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Early childhood services - family engagement

Guidance on Child Safe Standard 4: Families and communities are informed and involved in promoting child safety and wellbeing.


Standard 4 focuses on involving families in decisions about children’s safety and wellbeing.

It recognises the vital role they play in monitoring children’s safety and wellbeing and helping children raise concerns.

Your service must engage openly with families about:

  • decisions affecting their child
  • the service’s child safe approach
  • its operations and governance.

Ways to involve families include:

  • involving them in policy development and review, and taking their feedback seriously
  • creating an open and transparent culture
  • reflecting the diversity of the community
  • promoting a greater understanding of child safety
  • encouraging them to raise concerns or ideas for improvement.
  • Services approved under the National Quality Framework (NQF):

    • long day care
    • family day care
    • kindergartens (preschool)
    • Outside School Hours Care (OSHC)
    • school holiday programs that operate for 28 days or more per year.

    Services approved under the Children’s Services Act (CS Act):

    • limited hours
    • occasional care
    • school holiday programs that operate for less than 28 days per year
    • early childhood intervention services
    • former Budget Based Funded services
    • mobile services.

Actions services must take to comply with Standard 4

Standard 4: Families and communities are informed and involved in promoting child safety and wellbeing.

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

  • Families participate in decisions affecting their child (4.1).
  • The service engages and openly communicates with families and the community about its child safe approach and relevant information is accessible (4.2).
  • Families and communities have a say in the development and review of the service’s policies and practices (4.3).
  • Families, carers and the community are informed about the service’s operations and governance (4.4).

How to comply - examples and ideas

    • Create a welcoming environment so all families feel respected, included and safe to come onto service grounds.
    • Include information in all enrolment packs about:
      • child safety
      • the service's complaints processes
      • how to raise concerns.
    • Nominate a contact person for new families. Provide their details for any questions.
    • Ask parents and carers about their children and discuss their needs. This can be in formal settings or at pick-up and drop-off.
    • Give families child safety information via websites, newsletters, information sessions, or other opportunities.
    • Discuss how to approach child safety topics when providing information to new families.
    • Make sure families know to contact the service if they have any child safety or wellbeing concerns.
    • Host workshops on child safety and wellbeing topics. Give families take-home information to help them talk to their children about safety in an age-appropriate way.
    • Organise interpreters and translations to engage families from non-English speaking backgrounds.
    • Ask families which communication methods they prefer such as email, social media or workshops. Communicate through the channels parents prefer.
    • Include child safety questions in parent surveys. Measure awareness and confidence in the service’s child safety approach. Use these responses to inform ongoing improvements.
    • Include child safety on the agenda at all staff meetings. Discuss and review child safe practices.
    • Make newsletters and communications inclusive. Normalise diverse family profiles and reflect the characteristics of your service community.
    • Select meeting venues that are physically accessible, welcoming and culturally safe.
    • Encourage volunteer positions from families from diverse backgrounds:
      • people with a disability
      • Aboriginal people
      • those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
    • Translate child safety information into multiple languages to reflect your service community.
    • Make sure child safety information is easy to read. Consider font size, style, colours, formatting and visual presentation.
    • Use images and accessibility aids to help people with low literacy or disabilities understand child safety information.
    • Include links to your child safety policies in communications such as social media posts and newsletters.
    • Check that the children, staff, and service community members know who to contact if they have a concern about child safety. Keep this information up to date and prominently displayed at the service and online.
    • Make child safety a standing item at approved provider and service meetings.
    • Report on the outcomes of relevant reviews to staff and volunteers, community, families and children. This shows transparency and accountability.
    • Encourage families to advocate for their children and champion their safety at the service and in other environments. This includes extra-curricular activities such as sports, music and other classes. (More relevant for OSHC services).
    • If a concern or complaint is raised, involve families at all stages of the process as appropriate.
  • Child Safe Standard 7 – processes for complaints and concerns are child-focused.

  • All services are guided by the respect and support the role of parents and families. In addition:

    • Collaborative engagement with families is at the heart of the National Quality Standard (NQS) with requirements in Quality Area 6 and 7.
    • Partnerships with families is one of the practice principles in the Victorian Early Years Learning and Development FrameworkExternal Link (VEYLDF). It recognises that children learn in the context of their families, and that families are the primary influence on children’s learning and development.

    All services are required to have policies and procedures that:

    • provide information on the governance and management of the service, including confidentiality of records and the service’s operations and governance
    • are provided to parents at enrolment
    • are available for inspection at all times at the service premises when it is educating and caring for children, or otherwise on request.

    Find out how Standard 4 aligns with existing regulatory requirements, the NQS and the VEYLDF at Mapping the Child Safe Standards (DOCX, 96KB)External Link .


Reviewed 28 June 2022

Child Safe Standards

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