Arcadia Agile Learning Center's Child Protection policy as of September 2019
1.1 Policy Statement: A Commitment to Child Protection
The purpose of this Policy is to guide Arcadia Agile Learning Center in developing a child-protective culture. Arcadia Agile Learning Center is committed to welcoming children and their parents or carers and providing a ‘child-safe’ environment, culture and programs for children and other vulnerable people who attend the services and other programs. We see such a commitment as flowing naturally from our vision and mission to operate according to ethical principles for living and for recognising the unique value and potential of every person, regardless of race, age, gender, ability or disability.
All children who come to Arcadia Agile Learning Center have a right to feel and be safe. The welfare of children in our care will be our first priority. The authorised leaders accept the responsibility of providing a safe and friendly environment where children are listened to, feel safe, have fun, accept challenges, learn and grow. This duty of care applies at all times, although when children attend Arcadia Agile Learning Center and remain with their parents, then the parents have the primary duty of care.
We recognise the particular need for sensitivity for those from culturally or linguistically diverse backgrounds, including those with Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander heritage. We take into consideration the needs of children with disabilities and seek to include them and make them feel safe and welcome.
This Policy recognises both Federal and State legislation and commits workers to responsibly and reasonably cooperating with Government departments, law enforcement and child protection agencies. The operational principles of our Code of Conduct support and facilitate the protection of children and young people.
The provisions and duties of care expressed in this Child Protection Policy apply to:
This Child Protection Policy and Code of Conduct was revised and updated to reflect the most recent changes to State and Federal law and guidelines towards being a child-safe organisation.
It was approved by the Nicole Gorring and adopted for use by Arcadia Agile Learning Center on 28/09/2019.
1.4 Policy Review
The Child Protection Policy, Procedures and Code of Conduct will be reviewed at least every two years, or to remain compliant with new legislation.
Any proposed changes or updates will be submitted to the Board of Arcadia Agile Learning Center for approval at a properly convened meeting for approval before being adopted and implemented.
1.5 Operating Principles
Duty of Care: Means any legal responsibility that Arcadia Agile Learning Center has to ensure the safety and wellbeing of those who participate in programs or activities of the centre.
Vicarious Liability: Means any legal liability that Arcadia Agile Learning Center may be determined to have for the conduct of those who act on its behalf (e.g. its staff and approved voluntary leaders).
Reasonable Standard of Care: Refers to the level of care that a user may reasonably expect that Arcadia Agile Learning Center will take in providing any program, activity, service, or facility.
Reasonable Foresight: Refers to a responsibility that Arcadia Agile Learning Center has, when planning activities for children and young people, to identify any reasonably foreseen danger/risk and take reasonable steps to prevent or avert such risk.
Child Protection Reporting Obligations: This principle covers mandatory reporting, for those professions and roles that are defined by law, and the moral and legal responsibility that all adults have to report all types of known or possible child abuse, where there is a reasonable belief that a physical or sexual offence has occurred or may be committed against a child
Reasonable belief: A person may form a belief on reasonable grounds, through disclosure by the child or a third party or personal observation of indicators that a child is in need of protection after becoming aware that a child or young person’s health, safety or wellbeing is at risk.
2. Children’s Rights to Safety and Participation
The staff and leadership of Arcadia Agile Learning Center encourage children to feel a part of the centre by seeking their feedback regarding children’s programs, and through listening to them when they speak about matters that directly affect their sense of safety or wellbeing.
Part of our work with children is to actively teach and inform them of what they can do if they feel unsafe, threatened or upset by the behaviour of adults or other children. We will listen to and act on any concerns children or their parents/carers raise with us. We value diversity and do not tolerate discrimination in our words or practices or in those of others.
We are committed to protecting children from harm. ‘Harm’, as used in this policy, includes any and all of the following types of abuse or neglect of children and young people: physical; sexual; emotional/psychological; racial/cultural or spiritual/religious. (See Appendix 2)
2.1 Feedback from Children
Children and young adults will have the opportunity to reflect on their experience of Arcadia ALC programs and to make comments regarding the standard of planning for and delivery of programs for their age-group. We will invite comments on other aspects of wellbeing, including staff conduct. Such feedback will inform Arcadia Agile Learning Center and guide adjustments to practices, programs and training.
3. Employment of Staff and Volunteer Leaders
3.1 Recruitment, screening and selection practices
Arcadia Agile Learning Center will be vigilant in the recruitment, selection and screening of all staff, contractors, facilitators and volunteers to ensure they are safe and suitable to work with children and young people. It is important that every person who works with children under the auspices of this organisation upholds and exemplifies our beliefs and values, especially in their interaction with children and other vulnerable people.
3.2 Support and Training
We provide a system of support and supervision so people feel valued, respected and fairly treated. To this end we have developed a Code of Conduct to guide our staff and volunteers.
