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Child and youth risk management strategies and resources

Organisations and people who run businesses regulated by the blue card system must have a child and youth risk management strategy.

This strategy needs to address 8 mandatory requirements and will help to create a safe and supportive environment for children.

Developing your child and youth risk management strategy

We have created a series of videos to help you to develop your child and youth risk management strategy. We also have other resources you can download.

These videos will help you understand what your child and youth risk management strategy should include and make sure the policies and procedures identify and minimise the risk of harm to children.

Overview – Risk Management

Watch this video to find out more about risk management and learn why it is a key part of the blue card system.

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The purpose of this video series is to assist organisations to understand their obligations under the blue card system, in particular, how to develop a child and youth risk management strategy.

This introductory video will provide an overview of the role and purpose of the blue card system, and the obligations which apply to organisations regulated by the system.

First, we will discuss the role and purpose of the blue card system. The blue card system contributes to the creation of safe service environments for children in a number of ways, namely: child and youth risk management strategies are required to be developed and implemented by all organisations that provide regulated services to children.

Blue card checks are undertaken to determine a person's eligibility to work with children based on known police or disciplinary information, and compliance with risk management and blue card requirements are audited and police information of all cardholders is monitored on a daily basis.

As an organisation, you will need to determine whether you are required to comply with the requirements under the blue card system, including developing a risk management strategy.

So, how do you know if your organisation is regulated by the blue card system?

The first important thing to know is that the blue card system does not apply to every environment where a child may be present.

The blue card system is structured so that organisations providing services which are essential to children's development and wellbeing, such as child care, education, sport, and cultural activities are captured.

Further information to assist you in determining whether your organisation is regulated can be accessed on the Blue Card Services website.

So, if you are a regulated organisation, what are you required to do?

If you have determined that your organisation is a "regulated organisation" then by law your organisation must: Develop and implement a child and youth risk management strategy, and ensure compliance with blue card requirements.

It is important to understand that penalties apply in relation to failure to comply with requirements under the blue card system.

So, what exactly is a child and youth risk management strategy?

As we have mentioned, all organisations falling within the scope of the blue card system are required to develop and implement child and youth risk management strategies which address eight minimum requirements.

The remainder of this video series will help guide you through each of the eight requirements in more detail.

So, why is risk management important?

Well, parents want to feel comfortable having their child participating in different activities, in different locations, with different people.

And children want to feel safe when they are in these settings.

People who seek to harm children often target organisational environments which have dysfunctional cultures and an absence of effective risk management. We know that the best way to keep children safe is to create and promote child-safe and child-friendly environments by implementing strategies to identify and minimise the risk of harm.

So, what if you determine that your organisation is required to develop and implement a child and youth risk management strategy?

Where should you start?

We recommend that you watch the remainder of the risk management video series so that you can familiarise yourself with the eight requirements.

Additionally, you should access the toolkit which is available on the "Risk Management" page of the Blue Card Services website.

The toolkit provides more detailed information and guidance on the eight minimum requirements.

When you get to the stage of drafting your risk management strategy, it is a good idea to ensure that all people involved with your organisation, especially children and young people, are consulted in the development and review of your strategy.

This will assist to build an understanding of the importance of the strategy and build a culture which recognises and values the importance of upholding safeguards for children.

Safe service environments don't just happen. They require ongoing planning, commitment, and maintenance.

Thank you for taking the time to learn about child and youth risk management strategies.

We encourage you to continue watching the remaining videos on offer from the Blue Card Services Learning Portal.

Mandatory requirements

There are 8 mandatory requirements for a risk management strategy. These are:

Statement of commitment

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All organisations falling within the scope of the blue card system are required to develop and implement child and youth risk management strategies which address eight minimum requirements.

This video will guide you through the first of the minimum requirements which is the requirement to have a statement of commitment to the safety and wellbeing of children and the protection of children from harm.

The purpose of your statement of commitment is to provide an overarching statement which will influence your organisation's culture.

So, why do you need to have a statement of commitment?

The culture of your organisation is a critical factor in successfully mitigating the risks of harm to children in your service environment.

An organisation which has a strong, child-safe culture is more likely to attract people who are suitable to work with children.

So, how should you go about drafting your statement of commitment?

When drafting a statement of commitment you should consider your organisation's aims and values.

You may already have something similar that is used by your organisation such as a mission statement.

If so, you can build on that. You must ensure, however, that your statement of commitment for your child and youth risk management strategy is child-focussed.

It is recommended that your organisation use strong, clear and direct language when drafting your statement.

You may wish to start your statement with phrases such as:

  • "Our organisation is committed to", "Our organisation supports",
  • "Our organisation is dedicated to",
  • "Our organisation ensures".

