All references to ‘schools’ in this guidance include school boarding premises.
This standard commences on 1 July 2022.
This standard highlights the importance of an open and transparent child safe culture for families and communities.
Schools must provide families and communities with accessible information about their child safe policies and practices and involve them in their approach to child safety and wellbeing.
Benefits of keeping families and communities informed
Involving families and communities in decisions relating to their children’s safety and wellbeing:
- recognises the important role they play in monitoring children’s safety and wellbeing and helping children to disclose concerns
- creates an open and transparent culture
- promotes a greater understanding of child safety
- encourages them to raise concerns or ideas for improvement.
Providing accessible and inclusive child safe information encourages families to engage in child safety and wellbeing discussions.
Actions schools must take
To comply with this standard, at minimum, schools must:
- make sure families participate in child safety and wellbeing decisions which affect their child
- engage and openly communicate with families and the school community about its child safe approach
- make child safety information accessible
- involve families and the school community in developing and reviewing child safety and wellbeing policies and practices
- inform families and carers about the school’s governance and approach to child safety and wellbeing, including roles and responsibilities of school staff.
- Ministerial Order 1359 – Implementing the Child Safe Standards – managing the risk of child abuse in schools and school boarding premises (PDF, 363KB)
- Child Safe Standard 4 – Families and communities are informed and involved in promoting child safety and wellbeing.
Implementing the standard
Think about actions your school might take
There are many actions schools may use to address this standard. To get started, review the example actions on this page.
Talk to families and students when developing these policies if it is safe, reasonable and appropriate to do so.
Schools can use these templates to develop the policies:
Take all the necessary actions
Use this checklist to make sure your school is doing everything required to comply with this standard:
- Government schools: Child Safety Action List (DOCX, 110KB)
- Non-government schools: Child Safety Action List (DOCX, 384KB)
Review child safety policies
Schools must review their child safety and wellbeing policies:
- after any significant child safety incident
- at least once every 2 years.
Examples of actions to support family engagement
Create a welcoming environment
- Nominate a contact person for new enrolments and provide their details in induction materials or school transition packs.
- Provide new enrolments with family welcome packs that include information about child safety, the school's complaints processes and how to raise concerns.
- Conduct school open days or host community events, such as a school fete or fair, to welcome families and the broader community.
- Create a welcoming environment at school reception so community members and families feel respected, included and safe to come onto school grounds.
Engage families and communities in building a child safe organisation
- Ask parents and carers about their children. This can be in formal settings like parent/teacher interviews, or during chance meetings at pick-up and drop-off.
- Provide parents and carers with information about children’s rights via newsletters, or parent information sessions.
- Regularly engage with parents, carers and students and discuss the needs of students through parent/teacher interviews.
- Discuss how your school approaches child safety topics at parents, carers and friends’ association meetings. Seek community views where appropriate to do so. Make sure you have processes in place to manage disclosures if they arise.
Provide regular opportunities to communicate
- Provide frequent opportunities for parents and carers to engage with staff to discuss their children’s experiences at school.
- Organise interpreters and translations to engage families from non-English speaking backgrounds in conversations about the school’s child safety strategies.
- Ask families and carers about their preferred methods of communication, including email, social media, meetings and workshops and use their responses to inform your communications approach.
- Incorporate child safety questions in parent and carer surveys to measure awareness and confidence in the school’s child safety approach and to support ongoing improvement.
- Remind the school community about the shared roles of parents, carers and school staff in creating a positive environment for learning by promoting the Respectful Behaviours in the School Community Policy.
- Consider hosting community workshops on child safety and wellbeing topics, for example, respectful relationships or online safety. Provide families with take-home information to help them to talk to their children about safety and wellbeing at home.
- Communicate with and appropriately involve families at all stages of the process if a concern is raised or complaint is made.
Reflect the diversity of the school community
- Make newsletters and communications inclusive. Normalise a diversity of family profiles and reflect the characteristics of your school community.
- Select meeting venues that are physically accessible, welcoming and culturally safe.
- Encourage volunteer positions from families from diverse backgrounds, including people with a disability, Aboriginal people, and those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
Provide inclusive and accessible information
- Display the PROTECT poster (PDF, 203KB) in shared areas that are accessible to parents and the community.
- Make sure child safety information is easy to read – consider font size, font style, colours used, formatting and visual presentation.
- Provide links to the school’s child safety policies in the school’s social media posts, newsletters and staff circulars.
- Check that the students, school staff, and members of the school community know who to contact if they have a concern about child safety. Keep this information up to date and accessible, and review it regularly.
- Use images and other accessibility aids to help child safety information be understood by families that have low literacy or vision.
- Translate child safety information into multiple languages to reflect your school community.
Build family and community involvement in child safety into business as usual
- Make child safety a standing item at school governing authority meetings.
- Report on the outcomes of relevant reviews to staff and volunteers, community and families and students to show transparency and accountability.
- Encourage families and carers to advocate for their children and champion their safety while at school and in other environments, including extra-curricular activities such as sports, tutoring, music and language classes.
- Promote the whole school approach to Respectful Relationships and Resilience Rights and Respectful Relationships education to families.
- Acknowledge the important role that families and communities play in monitoring children’s safety and wellbeing and helping children to disclose concerns.
- Communicate with and appropriately involve families at all stages of the process if a concern or complaint is raised.
For further help to meet Child Safe Standard 4 and Ministerial Order 1359, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.