Our policy guides workers (paid and volunteer) on how to behave when interacting and engaging with children in SNAP Programs Programs Limited(hereafter referred to as SNAP). This policy focuses on how we can build and maintain a child safe environment which is inclusive, transparent and promotes children’s participation.
The policy and guidelines will be reviewed every two years for monitoring and improving child safe practices and in response to changes in service delivery. All comments and suggestions from our range of stakeholders (including workers, children and families) will be incorporated into quality improvement activities and amendment of any required policy and procedures to improve child safe practice.
SNAP will ensure that all child safe policies and procedures are publicly available to children, their families and the wider community. This will include posting on SNAP website.
1. Children’s Participation
Our organisation supports the active participation of children in the programs, activities and services we offer. We provide a range of ways to allow children to provide feedback or raise concerns. We listen to their views, respect what they say and involve them when we make decisions, especially about matters that will directly affect them.
SNAP will ensure that all Child Safe policies and procedures consider the needs of vulnerable children.
SNAP maintains a rigorous and consistent recruitment, screening and selection process for support workers and staff.
SNAP achieves this by:
• Ensuring all staff have appropriate qualification, personal qualities, skills and experience to perform their role
• Ensuring staff receive training on legislative obligations
• Implementing strategies to recruit staff culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds
• Ensuring all recruitment practices comply with legislation and industry requirement
• Conducting Interviews will be conducted for all potential employees
• As part of the interview process conducting 2 referee checks
• Verifying each staff member’s Working with Children’s Check details and maintaining records of those checks
• Managing instances where staff receive a Working with Children’s Check bar or interim bar
• Conducting National Criminal Record checks
• Ensuring the Carer/Worker Register is current
• Ensuring employment records are maintained which includes personal details, employment history, supervision and any allegations of complaints or grievance. These files are to be stored securely and treated confidentially.
• Ensuring new staff members attend induction and orientation upon employmentfocusing on child safety and the responsibilities of staff in creating a child safe organisation
• Ensuring all staff, children and young people and their families are aware of their right to access their files upon request
• Ensuring all staff working with children are provided with supervision and support
3. Complaints management and reporting
• SNAP values and appreciates all complaints and feedback from children and young people and their families as these assist us to develop better services. All complaints will be recorded and will be used to improve existing services and in planning new services. All complaints will be treated in a manner which upholds the principles of fairness and confidentiality;
• SNAP supports the rights of all children and young people with an interest to make complaints. People with an interest could include a child or young person , family member, friend, staff member or another service provider;
• SNAP supports the rights of all people with an interest to pursue any complaint in relation to services received, and to do so without any fear of retaliation, disadvantage, or of services being discontinued;
• SNAP will ensure that all children and young people are enabled to nominate a contact person within the organization with whom they can communicate and correspond in relation to complaints and their resolution. SNAP will also support the right of children and young people to lodge complaints with an external agency such as the Office of the Children Guardian or Department of Communities and Justice;
• SNAP will ensure that the Feedback and Complaints policy and procedure is visible and accessible to all children and young people and will also provide them with information including contact details about other external support agencies that may assist with complaint resolution if required;
• SNAP will develop resources or have complaints information available for children and young people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
• SNAP is committed to resolving all complaints efficiently and fairly. Children and young people have a right to request an internal review of decisions. Reasons for such decisions will be provided in writing on request.
• If any person with an interest is not satisfied with the manner in which SNAP has managed a complaint, they should contact a senior member of the organization such as the Operations Manager. They can also contact an external agency who can assist with complaint resolution.
• All complaints received by SNAP will be fully documented and every effort will be made to resolve the matter within four (4) weeks of the commencement of the investigation component of the complaint. The complaint management process will be conducted in an environment of openness, accountability and service improvement. Sufficient resources will be allocated to ensure that all complaints are adequately managed and investigated. If SNAP is unable to resolve a complaint to the satisfaction of the parties involved, the matter will be referred to an agreed external agency for resolution or mediation.
• SNAP will ensure that staff members are trained in complaint management and specifically in the application of this policy and procedure. SNAP will ensure that only suitably qualified/trained staff members will manage the investigation of complaints.
• Children and young people will receive training and support if required to understand their right to make a complaint and to understand the complaint management process.
• SNAP will meet all obligations where it is required to formally report complaints annually to agencies such as State or Federal statutory bodies including the Office of the Children’s Guardian
• The Operations Manager for SNAP is the appointed Child Safety Contact Person to manage all complaints. When the Operations Manager receives a complaint, he/she will be responsible for coordinating the complaint management process through to resolution. When a complaint is received The Operations Manager willrespond to the complainant within five (5) working days to discuss the complaint further The response can be made in person, by a phone-call, email or letter. The response should include advice around the following:
o Who will be investigating the complaint;
o Possible timeframe for resolution; and
o When the next contact with the complainant will be made.
4. Training support and supervision of workers
SNAP promotes respect, fairness and consideration for all workers. As part of this process all workers have a more senior worker assigned to support and supervise their work.
At commencement of employment all new workers receive a copy of all child safe policies and procedures and the House Manger will assist in a buddy shift to discuss the policies and their implementation and to allow the new worker time and opportunity to ask questions and clarify their understanding.
Child safe is a standing agenda item at meetings and workers are encouraged to ask questions and contribute to the continuous improvement of child safe policies, procedures and practices in the workplace.
SNAP holds regular team meetings which provide information and resources for staff, volunteers and students. Our policy on attending those team meeting will be discussed during induction sessions for all new staff and volunteers (where applicable).
All children and young people accessing SNAP services will receive a copy of the Policy, Code of Conduct and Dealing with Complaints process.
Documents related to this policy
Legislation and Cross-Reference
National Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2013 of the Commonwealth
National Disability Insurance Scheme (Worker Checks) Act 2018
Child Safe Standards
Children’s and Young Person (Care and Protection)Act 1998
Children’s and Young Person (Care and Protection)Act 1998 Regulations 2012
Children’s and Young Person (Care and Protection) Act 1998 Regulations 2012
Community Services (Complaints, Review and Monitoring) Act 1993
Disability Inclusion Act 2014
Ombudsman Act 2014
Forms, record keeping or other organisational documents
Date of Policy: October 2022