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Newsletter - May 2021

Child Safe Standards brochure translation

The Child Safe Standards core components brochure is now available in Arabic, Greek, Hindi, Korean, Chinese (traditional and simplified) and Vietnamese. The core components brochure gives a short, practical overview of each Standard to help your organisation implement each standard. You can download the translated resources from the Office of the Children’s Guardian website.

The Child Safe Standards recommended by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse provide a framework for organisations to create cultures and adopt strategies to keep children safe from harm.

Empowerment and participation guide now available

A new guide has been developed to help your organisation implement key recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Abuse is less likely to happen in organisations where children and young people participate in decisions that affect them and where they feel confident, they will be listened to. Child safe organisations value and celebrate children and young people for who they are and the contributions they make. They also recognise that because of their age and abilities, children and young people can be disempowered and are at greater risk of experiencing harm.

Organisations have an obligation to empower children and young people, and to uphold their human right to participate in decision-making that affects them. Empowerment and participation: A guide for organisations working with children and young people. (This publication is being updated)

Child Safe Scheme Bill introduced to parliament

The Amendment Bill introduced to NSW parliament by the Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services on Tuesday 11 May will embed the Child Safe Standards into legislation. These changes are all about improving how organisations protect children and young people from abuse and neglect, by placing their voices and interests at the heart of what they do. Read more about the Bill and the consultation summary on our website.

Responding to Reportable Allegations – eLearning now available

The Office of the Children’s Guardian administers the Reportable Conduct Scheme under the Children’s Guardian Act 2019. The scheme monitors how certain organisations (‘relevant entities’) investigate and report on types of conduct ('reportable allegations' or 'reportable convictions') made against their employees, volunteers or certain contractors who provide services to children.

VOOHC agencies are considered relevant entities and must comply with the Reportable Conduct Scheme.

A free eLearning course about how to respond to Reportable Allegations is available. Modules 1-6 are now online for your organisation to participate in. Register or log in on the eLearning page to access the course.

NDIS Worker Check

Certain workers delivering support or services under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) are required to have a worker screening clearance. In NSW this is called the NDIS Worker Check (NDISWC). For more information, please see the Service NSW website.

There is no change to the Working with Children Check requirements in NSW. A condition of registration to provide or arrange VOOHC in NSW is to comply with any other relevant NSW or Commonwealth laws. Your agencies must ensure compliance with the requirements for the NDISWC and the requirements set out in the Child Protection (Working with Children) Act 2012 and Regulation.

The Quarterly Activity Report (QAR)

The QAR provides information about an agency’s compliance with the VOOHC Register. Agencies are required to use the QAR to self-monitor in order to identify areas requiring improvement. If there are discrepancies between the QAR and your agency’s records, please notify the VOOHC Monitoring Team. VOOHC agencies recently received the QAR for the January – March 2021 period. From the quarterly data, the VOOHC Monitoring Team captures key statistics for publication, such as:

  • number of placements
  • number of children and young people accessing VOOHC with and without a disability
  • number of VOOHC placement with or without supervision or case plan
  • compare statistics from financial years.

You can find the data for 2020-21 financial year on our key statistics page. The next QAR will be for the April – June 2021 quarter.

Kiteworks user guide available

Kiteworks is a secure file transfer tool that enables an organisation to send and receive files. The OCG is committed to information security, and the VOOHC Monitoring Team is now using the Kiteworks platform to share information. There is a user guide available on our website to support VOOHC agencies to access and download files.

If you have any issues in accessing the information shared with your organisation, please contact the VOOHC Monitoring team.

Notifying non-designated placements

As part of VOOHC registration, VOOHC agencies must advise the Children’s Guardian if it is providing out-of-home care to a child or young person who is the subject of a statutory care and protection order or a temporary care arrangement, within 5 working days of commencing to provide care under the arrangement. VOOHC agencies may do this by writing to voohc@ocg.nsw.gov.au

Reconciliation week 27 May to 3 June 2021 – ‘More than a word’

National Reconciliation Week (NRW) provides an opportunity to learn about our shared histories, cultures and achievements. NRW commemorates two significant dates in the reconciliation journey – the 1967 referendum and the High Court Mabo decision respectfully. Reconciliation Australia’s theme for 2021, ‘More than a word. Reconciliation takes action’, Reminds us that we all have a role to play when it comes to building relationships and communities that value Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, histories, cultures and futures.

Standard 4 of the Child Safe Standards is about upholding equality, and that organisations take into account the diverse needs of children. This includes paying particular attention to the needs to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. Enabling culturally safe principles create the prerequisites for ensuring effective and sustainable transformational change within the system. SNIACC, the peak body for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children have some great resources on cultural safety.

We encourage you to contact the VOOHC Monitoring Team if you are aware of an agency that is providing or arranging VOOHC and are not registered with the OCG to do so. A list of registered agencies can be found on our website.

As updates about COVID-19 continue to develop, the primary concern for the Office of the Children’s Guardian is the safety, welfare and wellbeing of children. If your agency has any issues or questions regarding meeting the requirements for voluntary out-of-home care, please contact our team via email at voohc@ocg.nsw.gov.au

Kind regards,

VOOHC Monitoring team