A strong statement of commitment will first communicate exactly what your organisation is committed to.

  • An example if this might be something like:
  • "Our organisation supports the rights of children and young people
  • and is committed to providing a safe and supportive service environment
  • directed at ensuring their safety and wellbeing."

Optimally, your initial statement will then be followed up with a brief outline of how your organisation intends to ensure the commitment is effectively implemented.

For example, "In order to support this commitment, we had dedicated to our child and youth risk management strategy which has policies and procedures in place to effectively address the safety

and wellbeing of children in our care".

It is also a good idea to display your statement of commitment in a prominent place where staff, parents, children and visitors can be reminded of your organisation's specific commitment.

Careful and thoughtful construction of your statement of commitment will ensure that an appropriate tone is set for your entire child and youth risk management strategy.

To further assist you in developing and implementing effective child and youth risk management strategies, a toolkit, which is available on the "Risk Management" page of the Blue Card Services website has been developed to provide information and guidance on the eight minimum requirements.

Remember, safe service environments don't just happen. They require ongoing planning, commitment and maintenance.

Thank you for taking the time to learn about this requirement of child and youth risk management strategies.

We hope you found this video useful and we encourage you to watch the remaining videos on offer from the Blue Card Services Learning Portal.

Code of conduct

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All organisations falling within the scope of the blue card system are required to develop and implement child and youth risk management strategies which address eight minimum requirements.

This video will guide you through the second of the minimum requirements which is the requirement to have a code of conduct for interacting with children.

So, what is a code of conduct?

Well, a code of conduct outlines expected standards of behaviour for all people interacting with children and young people within your organisation.

Most organisations already have a standard code of conduct for employees.

The code of conduct for your child and youth risk management strategy must specifically address interactions with children and young people.

A strong code of conduct will provide clear guidelines for everyone involved in your organisation about what is expected of them and the consequences if they fail to meet the expectations.

Your organisation's code of conduct should apply to all people involved in your organisation such as employees, volunteers, consultants and contractors, board or committee members, children and young people, parents, visitors, spectators and students on placement.

It may be appropriate for your organisation to have separate codes of conduct for each group of people.

Everybody involved with your organisation, especially children and young people, should be involved in the development of a code of conduct.

So, what sort of things should your organisation include in your code of conduct?

Every organisation is different, so you should have a look at what your organisation does and the potential risk to children and tailor your code of conduct to ensure that those areas are covered.

There are a number of topics which may be relevant to your organisation which may include but are not limited to: language, supervision of children, physical contact, relationships, or one-on-one contact with a child, behaviour management, use of change rooms, toileting procedures, bullying and harassment, managing illnesses or injuries, managing visitors, photography, technology and social media, smoking, alcohol and use of medications and drugs, and transportation of children and young people.

Let's look at a few more closely. We'll start with language.

People should be clear about the expected standards of language and the types of language which are not permitted to be used and which are encouraged in your organisation.

For example, using encouraging, positive words, pleasant tone of voice and honest and open communication would be considered appropriate and should be promoted.

Insults, criticism, name-calling, bullying, swearing, yelling, racist and or sexually suggestive comments or jokes would be considered inappropriate.

Another topic which may be relevant to your organisation is supervision of children. Your code of conduct should create clear guidelines to ensure children are adequately supervised at all times.

This may include considering outlining appropriate ratios of staff to children; setting clear expectations as to when children may be left with your organisation or when parental supervision is required; and specifying the arrangements for drop-offs and pick-ups.

Physical contact is another matter your organisation should address in your code of conduct.

You should clearly define when physical contact with a child may be acceptable within your service environment.

For example, appropriate physical contact may include: assisting with an injury or illness or protecting a child from harm, for example, to avoid an accident; assisting with toileting of young children; and demonstrating a skill or providing an instruction as part of an activity.

Inappropriate physical contact would be violent or aggressive behaviour such as hitting, kicking, slapping or pushing, or kissing or touching of a sexual nature.

Where practical, an explanation should be provided to a child about what physical contact will occur and why it will occur.

Additionally, depending on the service being provided, it may be necessary to seek permission from the child and/or parents in relation to the physical contact and this should be clearly documented.

You may also wish to address relationships or one-on-one contact with a child in your code of conduct. You should have clear policies relating to when and if it is appropriate for a person to be alone with the child and the strategies that can be put in place to minimise risks.

For example, where possible ensuring that the child and person are visible to others. You should also have guidelines in relation to what is considered an appropriate relationship with a child and what is considered inappropriate.

For example, developing an appropriate relationship involves setting clear boundaries, prohibiting staff from engaging in inappropriate contact with a child outside of the service environment and ensuring that children are not shown favouritism.

