The Working with Children (Risk Management and Screening) Act 2000 and the Working with Children (Risk Management and Screening) Regulation 2011 require that churches develop and implement a Child Protection Risk Management Strategy (Child Protection Policy) as part of providing a safe church environment for all children and young people. To comply with the legislative framework of the Act, any strategy should address eight minimum requirements of the legislation which can be summarised as follows:
- A statement about commitment to the safety and well being of children and the protection of children from harm.
- A code of conduct for interacting with children and young people
- Recruitment, selection, training and management procedures for paid employees and volunteers
- Policies and procedures for handling disclosures and suspicions of harm, including reporting guidelines
- A plan for managing breaches of the risk management strategy, and
- Risk Management plans for high risk activities and special events.
- Policies and procedures for compliance with blue card legislation including maintaining a register of staff/volunteers who hold blue cards.
- Strategies for communication and support including written information for parents/carers, paid employees and volunteers outlining this risk management strategy as well as training material for paid employees and volunteers to help them identify risks of harm and handle disclosures.
Working with Children (Blue Card) Check
In addition there are requirements for all those who are seeking to work with children and young people (under 18 years of age) in a paid, voluntary or self-employed capacity to undergo a criminal history check. The ‘Working with Children Check’ (also known as a Blue Card check) is designed to ensure that only suitable people are employed, operate businesses or volunteer where they have regular contact with children.
Some exemptions to the requirement of obtaining a Blue Card do apply however we encourage all churches to ensure everyone involved with children or youth obtains a Blue Card. Further and more detailed information regarding the Blue Card system can be found on the Blue Card Services website.
Risk Management Strategy Options
Whilst churches can develop their own risk management strategy (Child protection policy), they should ensure that any such strategy addresses the eight minimum requirements of the legislation.
Queensland Baptists endorse two Risk Management Strategies as follows:
ChildSafe is a safety management online system. People with different levels of responsibility and accountability within the Queensland Baptist churches can access the various elements of the system to work safely with children and young people. Separate resources are produced, targeting information that is specific to people with different responsibilities.
ChildSafe Resources are available for sale from QB.
Please phone QB Reception on (07) 3354 5600 or email email@example.com with your order. Postage varies on amounts ordered.
- ChildSafe Coordinators Book $ 20
- ChildSafe Team Leaders Book $ 20
- ChildSafe Team Members Book $ 10
Safety Management Online means that everyone at every level of the organisation can have access 24/7. This online system manages people’s appointment and tracks their training. It provides a framework for all of your programs to operate safely. It even provides online training, along with an extensive range of templates and resources.
2. QB Safe Church Strategy
The template, which you can access by clicking on the download button below, provides a strategy suitable for developing a safe church or child safe environment for churches that want a policy to compliment the ChildSafe safety management online (SMO) resources or as an alternative to using the SMO system as the church’s primary system.
The QB Safe Church Strategy may be adapted to suit the needs of your church’s context and ministry, but be careful to ensure that you are covering the essentials for being a safe church for children and vulnerable persons.
If you have questions about the strategy or suggestions for improving it, please contact your QB Child Safety Officer, Liz McFarland. Liz is also available to provide training and give help in the implementation of this strategy.
Each church should have received a Zero Tolerance for Abuse Poster and brochures. If you need to order more, please contact QB Reception on 07 3354 5600 or click on the links or buttons below to download a print version.
Brochure: Download the Nationally Agreed Standards – Australian Baptist Response Brochure
Poster: Download the Zero Tolerance for Abuse Poster