Purpose of policy
Two Way Street (TWS) aims to provide an environment that minimises the risk of children and young people being harmed in any way whilst in the care of TWS and to protect staff from the possibility that allegations of child maltreatment could be falsely made against them, as a result of their work. Harm to children and young people thrives in secrecy, therefore to prevent harm or risk of harm TWS will develop and maintain an open and aware culture where staff, children and young people are aware of appropriate and inappropriate behaviour.
TWS believes it also has a responsibility to its staff to protect their right to confidentiality unless allegations against them are substantiated.
This policy will outline the roles and responsibilities of everyone involved in the organisation.
Commitment to the safety of children and young people
TWS understands it has a duty of care to act immediately to protect and preserve the safety and wellbeing of the children and young people in its care. TWS is committed to diversity and values all children and young people equally, regardless of their abilities, sex, gender or social-economic or cultural background.
TWS believes that the best way to ensure children and young people’s protection at TWS is to establish an environment that minimises risks and sets out clear safeguards for staff to follow. It is for this reason and the commitment to being a part of a community that takes responsibility for children and young people’s safety that TWS has developed this policy.
This policy complies with the child safe environment provisions of the following:
Scope of policy
All staff will be fully informed about their responsibilities to implement and adhere to TWS’s child protection policies and procedures. All staff includes permanent employees, contractors, volunteers and students who perform duties during TWS’s hours of operation (paid or unpaid).
All child safe environments policies are made available to staff on a shared access drive. All staff are required to sign an agreement that they accept and act in accordance with this policy. This policy is publicly available on the TWS website footer at https://twowaystreet.com.au/.
TWS will encourage children and young people who access our services to tell us how they think we’re doing and how we can better support them. Rate Our Services Aided Language Displays are available in every clinical room and TWS clinicians are expected to regularly engage with clients and provide opportunities for feedback and discussion. This is incorporated into the therapeutic sessions to empower children and young people who use Augmentative and Alternative Communication on how to direct their care and services and how to discuss and communicate their needs and concerns.
Codes of Conduct
All staff are required to uphold the values of TWS and agree and act in accordance with the following Codes of Conduct:
TWS Child-centered Code of Conduct
Caring for children and young people brings additional responsibilities for employees and volunteers of our organisation. All TWS employees and volunteers are responsible for promoting and protecting the safety and wellbeing of children and young people by:
Employees and volunteers must not:
Any suspected breaches of any of these Codes of Conduct must be immediately raised with the employee’s supervisor for further investigation. If an employee is found to have breached a Code of Conduct, the TWS Director will commence performance management proceedings. Depending on the seriousness of the breach, these actions may include:
TWS meets the requirements of the Child Safety (Prohibited Persons) Act 2016 and ensures that all staff provide a valid Working with Children Check from the Screening Unit of the Department of Human Services. TWS will ensure a new working with children check is obtained every 5 years prior to expiry, or as required by the Department of Human Services.
We will immediately contact the Department of Human Services Screening Unit when we become aware of certain information regarding any person involved with our organisation, including any serious criminal offence, child protection information, or disciplinary or misconduct information.
In accordance with the Staff Recruitment Policy, the following requirements must be met during the recruitment process:
For employment at TWS, staff must provide the following documentation:
All staff will be oriented to TWS’s policies and procedures and code of conduct. Whenever possible new staff will have a period of time to work alongside current staff to familiarise themselves with the clients, families and TWS procedures prior to taking up their new role in a full capacity.
Supervision, training and support for employees and volunteers
TWS requires all staff to participate in training on child protection organised by relevant child protection authorities or support agencies.
Reporting and responding to harm or risk of harm
Mandated notifiers have a legal obligation to notify the Child Abuse Report Line (CARL) as soon as practicable if they suspect on reasonable grounds that a child or young person is or may be at risk of harm. All TWS employees are mandated reporters and are supported and encouraged to report the reasonable belief that a child or young person is or may be at risk of harm and in need of protection.
Following a report
Following a report to CARL, clinical sessions with TWS will remain in place with the child or young person and TWS staff will continue to monitor their circumstances.
Concerns about a member of TWS
In the event of a reasonable belief that a child or young person is, or may be, at risk of harm by a member of the organisation, TWS authorised persons will respond quickly and thoroughly to ensure children and young people are safeguarded.
If the concern is raised by a TWS staff member, the staff member will follow the procedure for reporting concerns and contact CARL or, if a child or young person is at immediate risk, SAPOL.
All actions taken will be relevant to the offence and TWS authorised persons will be guided by authorities. If the offence is serious and warrants dismissal, the TWS staff member will be summarily dismissed and TWS will fully comply with all required actions from authorities. Following a report that does not warrant immediate dismissal, the following action will be taken:
Reporting and responding to complaints or feedback
Client feedback, both positive and constructive, is an essential part of helping us to continuously improve our service quality. Clients and staff can lodge a complaint in person, over the phone, by email or in writing with the TWS General Manager or Director.
Resolving complaints amicably gives TWS the opportunity to improve services and to learn from our mistakes. TWS takes complaints very seriously and will work hard to address and resolve them efficiently and effectively.
Identified risks for current service provision are identified through ongoing clinical discussion and review. Any newly identified risks to children or young people will be raised with the Director and General Manager for review, treatment, and inclusion in this policy.
|Action to mitigate risk
|One-to-one allied health sessions with a child or young person
|SP to include parent, guardian or primary support person at all times in sessions unless there is a compelling reason not to do this.
|One-to-one allied health sessions with a child or young person without a guardian in the same room
|If a support person has a compelling reason not to be in the room, the SP will keep all doors open and ensure visual and/or at minimum auditory monitoring by the parent, guardian or primary support person.
|One-to-one allied health sessions with a child or young person without a guardian present
|If a support person has a compelling reason not to be present during sessions, the SP must advise the Director or General Manager prior to any sessions proceeding. They may choose to implement a written agreement with the parent that ensures appropriate measures are taken and a strategy is in place (for example real-time video monitoring or recording) or for sessions not to proceed until a suitable support person can be available during sessions.
|Video and/or images of a child or young person taken during allied health sessions
|When there is a clinical reason to take an image or video of a child or young person (for example assessing progress or for mentoring purposes with the clinical lead), the SP will do so using their TWS-supplied device only. As soon as the SP has wifi service, the image and/or video will be uploaded to the client’s file on the secure TWS server and the SP will delete the image and/or video from their device.
This policy will be reviewed at least once every five years in accordance with Section 115 of the Children and Young People (Safety) Act 2017 or sooner should a new risk, critical incident or concern require a review of this policy.
A new compliance statement will be lodged with the Department of Human Services each time this policy is reviewed/updated.
Date of last review: June 2022
Next review: June 2027