Remember, these topics we have discussed are not exhaustive and you should review the particular services and activities your organisation provides and draft your policies accordingly.

When drafting your strategies, you should use direct, assertive and easily understood language as this will help minimise confusion about what is expected.

For example use "will" and "will not" or "must" or "must not" rather than "should" or "should not".

Steer clear of words which can be subjective or subject to interpretation.

For example, if you use "appropriate" provide specific examples as what is appropriate for one person may not be considered appropriate for another.

To further assist you in developing and implementing effective child and youth risk management strategies, a toolkit, which is available on the "Risk Management" page of the Blue Card Services website has been developed to provide information and guidance on the eight minimum requirements.

Remember, safe service environments don't just happen.

They require ongoing planning, commitment and maintenance.

Thank you for taking the time to learn about this requirement of child and youth risk management strategies.

We hope you found this video useful and we encourage you to watch the remaining videos on offer from the Blue Card Services Learning Portal.

Recruitment, selection, training and management

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All organisations falling within the scope of the blue card system are required to develop and implement child and youth risk management strategies which address eight minimum requirements.

This video will guide you through the third of the minimum requirements which is the requirement to have written procedures for recruiting, selecting, training and managing staff and volunteers.

Each of these practices should be considered separately in order to minimise risks at each stage of the employment process. It may be useful to group the processes into "pre-appointment" and "post-appointment".

You may be wondering, why do we need to have these types of procedures?

Well, working with children checks are most effective when supplemented by child-focussed recruitment policies within the organisation itself.

As discussed in the introductory video, the blue card system is made up of three elements.

It is important to recognise that the initial blue card screening assesses a person's eligibility to work with children.

It is up to you, the organisations, to have proper policies and procedures in place to effectively determine a person's suitability for the role.

Effective recruitment, selection, training and management strategies will: a) deter and identify applicants that are not suitable for your organisation, b) assist you to find the people that are qualified and who will contribute to facilitating a safe and supportive environment for children, c) ensure that staff receive adequate and appropriate training to deliver child-related services in a safe and productive way, and d) ensure that any issues with staff performance or conduct are identified early and actioned appropriately.

You may be wondering, where do we start? What sort of things should be included? Every organisation is different. Your procedures for recruitment, selection, training and management should be tailored to your organisation.

We will first discuss the strategies that should be utilised before you employ or engage the person, the "pre-appointment" processes. The goal of these processes is to identify and recruit someone who has the skills and attributes to fulfil the role requirements.

There are several strategies which you can implement to assist in achieving this goal.

Let's start with "position descriptions". For every role type in your organisation, you should have a clear position description which can be used the internal and advertising purposes which clearly outlines the duties, skills, experience, qualifications, and responsibilities required of the role.

You should also clearly state the blue card screening requirements for the role you are advertising.

Another tool you can adopt is the use of "selection criteria". You should frame selection criteria to assess commitment, understandings, attributes, attitudes and values required of the position, particularly as they relate to children.

A good way to do this is to list the duties of the tasks required of the job in one column and then in the next column list the skills and attributes which are required to achieve these tasks.

Interviews will be an essential tool of your pre-appointment strategy. An effective interview process will assist you in determining whether a person shares your organisation's values and is committed to the development and wellbeing of children.

You should structure interviews for prospective staff by clearly defining how they will be conducted by formulating the types of questions to be answered.

Some examples might be something like, "This organisation is committed to ensuring that the behaviour of all paid employees and volunteers towards children and young people is appropriate.

Please provide examples of what you would deem to be appropriate and inappropriate behaviour management techniques". "Can you describe how you would encourage a child or young person to participate in group activities?"

Scenario-based questions tend to provide great insight into a person's work style and experience.

For example, you could ask something like, "If a young person you were working with suddenly got angry, swore loudly and walked off, what would you do?" "What would you do if you were about to leave for the day and you saw a child alone in the car park?" "You said earlier that you wouldn't tolerate inappropriate conduct towards children. What would you do if you overheard another staff member swearing at a child?"

Reference checks can also be a vital part of any selection process.

You should complete the reference checks with the most recent employer to verify, a) the identity of the prospective employee, b) the accuracy of the details of previous employment, and c) the suitability of the individual to work with children and young people.

If the reference is written, contact the referee to confirm authenticity. Useful questions which you may ask might be: "Have you directly supervised the person and observed their work?" "Would you employ the person again?" "Do you have any concerns about the person working directly with children?"

Once you have employed or engaged a person to work with your organisation you should continue to monitor their performance by implementing appropriate post-appointment training and management strategies, especially when the person is new and unfamiliar to the organisation.

Again, there are several strategies you can implement to assist. Let's look at "induction programs" first.