4. Investigation of Suspected Child Abuse
In the case of an allegation being made against staff member, volunteer, leader and/or contractor at Arcadia Agile Learning Center, the director will follow the Child Protection Procedure. Arcadia Agile Learning Center will take all steps to ensure that the safety of the child is paramount.
The first step is to withdraw the accused person from active duty, which could entail standing down (with pay, where applicable), re-assignment to other duties that do not have direct contact with children, or to work under increased supervision while the matter is being investigated.
4.1 Case management
In the event of a child disclosing an incident of abuse to someone they trust it is essential that it is dealt with swiftly, sensitively and professionally.
Arcadia Agile Learning Center will appropriately investigate all allegations relating to an incident of abuse in accordance with its obligations and to the extent reasonably practicable. In some circumstances, it may be necessary for Arcadia Agile Learning Center to conduct an investigation in addition to any investigation conducted by authorities (e.g. the police).
Arcadia Agile Learning Center may conduct an independent investigation into the allegation to the extent that it will not interfere with investigations by the Department or the police, and will co-operate with the authorities as required. ‘
All people covered by the Child Protection Policy, Code of Conduct and Procedure must co-operate fully with any investigation by the Department, the police or Arcadia Agile Learning Center.
Arcadia Agile Learning Center will make every effort to keep any such investigation confidential; however, from time to time other employees, leaders, volunteers and contractors may need to be consulted in conjunction with the investigation (e.g. to provide witness statements).
An investigation conducted by Arcadia Agile Learning Center will be conducted in accordance with procedural fairness to protect the integrity of the investigation and the interests of all the participants involved in the investigation. Arcadia Agile Learning Center will also handle the allegations in a confidential manner to the greatest extent possible.
In some circumstances, it may be appropriate for Arcadia Agile Learning Center to engage a person (or persons) from outside Arcadia Agile Learning Center to conduct an independent investigation in relation to allegations.
The outcome will depend on the findings of the investigation, but may include withdrawal from active duty, re-assignment to duties with no contact with children, increased supervision, disciplinary action, dismissal or criminal prosecutions.
5. Risk Management
Arcadia Agile Learning Center will ensure that child safety is a part of its overall approach to risk management.
Risk assessment and management practices are embedded in our procedures for all services, programs or activities authorised by the church. We use these practices to inform our planning and implementing of all aspects of operation at Arcadia Agile Learning Center.
Risk management applies to Work Health and Safety generally and is covered in more detail in This policy applies specifically to the minimising of risks of abuse of any kind to children who are in our care and to ensuring their physical safety in the buildings or activities of Arcadia Agile Learning Center.
Arcadia Agile Learning Center will have a committed to identifying and managing risks within Arcadia Agile Learning Center and its environment.
If the identifies risks of child abuse occurring in Arcadia Agile Learning Center or its environment the committee will make a record of those risks and specify the action(s) the Arcadia Agile Learning Center will take to reduce or remove the risks (i.e. risk controls).
As part of its risk management strategy and practices, the risk and compliance officer will monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of the implementation of its risk controls.
A Child Protection Officer is appointed by the leadership for responding to complaints made by staff, contractors, volunteers, children or other attendees and parents.
The Child Protection Officer (CPO) will be identified and their role explained at appropriate times in the year. Guests, staff and volunteers are expected to use either the Complaints Form or the Incident Form to note concerns arising from observations or experience. (See Appendix 4 and 5) Copies of these forms will be kept in the Arcadia Agile Learning Center Office by the CPO, and on the staff portal.
6 Record keeping
All reports of alleged abuse or harm, or risk thereof, must be recorded in the form of an Incident Report. Places, times, dates, names of people, observable behaviours or evidence of harm are what is recordable. Reports must be to securely stored by Nicole Gorring, including in the staff portal.
7 Privacy and Confidentiality
Arcadia Agile Learning Center will collect, use, disclose and hold personal information in accordance with relevant privacy legislation.
As much as is reasonably possible, an individual’s confidentiality is to be protected. Both those who are making reports and those about whom accusations are being made are entitled to confidentiality. Where there is suspected abuse or misconduct, staff members, leaders, volunteers and contractors must not disclose or make use of the information in a manner that breaches confidentiality, other than to report and act consistent with the Child Protection Policy, Code of Conduct and Procedure, and relevant statutory requirements.
It is recognized that no organisation can guarantee the safety of children and other vulnerable people who are on site at a venue. The term ‘child-safe’ means that child safety is paramount to this organisation, that it has compliant policies and procedural documents and that risk identification and mitigation practices are embedded in the culture.
This person is mature, experienced and readily accessible during those times children are on site, but does not directly work with children. The Child Safety Officer is appointed by the organisation leadership is accountable to the director. The CPO has access to the Complaints and Incident Forms and is familiar with the legal requirements applying to the reporting of abuse against children.