alone! 26
  27. 27. Any concerns you have about a child oryoung person’s safety or wellbeing shouldbe discussed with your supervising staffmember at the site.It is their job to advise and support you indeciding what actions are appropriate. 27
  28. 28. What might make you concerned about a child or young person?This will depend partly on what you expect to see in them. 28
  29. 29. Generally children and young peopleshould be• Happy• Healthy• Socialising normally with adults and peers• Doing what is expected of them developmentally•Attending regularly 29
  30. 30. When staff observe that children or young people are notshowing these basic signs of wellbeing, it is their job to try tounderstand causes and suggest solutions.This could happen through any combination of the followingactions talking with • the child or young person • their parents or caregivers • other staff • other education or care specialists • other agencies or organisations and might result in any combination of the following 30
  31. 31. • changes to how the child or young person is taught or cared for at the education or care site• changes to practices in the home• additional services for the child or young person• additional services for the parents/caregivers 31
  32. 32. Often children and young people’s vulnerability is directly related to problems faced by their parents• drug and alcohol abuse• mental health problems• family violence• physical or intellectual disability • extreme poverty • social isolation • experiencing trauma (war/persecution/abuse) 32
  33. 33. Children and young people’s vulnerability to harm may also be increased through:• Age (the younger the more vulnerable)• Disability (particularly intellectual disability)• Emotional deprivation (already abused or neglected children)• Isolation and disadvantage (children in care, refugees, new arrivals, non English speaking, living in remote Aboriginal communities, international exchange students) 33
  34. 34. Look at the legal definition of abuse and neglect provided onthe handout that accompanies this induction.Think about the age group you will be working with oncequalified. What kind of abuse and/or neglect might childrenand young people face if they are living with parents orcaregivers who• have an intellectual disability• abuse alcohol or other substances• experience mental health problems• engage in or are victims of family violence• are socially isolated• are single teenage parentsWhat do you imagine you might observe? 34
  35. 35. What influenced your thinking in this exercise?What you’ve heard or seen in the media?What others have told you of their own experiences?What you have experienced yourself?What you remember observing in others during yourchildhood or youth?How reliable are these sources in helping you understand theimpact of these contexts on all children and young people? Access the links on the following slide to check out your understanding of the areas that interest you 35
  36. 36. • Re parental mental illness see:• Re domestic and family violence see:• Re young parents see: parental drug and alcohol misuse see:• Re parents with intellectual disabilities see:• Re social isolation see:• Re problem sexual behaviour in children and young people see:• Re children as carers see:• 36
  37. 37. Sometimes, in addition to the actions already outlined,staff need to make reports to Families SA, the statutory child protection agency. This is a legal obligation when child abuse or neglect is suspected on reasonable grounds and is often referred to as ‘making a mandatory report.’ 131478 (Child Abuse Report Line) 37
  38. 38. How does the SA Department forFamilies and Communities explainwhat ‘suspicion on reasonablegrounds’ actually means?Read this explanation on your handout 38
  39. 39. When staff are faced with situations where theybelieve that a report of child abuse or neglect isneeded, they• act in consultation with their site leaders and other professional support staff• follow a particular process which includes making an official record of the notification. What will you be expected to do? 39
  40. 40. Remember, you do not have to act aloneAs with any concerns you might have about a child oryoung person’s safety or wellbeing you should discussthem with your supervising staff member at the site.If your concern is one where a mandatory report isappropriate, you will be supported in doing this at allstages of the process.You will not be a 40
  41. 41. Read the paragraph about protecting notifiers’ identities on the handout. What do you think this is protecting against? Do you understand the exceptions? 41
  42. 42. In education and care sites the making of a mandatory report is something that is discussed confidentially with other professionals and recorded securely with the site leader.What do you think this practice is promoting? 42 42
  43. 43. This practice promotes• putting the best support in place for a child or young person• all relevant information being given to the Child abuse Report Line so they have the fullest picture, not just a fragment• protecting all members of the site community because risks can be anticipated and protected against. 43
  44. 44. Can anyone stop you from making a mandatory report? NoIf you disagree with the advice you receive frompeople at the site you can still act on your belief. However, this is a matter you should raise with your course supervisor without disclosing the child’s name. 44