Your organisation should provide a detailed induction process for paid employees and volunteers so that all are aware of the policies, procedures and practices of your organisation.

A key component of your induction should be training regarding your child and youth risk management strategy.

A probation period can allow you to assess the performance of a new employee and their suitability before permanently confirming their employment.

During the probation period, you should meet the new employee to set goals, identify training needs, specifically in relation to risk management practices, and identify and provide any additional support to the new employee to ensure success in the new role.

Your organisation should have ongoing training and professional development strategies in place to support staff and volunteers.

Mechanisms to support this may be: a) undertaking an assessment of the specific risks and subsequent training needs which are relevant to your service environment, b) maintaining a calendar of what training is on offer in a place which can be easily accessed by all staff and volunteers, c) clearly identifying mandatory training to all staff and specifying how frequently it should occur, and d) maintaining a register of who has completed what training.

Your organisation should also consider what management procedures will be used.

For example, performance appraisals; complaints management; performance management, including processes for addressing issues relating to performance which may impact on the safety or wellbeing of children; disciplinary procedures; and exit interviews or questionnaires.

To further assist you in developing and implementing effective child and youth risk management strategies, a toolkit, which is available on the "Risk Management" page of the Blue Card Services website has been developed to provide information and guidance on the eight minimum requirements.

Remember, safe service environments don't just happen. They require ongoing planning, commitment and maintenance.

Thank you for taking the time to learn about this requirement of child and youth risk management strategies.

We hope you found this video useful and we encourage you to watch the remaining videos on offer from the Blue Card Services Learning Portal.

Handling disclosures or suspicions of harm

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All organisations falling within the scope of the blue card system are required to develop and implement child and youth risk management strategies which address eight minimum requirements.

This video will guide you through the fourth of the minimum requirements which is the requirement to have policies and procedures for handling disclosures or suspicions of harm, including reporting guidelines.

So, what is a disclosure of harm? What is a suspicion of harm? Well, a disclosure of harm occurs when someone, including a child, tells you that harm has happened, is happening, or is likely to happen to a child.

A suspicion of harm is when someone has a reasonable suspicion that the child has suffered, is suffering, or is it unacceptable risk of suffering significant harm.

This includes circumstances which relate to an unborn child which may be in need of protection after he or she is born.

A child who has been or may be experiencing abuse may show behavioural, emotional or physical signs of stress and abuse.

There may also be other circumstances where there is concern for a child's welfare but it does not reach the threshold to be considered a reasonable suspicion of harm.

We will take you through how to address all these types of circumstances in the latter part of this video.

Why do you need to have these policies and procedures?

Children and young people can only be protected from harm if it is reported and dealt with quickly and effectively. Therefore, your organisation must have policies and procedures in place to ensure staff and volunteers respond as quickly as possible to a disclosure or suspicion of harm.

A lack of formal policies and procedures can impede the reporting of such matters. So, how should you go about drafting the content for this requirement?

When developing a policy in relation to handling disclosures or suspicions of harm, you should include information about: i) defining harm, ii) identifying harm, iii) managing and recording a disclosure or suspicion of harm, iv) reporting a disclosure or suspicion of harm, and v) reviewing policies and procedures following an incident.

First, we will look at defining and then identifying harm. Harm is defined as 'any detrimental effect of a significant nature on the child's physical, psychological or emotional wellbeing'. Harm may arise from the following types of abusive behaviours: i) physical abuse, ii) emotional or psychological abuse, iii) neglect, and iv) sexual abuse or exploitation.

It is also important to remember that harm can be caused by a single act or omission or a series of acts or omissions. Your organisation should also include information about: i) the signs to help identify if harm is occurring, ii) what constitutes a disclosure of harm, and iii) what constitutes a suspicion of harm.

The toolkit which is available on the "Risk Management" page of the Blue Card Services website provides useful materials, including a list of indicators of child abuse which will assist you further.

Let's now look at managing and recording a disclosure or suspicion of harm. Your organisation should document how staff and volunteers should receive a disclosure of harm from a child or young person or manage a suspicion of harm.

When receiving a disclosure of harm, you may advise your staff that they should: i) remain calm and listen attentively, actively and non-judgmentally, ii) ensure there is a private place to talk, iii) encourage the child to talk in their own words and ensure that only open-ended questions are asked to act protectively, iv) ensure that the child is advised that the disclosure cannot remain a secret and that it is necessary to tell someone in order to get help, v) document the disclosure clearly and accurately, vi) not attempt to mediate an outcome, and vii) follow the appropriate process in relation to reporting a disclosure of harm.

It is helpful to provide a template to assist staff in recording a disclosure or suspicion of harm.

