Standard 10 focuses on continuous improvement in child-safe policies, procedures and practices.
Ongoing effort and cultural change is needed. Services need to shift to considering the risk of child abuse when conducting all risk assessments and planning. For example, consider whether toilets on an excursion are public and plan how to manage the risk to children.
Services must focus on preventing child abuse and harm though:
- analysing incidents, near misses and complaints
- learning from mistakes and improving their practice
- regularly reviewing policies, procedures and practices
- being open and transparent with all at the service, including families
- putting child safety and wellbeing at the centre of the service.
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 10
Standard 10: Implementation of the Child Safe Standards is regularly reviewed and improved.
Early childhood services must comply with all the following elements of this standard:
- The service regularly reviews, evaluates and improves child safe practices (10.1).
- Complaints, concerns and safety incidents are analysed to identify causes and systemic failures to inform continuous improvement (10.2).
- The service reports on the findings of relevant reviews to staff and volunteers, community and families and children and young people (10.3).
How to comply - examples and ideas
Start by reflecting on how your service already evaluates its child safe practices, and puts steps in place to continuously improve.
When to review
Reviews may be prompted by:
- a concern expressed by a child, family member, staff member, volunteer or community member
- a complaint or confirmed incident of harm to a child or children
- new issues or activities, changes to services premises or information technology, new transportation or excursions
- a legislative or regulatory change
- a discovery that staff or volunteers are not aware of child safety policies, or not implementing child safety policies as intended
- after a pre-determined period has passed, you could put the review in your Quality Improvement Plan (QIP) or annual planning cycle.
Develop a register of existing child safe standard policies. Note the date the policy was approved and schedule a review date every year.
What to review
Thoroughly review all policies and procedures, especially those that relate to child safety:
- Child Safe Environment Policy and procedures (Child Safety and Wellbeing Policy)
- Code of Conduct (this should link to the staffing policy and procedures)
- Complaints policy
- Procedure for responding to complaints and concerns relating to child abuse
- Recordkeeping and information management protocols
- Policies and practices on accessibility, cultural safety, diversity and inclusion
- Recruitment policies and practices for staff and volunteers
- Induction programs
- Training for staff and volunteers
- Communication aimed at students, their families and the community about child safety
- How the service is embedding child safety and rights in its educational program and philosophy
What to consider
- What’s changed since the service last reviewed child safety?
- Can the service adapt its environment to better support child safety?
- Do the current Child Safe Environment Policy and procedures address all the standards?
- What is the service doing well in terms of child safety practice?
- What is the root cause of a complaint or incident?
- What can be learned from incidents, concerns and complaints?
- How can the service address weaknesses, failures and gaps?
- Are the Child Safe Environment Policy and procedures understood and implemented by staff and volunteers as intended?
- Are staff, volunteers and families involved in the service’s approach to child safety?
- Who is responsible for actions to improve child safety?
- Who is accountable for child safety incidents?
- Does the service need to seek advice from independent specialists?
- Review and update your service’s Child Safe Environment Policy and procedures
- Add the review to your Quality Improvement (QIP) or annual planning cycle.
- Select a member of staff or management as a child safety champion. Keep records of documentation, such as staff meetings and minutes, on how to improve and implement child safe practices.
- Develop an audit log of complaints and concerns, showing appropriate responses and mitigations. Keep the log secure with version control.
- Review complaints received and incidents reported for gaps, weaknesses, or failures in policies.
- Make review findings and recommendations easy to access and understand.
- Include findings from child safety reviews in child safety training for staff and volunteers.
- Communicate review outcomes to staff, volunteers and families.
- Inform staff, volunteers and families of any relevant child safety policy changes.
- Use surveys, focus groups and discussions to review the accessibility and level of awareness of child-safe policies and procedures by families, staff and volunteers.
Related standards and regulations
Standard 3 - child and young person empowerment.
Standard 4 - families and communities have a say in the service's policies and practices.
All early childhood services are already required to meet a number of obligations that help them to comply with the child safe standards.
All services must:
- have a Child Safe Environment Policy and procedures
- have procedures for dealing with complaints
- take reasonable steps to ensure policies and procedures are followed.
All policies and procedures should be reviewed annually or more frequently as needed. Services must notify families before making significant changes.
National Law and Regulations (National Quality Framework)
Services regulated under the National Law must have effective self-assessment and quality improvement processes and a Quality Improvement Plan (QIP). We suggest that services add the assessment and review of the child safe standards into this process
There are no legal requirements under the CS Act for children’s services to undertake continuous quality improvement. However, services should regularly undertake planning and quality improvement activities.
Find out how Standard 10 aligns with existing regulatory requirements, the NQS and the VEYLDF at Mapping the Child Safe Standards (DOCX, .
Reviewed 28 June 2022