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Early childhood services - suitable staff and volunteers

Guidance on Child Safe Standard 6: People working with children are suitable and supported to reflect child safety and wellbeing values in practice.


This Standard focuses on making sure people who work with children and young people are suitable and supported to act in a child safe way.

It requires services to:

  • carefully screen and select new staff during recruitment
  • train all staff and volunteers to understand their responsibilities
  • supervise all staff and volunteers to ensure they prioritise children’s safety.
  • 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 6

Standard 6: People working with children and young people are suitable and supported to reflect child safety and wellbeing values in practice.

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

  • Recruitment, including advertising, referee checks and staff and volunteer pre-employment screening, emphasise child safety and wellbeing (6.1)
  • Relevant staff and volunteers have current working with children checks or equivalent background checks (6.2).
  • All staff and volunteers receive an appropriate induction and are aware of their responsibilities to children and young people, including record keeping, information sharing and reporting obligations (6.3).
  • Ongoing supervision and people management is focused on child safety and wellbeing (6.4).

How to comply - examples and ideas

    • Tell job applicants about the service's child safety practices. Give job applicants:
      • your Child Safe Environment Policy
      • your Code of Conduct
      • links to your service’s child safety resources.

    Job advertisements

    • Include clear statements in your job advertisements about:
      • the job’s requirements, duties and responsibilities for child safety and wellbeing
      • an outline of duties and responsibilities about child safety and wellbeing
      • essential or relevant qualifications, experience and attributes about child safety and wellbeing.
    • Include selection criteria relevant to the role, such as:
      • experience working with children, including children with a disability or Aboriginal children
      • engaging with families
      • child safety experience
      • cultural safety in their work.
  • Documentation

    For required documentation:

    • View and record the details
    • Confirm the documents are valid and current.

    Documentation for staff and volunteers:

    • Working with Children clearanceExternal Link or equivalent background check. Fore example, Victorian Institute of Teaching (VIT) registration or police check
    • proof of identity
    • qualifications, history of working with children and references as appropriate for the role.

    Reference checks

    • Seek referees for staff and volunteers as appropriate, including their last employer. If the applicant has worked overseas, seek overseas references.
    • For staff roles, speak to at least two previous work references. Include the applicant's current supervisor.
      • Ask about the person’s character and experience in working directly with children.
      • Check if the previous service took disciplinary action against the applicant or had any concerns about them. For example, for not following the Code of Conduct or Child Safe Environment Policy.
      • Follow up on any concerns raised.
      • Keep records of your conversations and of job interviews.
    • For volunteers, consider the child safety risks relevant to the volunteer’s role. Follow up if you have any concerns.


    • Think carefully about who will be on the interview panel. Make sure panel members have the right skills, experience and information.
    • Include questions about child safety in job interviews.
    • Ask applicants to declare any potential conflicts of interest. For example, family or business relationships or close friendships. Make sure the service has a process to manage it.
    • Give all staff, volunteers and contractors a child safety induction.
    • Include in the induction:
      • Code of Conduct
      • Child Safe Environment Policy
      • how to raise any concerns, incidents or complaints
      • procedures for managing complaints and concerns related to child abuse.
    • Make sure all staff and volunteers are aware of their responsibilities for:
      • children information sharing and reporting obligations
      • recordkeeping obligations.
    • Make sure your policies include how you will manage the risks around contractors. This includes agency or casual staff, gardeners or trades on the premises. Policies should include:
      • sighting a valid Working with Children clearance before the person starts
      • providing a child safety induction.
    • Train all staff and volunteers as appropriate to their roles.
    • Deliver regular child safety briefings for all staff. For example, through staff meetings and newsletters.
    • Provide refresher child safe training for staff and volunteers.
    • Include child safety and wellbeing as a regular agenda item for staff meetings. This is at all levels of the organisation.

    Training content

    • Topics such as:
    • Ways for staff to identify risks, respond and engage:
      • risk factors and signs of harmExternal Link . These include intentional and unintentional harm, physical or emotional harm, bullying or cyberbullying, abuse and neglect
      • how to identify and respond to child safety risksExternal Link , especially for vulnerable students
      • how to put in place child-friendly ways for students to express their views and raise concerns
      • how to engage with families to support children’s safety and wellbeing
      • how to handle or share sensitive information about a child’s safety, health or wellbeing in an appropriate way.
    • Define which managers must ensure staff and volunteers promote child safety and wellbeing in their roles. Do a risk assessment first. For more information, refer to child safety in physical and online environments (Standard 9).
      • Include standards for child safety performance in staff contracts. State how performance will be assessed.
      • Make sure all staff are aware of the up-to-date processes for mandatory reporting.
      • Talk regularly with staff and volunteers about the Child Safe Environment Policy and Code of Conduct. Do this in supervision meetings, at staff meetings, in newsletters and staff updates.
      • Focus on child safety considerations in supervision and people management
      • Include child safety and wellbeing goals in staff professional development plans.
    • Train service leaders to look out for behaviours that compromise child safety. Make sure they know how to correct these behaviours in other staff and volunteers.
    • Train people managers on how to manage a staff member whose behaviour raises child safety concerns. Ensure they know when to escalate concerns about staff behaviour.

    More information:

  • Nominate a child safety champion at your service. Support them to promote the induction and training programs for staff and volunteers including:

    • service values and philosophy
    • procedures for managing complaints
    • privacy and reporting protocols.
    • Recordkeeping, information sharing and reporting obligations:
    • Standard 8 - child safe training and support
  • Early childhood services already have extensive child safety legal requirements. There are obligations for nominated supervisors, people in day-to-day charge, staff and volunteers under both the National Regulations and the Children’s Services regulations.

    Under the National Quality Standard (NQS):External Link

    • all staff and volunteers 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)
    • educators, coordinators and staff members’ performance is regularly evaluated with individual plans to support ongoing learning and development (element 7.2.3).

    Find out how Standard 6 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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