When managing a suspicion of harm or other concern for a child's welfare, you may advise your staff and volunteers that they should: i) remain alert to any warning signs or indicators, ii) pay close attention to changes in the child's behaviour, ideas, feelings and the words they use, iii) make written notes of observations, iv) assure a child that they can come to talk whenever they need to and listen to them and believe them when they do, v) follow any relevant process for reporting a suspicion of harm to Child Safety or the Police, or consider what support services could be offered to the family if the concern does not meet the relevant threshold to make a report.

The toolkit which is available on the Blue Card Services website provides further detailed information in relation to how to manage a disclosure or suspicion of harm.

Your organisation should also document clear policies in relation to reporting a disclosure or suspicion of harm. Your risk management strategy should outline reporting requirements for all staff and volunteers.

Everyone has a responsibility regarding child protection and your policy should be clear about the circumstances in which a report should be made to the police, for example, where a child is at imminent risk of harm or a child has been the victim of a criminal offence.

You should also ensure that you outline any applicable legislative obligations to report matters to police which apply to individuals working in your organisation. You should also outline when a report should be made to Child Safety in relation to a reasonable suspicion that a child may be in need of protection.

You should ensure that you specifically outline any mandatory reporting obligations which apply to individuals working within your organisation.

People with mandatory reporting obligations include doctors, registered nurses, approved teachers employed at a school and police officers with child protection responsibilities. These individuals must report to Child Safety a reasonable suspicion that a child has suffered, is suffering, or is at unacceptable risk of suffering significant harm caused by physical or sexual abuse and does not have a parent able and willing to protect the child from harm.

Another aspect which you should cover in your policies and procedures should be when a non-mandatory reporter should report a reasonable suspicion that a child has suffered, is suffering, or is at unacceptable risk a suffering significant harm and does not have a parent able and willing to protect the child from the harm.

Remember, a reasonable suspicion may be based on either a disclosure of harm or observing other signs of abuse.

You should also ensure that you outline timeframes and relevant contact details for reporting a disclosure or suspicion of harm, and ensure that there is a clear process for reporting within your organisation, particularly where a disclosure is made concerning a person within your organisation.

You must also be sure to outline how to deal with concerns for a child that do not amount to a reasonable suspicion of harm by considering what support services could be offered to the family.

For example, a Family and Child Connect service can provide information and advice about connecting families with support services and the circumstances in which a referral can and should be made to one of these services.

You should also ensure appropriate confidentiality is maintained in relation to the issues and any relevant documents.

Also ensure that you consider any appropriate support or counselling which can be offered to the child or young person, and identify what supports are available for the person to whom the disclosure was made.

Lastly, let's look at reviewing current policies and procedures. You should undertake a review of the operation of your policies and procedures following a disclosure or suspicion of harm being actioned to consider the application of the policies and whether there are any necessary changes, and identify any additional training requirements.

To further assist you in developing and implementing effective child and youth risk management strategies, a toolkit, which is available on the "Risk Management" page of the Blue Card Services website has been developed to provide information and guidance on the eight minimum requirements.

Remember, safe service environments don't just happen. They require ongoing planning, commitment and maintenance.

Thank you for taking the time to learn about this requirement of child and youth risk management strategies.

We hope you found this video useful and we encourage you to watch the remaining videos on offer from the Blue Card Services Learning Portal.

Managing breaches of your risk management strategy

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All organisations falling within the scope of the blue card system are required to develop and implement child and youth risk management strategies which address eight minimum requirements.

This video will guide you through the fifth of the minimum requirements, which is the requirement to have a plan for managing breaches of your risk management strategy.

Your risk management strategy must include a plan for managing any action or inaction by a person in your organisation that fails to comply with any of the policies which make up your risk management strategy.

So, why do you need to have a plan for managing breaches of your risk management strategy?

Having a plan allows your organisation to manage any potential breaches in a fair and supportive manner.

Without a plan, people may not be clear on their obligations and rights and therefore may be hesitant to report breaches; appropriate consequences for breaches may not be enforced due to confusion about what course of action to take; similar breaches may be dealt with inconsistently which may result in repeat offences and also a lack of confidence in your risk management strategy; opportunities for training and improvement will be more difficult to identify.

So, what sort of things should you put in your plan?

Well, your plan should cover a number of aspects in detail. You may want to start with addressing what constitutes a breach of your risk management strategy.

You must also clearly outline who must comply with the plan.

It is important to remember, as discussed in the Code of conduct video, that your risk management strategy will not likely just apply to your employees and volunteers. Your risk management strategy should apply to everybody who is involved with your organisation, including children, parents, contractors and all other people relevant to your organisation. You will also need to identify who is responsible for the management of each type of breach.