  45. 45. Recognising the signs that children oryoung people need help is a skill you will strengthen through your ongoing study,practical experience and your pre-serviceand in-service training in the Responding to Abuse and Neglect – Education and Care program. 45
  46. 46. However, what if a child or young persontalks to you directly about abuse or neglect while you are on placement? 46
  47. 47. The handout outlines the most supportive ways for you to respond to children and young people in these situations. Read this information now. In summary 47
  48. 48. Do not act alone, investigate or disbelieve.Make your questions ‘open’.Listen, show care & advise supervising staffimmediately. 48
  49. 49. Often people struggle to think of how to conclude aconversation when a young person has disclosed orhinted at abuse or neglect.What would you say?Draft a response now but rememberthe “don’ts” on your handout. 49
  50. 50. Did you think of anything like this…? If the child/young person has directly disclosed abuse consider saying “Thank you for talking with me. I’m really pleased you’ve told me about what’s happened. I’m going to get someone to help us decide what to do next.” 50
  51. 51. What if a young person begs you not to talk to anyone else?What could you say to reassure them? 51
  52. 52. “You trusted me to tell me about your situation –I want you to trust me now to find the best help I can for you.I’d be letting you down if I kept this a secret.” 52
  53. 53. Could children and young peoplesuggest abuse and neglect by meansother than speaking to you directly? 53
  54. 54. YesChildren may indicate what ishappening in their world through theirdrawings, the way they play with toys,the way they play with others…Young people may write fiction, poemsor journal entries that suggest seriousconcerns…What do you think of this drawing?What would youdo if you were observingor working with this child? 54
  55. 55. The picture comes from the Australian ChildhoodFoundation as part of their counselling program withchildren and young people who have been abused orneglected. The girl who produced the drawing was 9years old at the time. In addition to drawing her tearsshe has depicted her feeling of not being able to speakor use her hands or feet to get away from her sexuallyabusive 55
  56. 56. The third and final way thateducation and care staff contributeto safety and wellbeing is whenthey -understand the different needs of children andyoung people who have been harmed throughfamily violence, abuse and neglect and adapttheir teaching and support methods accordingly. 56
  57. 57. Your understanding of braindevelopment and the impactof trauma on children and youngpeople’s capacity to learn andrelate will be covered to somedegree through your currentstudies.Your growing practicalexperience should also help youappreciate the following 57
  58. 58. • Traumatised children are dealing with the impact of their experiences in all parts of their lives.• Learning environments provide children with crucial opportunities to manage their experiences so they can learn.• Understanding the impact of trauma on children and young people is an important step in helping them.• Relationships children and young people experience in their learning environments are significant in helping transform trauma. 58
  59. 59. Education and care environmentsrepresent a significant protectivefactor in the lives of all children andyoung people.For traumatised children and youngpeople, attending care and learningenvironments can represent one oftheir only opportunities to learn thepositive life skills that will help themtransform their trauma. 59
  60. 60. If you’re interested in looking at current thinking about the best ways to support children and young people who have been traumatised through family violence, abuse or neglect see:Australian Childhood Perrywww.childtraumaacademy.comCalmer Classrooms: A Guide to Working with Traumatized Children child, every chance: Child Development and Trauma Guide chance/library/publications/best_interests 60
  61. 61. Promoting the wellbeing and safety of children and young people is a team effort that relies on many professionals working together – adult services, children’s services and community services – both government and non government.Education and care staff play a very significantrole in this team approach given theiropportunity for sustained relationships withchildren, young people and their families fromthe early years right through to youngadulthood. 61
  62. 62. Thinking and talking about abuse, neglect and family violence can raise difficult emotions and memories for some people. This can leave them feeling vulnerable and may make them question whether they will cope if these topics are a part of their future work. Being a victim of abuse, neglect or family violence doesn’t stop a person from becoming an outstanding professional in their work with children and young people.However, just as children and young people need help in managing the adversities they face, so too do adults. 62
  63. 63. It is wise for individuals to seek support now for past experiences of harm so that their confidence andsatisfaction in their work with children and young people isn’t compromised. Sources of support are listed on the handout that accompanies this program. 63