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for staff in their interactions with children and young people

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1 for staff in their interactions with children and young people
Protective Practices for staff in their interactions with children and young people Guidelines for staff working or volunteering in education and care settings. Guidelines as part of our child protection but following them is also protective of the staff themselves. Preparation Ensure everyone has a copy of the guidelines. The presentation includes many opportunities for participants to talk about the guidelines. This is best in very small groups It can be useful to form the groups randomly to enable fresh collegiate conversation rather than comfortable friendship “group-think”. Ideas for forming groups can be found at . 2011 edition

2 These guidelines were developed to:
safeguard the emotional and physical wellbeing of children & young people in education & care settings provide clear advice to adults to assist them to feel comfortable, clear and confident about the professional boundaries of their interactions with children & young people foreword Practices which are protective of children and young people – but also professional protection for staff They apply to government and non-government sites.

3 Teachers lose their caring touch
New IT stock stalls Teachers lose their caring touch “no touching!” Hands-free teaching Despite media hype, the guidelines DO NOT PROHIBIT CHILDREN BEING TOUCHED They describe respectful ways of providing caring, encouraging and instructive touch. In your practice what are situations where you may touch a child/young person? How does this fit with the good practice recommendations? Are there alternatives? How do you/might you ensure this touch is experienced as respectful? Despite these guidelines being around since 2005, numbers of staff and community members continue to believe staff are not allowed to touch children and young people. However, sensitive physical contact can be part of communication and instruction, provided it is used respectfully as the guidelines outline. Some staff feel impatient or uncomfortable with the notion of telling they are about to touch and asking permission. Points that might be helpful in discussion with them: This is no different than many human services – think about positive and negative experiences with medical staff – doctor, nurse, physio … and how they can make you feel more comfortable by flagging their intention. “I am now going lift your arm”. how would you expect a colleague to approach you in such a context – why should a working relationship with a child be less respectful? Especially given the difference in power and often in physical “presence”, there is need for more sensitivity to children and young people. p 16

4      Professional Boundaries 1 2 3 communication
personal disclosure physical contact place targeting individual child/young person role possessions p 8-9 A non-exhaustive range of examples of violations of professional boundaries. You might wish to add, or invite participants, to add to these, particularly in a specialist setting. In a group of three, each person read and share with the other two, the sections of the table as above. Concentrate on examples which are particularly relevant to your setting.

5      Further to personal disclosure
Getting to know people usually involves some information about yourself but professional boundaries prevent harm to child or young person, undermining of learning &/or harm to your professional reputation. Issue is to share social information rather than personal information – eg discussing pets, music tastes, sports teams, and so on but not personal relationships, health, adult pastimes…. What and how might you disclose about yourself to children/young people while being protective of them and yourself?

6 place – for country & local communities
Further to place – for country & local communities Look at the guiding principles on p11. What are some of the challenges for you in this situation? Share strategies that you use to ensure you are able to enjoy your life in the community while still being protective of children, young people and yourself. YOU MAY WISH TO HIDE THIS SLIDE IF NOT RELEVANT TO YOUR SITE. Might be relevant to mention too that students are accountable for maintaining appropriate relationships also eg harassment of a staff member out of hours can be subject to school discipline including suspension/exclusion “as threatening the safety or wellbeing” of a member of the school community.

7 Social Networking We are expected to model responsible & respectful conduct; consider the electronic social environment as part of this. p 11 own information and images of self appropriate do not have children/young people in your educational community as “friends” no hurtful/ embarrassing /libellous/ reputationally harmful comments about child(ren)/ young person(s) or staff or workplace. See also guidelines Cyber-safety - keeping children safe in a connected world p17 “ educators should ensure that their ‘digital footprints’ from their personal online identities, including social networking sites, are consistent with the role of educators, the Code of Conduct for South Australian Public Sector Employees, and the Teacher Registration Board of SA’s Code of Ethics for the Teaching Profession in South Australia” “gain written permission from parents before publishing video, photographs, comments or work samples of their child” p11

8 Children and young people with additional needs or disabilities
In many cases staff will need to engage more in physical contact to meet their duty of care and learning program requirements. The vulnerability of these children and young people requires even more vigilance and thoughtfulness. Where relevant consideration of this might also include providing personal care needs. Outlining the requirements in the individual plan is protective of both the child or young persons and the adults who interact with him/her in care and education. p 19

9 do not minimise, ignore or delay.
When staff see concerning behaviour in other adults … p 14 Suspected Child Abuse Report to CARL irrespective of who is implicated as per RAN procedures behaviour which is inappropriate but not abusive take action through site leader individual made aware of potentially negative impact on child/young person and self; if it is disclosed by child/young person - do not minimise, ignore or delay.

10 raise it with the adult referred to
When I as site leader am made aware of such a concern I am required to: raise it with the adult referred to explicitly outline conduct expectations record the concern, outlined expectations, and any additional information/ explanation/ clarification; have this record signed and dated by the adult and me; and give a copy of this to the adult and securely and confidentially file the original. inform parents if appropriate This is protective of all parties: any children/young people put at risk or made uncomfortable by inappropriate (intentional or otherwise) conduct the referring person who can be confident their concern has been checked out the adult referred to as s/he has opportunity to respond, to clarify if referral not justified, to improve practice if unintentional, and to have the whole picture on record. from Managing Allegations of Sexual Misconduct p7 Protective practices for staff in their interactions with children and young people The Protective Practices document (2011 DECS) outlines the professional boundaries within which all staff members are expected to operate in their relationships with children and young people. Meeting the requirements outlined in Protective Practices is critical to helping prevent the circumstances of adult sexual misconduct. The Protective Practices policy requires all staff to act if they observe or are told about adult behaviour that represents a breach of a professional boundary. This point cannot be overstated: ‘It is not acceptable to minimise, ignore or delay responding to such information. For the wellbeing of all members of the education or care community, the site leader must be informed as a matter of urgency …’ (p 14). Immediate actions in response to inappropriate behaviour may enable more serious underlying behaviour to be identified, and may prevent sexual misconduct. The more vigilant and transparent an education or care community is in complying with the Protective Practices document the more likely it will be that sexual misconduct can be prevented—through early identification, intervention, and deterrence.

11 A colleague comes to you concerned about a situation below. What more might you ask? What issues would you raise? While I was in the playground, a child fell over, burst into tears and came to me for comfort. I didn’t know what to do. I have just got an inviting me to one of my senior student’s 18th birthday party. One of my middle school students has asked me to see them after school because they are very worried about something. My neighbour is a single parent who works shift work and s/he has asked me if I will give their child a lift in the mornings. One of the children in special education keeps asking me to help them in the toilet. Lee has fits of apparent rage and bangs his/her head on the table. I am worried s/he will be hurt. OR explore a situation specific to your experience. You may choose those most relevant to your setting, adapt others or include some of your own devising. F – p17 – restraint as last resort – alternatives? Don’t have to stop the behaviour in that moment, just keep safe. eg large firm foam mat that goes on desk and can be held in place by staff.

12 Follow-up ensure you have read the guidelines raise any questions or concerns about your practice, school routines or other situation with your line manager In conclusion staff are expected to meet this duty (of care) in a manner which respects the dignity of all children and young people as well as their vulnerabilities In particular those staff for whom it is relevant should take particular note of working on-on-one – p11 managing privacy expectations – p12 Some sites may wish to set p17 – managing behaviour and restraint - as “homework” for discussion at the following meeting. Leadership meeting will need to share and consider any concerns raised. Is there a need for specific local practice guidance ?

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