You should make sure that you nominate a person or people who have the time, authority, patience and the ability to follow the processes.

Another aspect which you will need to cover in your plan are the processes for managing the breach, including the process for reporting breaches. It is imperative that all people should be clear on who they should contact and how they should progress a concern regarding a breach.

It is then equally important that the people from your organisation who are responsible for dealing with the breach are aware of the correct process to follow.

Suitable consequences and outcomes for breaches should also be outlined. Depending on the nature of the breach, outcomes might include: emphasising the relevant component of your child and youth risk management strategy, for example, the code of conduct; providing closer supervision; providing further education and training; mediating between those involved in the incident, where appropriate; disciplinary procedures, if necessary; reviewing current policies and procedures; and developing new policies and procedures. You must also ensure that you document a process for recording breaches, including outcomes.

Consequences will vary depending on the seriousness of the breach.

It helps to pre-classify breaches and the corresponding consequences. For example, it might be reported to you that a volunteer at your organisation has been overheard swearing at a child on one occasion.

You may have pre-classified swearing as a moderate breach of your risk management strategy. The corresponding consequences and outcomes for this type of breach may be: to acknowledge that the behaviour is not consistent with the code of conduct contained in your risk management strategy; to remind the volunteer parent and all other people in your organisation of the child and youth risk management strategy, specifically, the code of conduct and provide clarification where necessary; to provide a formal warning to the volunteer; and to provide further training for staff and volunteers, particularly focusing on positive ways of working with children.

Another example might be a staff member witnesses a colleague using excessive physical force as a behaviour management technique.

This would be considered an extreme breach of your risk management strategy. The corresponding consequences and outcomes for this type of breach should be: documenting the details of the incident as soon as possible; following your internal procedures for reporting breaches and disclosures and suspicions of harm; providing support to all parties concerned, including the child who was involved, the person who witnessed the incident and the staff member; considering appropriate action in accordance with your policy for the management of staff, including considering appropriate disciplinary action for the staff member; and reminding all employees and volunteers of the code of conduct and the responsibilities of their role as per their position description.

It is a good idea to have a template incident report form which details aspects of the incident, such as the names of the parties involved; a description of the incident; the date; time; and action taken to ensure that consistent reporting is maintained. Your organisation must be mindful that appropriate confidentiality is maintained at all times to protect the privacy of children and young people.

To further assist you in developing and implementing effective child and youth risk management strategies, a toolkit, which is available on the "Risk Management" page of the Blue Card Services' website has been developed to provide information and guidance on the eight minimum requirements.

Remember, safe service environments don't just happen. They require ongoing planning, commitment and maintenance. Thank you for taking the time to learn about this requirement of child and youth risk management strategies.

We hope you found this video useful and we encourage you to watch the remaining videos on offer from the Blue Card Services learning portal.

High risk activities and special events

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All organisations falling within the scope at the blue card system are required to develop and implement child and youth risk management strategies which address eight minimum requirements.

This video will guide you through the seventh of the minimum requirements which is the requirement to have risk management plans for high risk activities and special events.

You may be wondering, what is a high risk activity or a special event?

The answer to this question will be different for every organisation.

A high risk activity or special event due to their nature will require extra planning to ensure that appropriate control measures are implemented to manage the identified risks.

What your organisation deems to be a high risk activity or special event will be dependent on the nature of the activities or services which your organisation provides.

Criteria or examples should be provided in your plan to guide an assessment of when an activity should be considered high risk and therefore would warrant a plan.

For example, you may wish to consider: i) whether the activity or event involves the participation of volunteers or people who are external to your organisation, ii) is to take place at an external venue or destination with a large amount of people and/or other hazards, for example, involving water hazards such as ponds, lakes or pools, or iii) is to take place overnight or is for a lengthy period of time.

It is important to note that these are just some examples of the types of things which you might consider to assist in determining if an activity or event is high risk.

So, why does your organisation need to have plans for high risk activities and special events?

Well, forward planning to identify risks and implement strategies can assist to reduce the possibility of children being harmed.

It is important to recognise that people who seek to deliberately harm children must have or create the opportunity to do so.

These opportunities can be reduced by developing specific policies to manage high risk activities and special events.

So, how should you go about drafting these plans? You should first identify examples of what your organisation deems to be high risk activities or special events. You should then draft a plan for each activity or event.

Each plan should establish the context of the activity or event including the nature of the activity and your objectives in conducting it, the environment or location of the activity and the people involved in the activity, including children and young people.

It should identify the specific risks and it should identify the control measures that are already in place and whether additional controls are required.

