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Early childhood services - child safety knowledge, skills and awareness

Guidance on Child Safe Standard 8: Staff and volunteers are equipped with the knowledge, skills and awareness to keep children safe through ongoing education and training.


Standard 8 focuses on systems for staff and volunteers to receive induction, training, information and support so they can:

  • implement the Child Safe Environment Policy
  • identify signs of child abuse and harm
  • understand the preventative measures that reduce the risk of abuse and harm
  • know how to report their concerns both within the service and outside
  • respond appropriately if a child makes a disclosure
  • sensitively support children who make a disclosure
  • find guidance and support, as well as supporting colleagues who have received disclosures
  • record all required information about child safety in line with the service's policy and procedures
  • behave professionally in line with the Code of Conduct
  • take active steps to build a culturally safe environment.

This training should be tailored to the service’s needs and the person’s role. It should use a trauma-informed approach.

Actions services must take to comply with Standard 8

Standard 8: Staff and volunteers are equipped with the knowledge, skills and awareness to keep children and young people safe through ongoing education and training .

Early childhood services must comply with all the following elements of this Standard:

  • Staff and volunteers are trained and supported to effectively implement the service’s child safety and wellbeing policy (8.1).
  • Staff and volunteers receive training and information to recognise indicators of child harm including harm caused by other children and young people (8.2).
  • Staff and volunteers receive training and information to respond effectively to issues of child safety and wellbeing and support colleagues who disclose harm (8.3).
  • Staff and volunteers receive training and information on how to build culturally safe environments for children and young people (8.4).

How to comply - examples and ideas

Start by reviewing your existing policies and procedures. Compare them with this standard’s requirements.

    • Consider nominating a child safety champion at the service. Support them to help with induction and training programs for staff and volunteers.
    • Provide an induction for new staff, volunteers and service leadership. Include:
      • the service’s Child Safe Environment Policy
      • the service’s Code of Conduct
      • the service’s policy and procedures for responding to child safety concerns
      • reporting obligations
      • signs of harmExternal Link and risk factors caused by peers or adults (including grooming and family violence)
      • the different ways children express concerns or disclose harm
      • signs of harm caused by other children
      • building culturally safe environments
      • privacy, information sharing and recordkeeping obligations
      • how to help children to express their views and raise concerns.

    More information: PROTECT: Report child abuse in early childhood.External Link

  • Further training

    • Offer further training appropriate to staff and volunteers on topics such as:
      • child safety (including family violence)
      • mandatory reporting
      • responding to inappropriate sexualised behaviour
      • human rights and the rights of children
      • diversity and inclusion
      • harassment and bullying
      • cultural safety
      • privacy and information sharing.
    • Offer a range of optional and compulsory education and training activities, including:
      • Staffroom briefings and ‘toolbox talks’
      • Professional Learning Communities
      • Peer discussions, scenarios and worked examples
      • Presentations, seminars or webinars
      • Training days
      • E-learning modules.

    Training design

    • Consider staff needs when designing training, such as:
      • Cultural safety staff and volunteers who are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander
      • Cultural sensitivity for staff and volunteers from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds
      • Inclusivity of gender diversity and sexuality
      • Accessibility for people with disabilites including mobility, visual or hearing impairment.
    • Include child safety training in service planning. You can include it in your Quality Improvement Plan (QIP) or annual planning document.
    • Provide time-release for staff to undertake child safety and related training.
    • Direct staff to the PROTECTExternal Link website for guidance on child protection in early childhood. It contains information on:
      • their legal obligations to protect children
      • how to recognise signs and risk factors of child harm
      • how to respond to concerns about a child’s wellbeing
      • how to report child abuse
      • processes to follow if a concern is raised
      • privacy, child information sharing and family violence reforms
      • online learning about child protection (including Mandatory reporting training).
    • Keep a record of all staff and volunteers who complete child safety training to ensure all are appropriately trained and training is refreshed as required.
  • Standard 1 – culturally safe environments for Aboriginal children.

    Standard 5 – uphold equity and respect diverse needs.

  • Services regulated under the NQF and the CS Act must already have policies and procedures for how they will provide a child-safe environment. These must be followed. Nominated supervisors and staff must be aware of child protection law and their obligations if they work with children.

    The National Quality StandardExternal Link (NQS) also imposes obligations:

    • management, educators and staff must be aware of their roles and responsibilities to identify and respond to every child at risk of abuse or neglect (Element 2.2.3)
    • leadership must build a professional learning community (Quality Area 7.2)
    • individual plans must be in place to support learning and development of staff, educators, and coordinators (Element 7.2.3).

    Find out how Standard 8 aligns with existing regulatory requirements, the NQS and the VEYLDF at Mapping the Child Safe Standards (DOCX, 96KB)External Link .


Reviewed 08 July 2022

Child Safe Standards

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