Each plan should at a minimum address the following issues, if relevant: supervision of children and ratios of adults to children; transportation; toileting and change room procedures; managing medications and allergies; managing illness and injury; emergency procedures; any risks presented by the physical environment; supervision of volunteers; accommodation requirements; and relevant consent forms, including emergency contact details.

So, how do you practically do this?

How can you turn this into a plan?

Well, all you have to do to develop your plan is consider six steps for each activity or event which are:

Step 1: Describe the activity
Step 2: Identify the risks
Step 3: Analyse the risks
Step 4: Evaluate the risks
Step 5: Manage the risks, and reassess, and
Step 6: Review.

We will now work through the example of taking children on an excursion to the park. Step 1 is to describe the activity. What is the activity and what is the purpose? Where is the activity going to take place?

Think about who is involved in the activity. Is it parents? Staff? Children?

Think of all the elements of the activity from beginning to end. For our example of taking children on an excursion the activity could be described as "On a Monday four children aged 2, 3, 5 and 7 will be taken to the park by one family day care educator. They will be at the park for one hour. The mode of transportation is driving.

The park is bordered by a main road and has public toilets and a pond. The park is usually busy.

There is an adjoining dog park. Step 2 is to identify the risks. You need to consider how might a child be harmed?

The risks which you are identifying in this plan are different to workplace health and safety processes which generally consider environment and equipment risks.

These are important and should definitely be considered however, they are generally part of a separate assessment. The risks that you want to focus on are the risks of physical, emotional or psychological harm which may occur to a child. As with all the elements of your risk management strategy, it is a good idea to consider involving and brainstorming with parents, staff and, if appropriate, children.

You should consider where the risks may come from. For example, the environment or location, an employee or volunteer from your organisation, other children from your organisation, someone outside your organisation and/or themselves.

If we focus on the example of the excursion to the park, a sample of the risks could be: "Children could be hurt in a car accident", "Children could suffer dehydration or sunburn" "Children could injure themselves on play equipment", "Children could be harmed by another park user", "A child might get lost", "Children could drown in the pond", "A dog from the adjoining park could bite a child".

It is important to note that this list of risks is not exhaustive, it is merely a selection of examples that would be relevant to this activity.

Step 3 is to analyse the risks. In this step you should consider how likely is it that the risk will occur?

And what would happen if the risk did occur?

Likelihood can be determined on a scale of rare to almost certain. Consequence can be measured on a scale of insignificant to critical.

We will analyse the first risk identified which is that children could be hurt in a car accident. The likelihood of this happening would be rare. However, if this did happen, then the consequences would be moderate to critical.

The fourth step involves evaluating the level of risks which will be dependent on the answers you gave in step 3.

To assist you can utilise a risk analysis matrix.

We will continue to use the risk that children are hurt in a car accident as an example.

It was determined that the likelihood of this happening would be rare and the consequence was moderate to critical.

Therefore, using the risk matrix, the risk level is low to moderate. You should continue to use this process for all identified risks.

Step 5 is managing the risk. Risk management involves looking at the options available to you and making a plan so that you can reduce the risks and be prepared.

You must consider what control measures your organisation can adopt to reduce the risks.

For our example, the risk could be managed by ensuring the vehicle is roadworthy, ensuring the staff member has a valid driver's licence, and ensuring that the children are in approved child restraints.

If you assess that a risk is still highly likely to occur and the outcome would end in harm to a child, then you will need to rethink continuing with the activity.

The sixth and final step is review. Ongoing review is essential to ensure that the risk management plan your organisation develops for your high risk activity or special event is effective.

Reviewing controls and responsibilities can be useful for future planning. You should identify in your plan who will review the risk management plan after the event or activity. To further assist you in developing and implementing effective child and youth risk management strategies, a toolkit, which is available on the "Risk Management" page of the Blue Card Services website has been developed to provide information and guidance on the eight minimum requirements.

Remember, safe service environments don't just happen. They require ongoing planning, commitment and maintenance. Thank you for taking the time to learn about this requirement of child and youth risk management strategies.

We hope you found this video useful and we encourage you to watch the remaining videos on offer from the Blue Card Service Learning Portal.

Communication and support

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All organisations falling within the scope of the blue card system are required to develop and implement child and youth risk management strategies which address eight minimum requirements.

This video will guide you through the eighth and final of the minimum requirements which is the requirement to have strategies for communication and support.

As we have emphasised throughout this video series it is essential for your organisation to have carefully drafted policies and procedures which are relevant to assisting with reducing the risk of harm to children.

These strategies will be most effective when they have been successfully communicated to all people involved in your organisation.

It is critical for your communication and support strategies to include written information for parents, employees and volunteers that includes details of your organisation's risk management strategy or where the strategy can be accessed, and training materials for employees and volunteers which help identify risks of harm and how to handle disclosures or suspicions of harm, and outline your organisation's risk management strategy.

So, why do you need to have a strategy for communication and support?

Well, an effective strategy for communication and support will ensure that all people in your organisation are aware of their responsibilities and understand what is acceptable behavior for interacting with children, enable people to feel comfortable addressing issues of concern, highlight the importance of your organisation's commitment to protecting the safety and wellbeing of children in your service environment, and reduce the likelihood of breaches of your risk management strategy.

So, how should you go about drafting this strategy? A good place to start is to consider what methods of communication and support are suitable for your organisation and involve people in your organisation in developing them.

If parents, carers, employees, volunteers, children and young people are actively involved in developing your organisation's policies and procedures they will be more likely to accept, support and adhere to them.

This will in turn build a culture which recognises and values the importance of upholding safeguards for children. Some practical ways to achieve this could be: running a brainstorming session to identify the risks which are particular to your service environment; and thinking about ways which those risks can be reduced; presenting your strategy to all people involved in your organisation, particularly parents, and actively seeking their feedback; and perhaps featuring a policy of the month where people in your organisation are encouraged to become familiar with the policy and provide feedback they consider appropriate.

In addition, you should consider strategies to ensure effective communication about your risk management strategy within your organisation, for example, you might want to: i) provide compulsory induction covering the risk management policies and procedures for all paid employees and volunteers, ii) deliver regular information sessions for people involved with the organisation in relation to your risk management strategy, these could potentially be incorporated into other sessions you hold for staff and parents, iii) implement specific strategies to ensure the participation of children and young people to make sure they understand how to keep themselves safe and what to do if they feel unsafe, iv) provide information about the various policies and procedures in your newsletter or other publications and seek input and feedback v) utilise bulletin boards and posters to visually promote your organisation's commitment to safe and supportive environments for children and young people, vi) provide a copy of your risk management strategy or information about where it can be accessed as part of any resources you provide to people, vii) schedule regular and mandatory training for staff in relation to various policies and procedures which make up your strategy, with a particular focus on managing disclosures or suspicions of harm, viii) consider if there are any aspects of your strategy which can be incorporated within professional development and performance plans, and ix) provide relevant individuals with information to understand their obligations as a blue card holder.

Remember, if everyone understands the expected standards of behaviour, it will be easier to identify and remedy issues quickly.

Now, let's talk about support.

Staff may require support to deal with issues such as behaviour management, stress, conflict, bullying, child protection concerns, breaches of the risk management strategy and dealing with disclosures or suspicions of harm.

You should have mechanisms to support your staff and actively communicate the types of support services you offer. For example, you may wish to appoint internal support service officers or workplace health and safety officers who can provide support to staff if necessary and perhaps partner with external employee assistance programs.

Other people involved in your organisation such as volunteers, parents and children and young people may also require support to assist with managing concerns. Your organisation should ensure that it is prepared to provide or facilitate required support services to all people involved in your organisation.

To further assist you in developing and implementing effective child and youth risk management strategies, a toolkit, which is available on the "Risk Management" page of the Blue Card Services website, has been developed to provide information and guidance on the eight minimum requirements.

Remember, safe service environments don't just happen.

They require ongoing planning, commitment and maintenance.

Thank you for taking the time to learn about this requirement of child and youth risk management strategies. We hope you found this video useful and we encourage you to watch the remaining videos on offer from the Blue Card Services Learning Portal.

Conclusion – Risk Management

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Thank you for taking the time to learn about the eight minimum requirements of child and youth risk management strategies. By now you should have:

1. An understanding of your risk management and screening obligations under the blue card system.
2. A comprehensive grasp of what your organisation is required to do to ensure compliance with the risk management requirements of the blue card system.
3. An understanding of the specifics of each of the minimum requirements of a risk management strategy, and
4. The ability to draft and/or review your organisation's risk management strategy. Remember that your child and youth risk management strategy must be reviewed at least on an annual basis.

This will assist you to ensure that it continues to be effective and is up-to-date. Be sure to document every review that you undertake and make sure that any changes that you make are communicated effectively to all people involved with your organisation. It is important to access the toolkit which has been developed to provide extra information and guidance on the eight minimum requirements.

The toolkit is available to download on the "Risk Management" page of the Blue Card Services website.

Remember, safe service environments don't just happen. They require ongoing planning, commitment and maintenance. Good luck with drafting and/or reviewing your child and youth risk management strategy.

If you have any questions or require assistance please feel free to contact Blue Card Services.

Our contact details are easily accessible on the 'Contact Us' page of the Blue Card Services website.

We hope you have found this suite of videos useful and thank you once again for visiting the Blue Card Services Learning Portal.