At Churches of Christ Vic/Tas we are committed to the safety and wellbeing of all children and young people in our care, and to assist our members in this regard we recommend that individual churches take advantage of the services of ChildSafe Limited. Membership to ChildSafe is provided free-of-charge to all churches insured through the Churches of Christ Insurance program.
Who or what is ChildSafe?
ChildSafe Limited is a public company established specifically to “serve organisations working with children and young people, with the goal of improved child safety”. The organisation focuses particularly on the needs of churches, although its services are not limited to them.
ChildSafe recognises that the safety of children and young people involves more than just good intentions. They know that churches require practical solutions that are flexible enough to provide a good ‘fit’ within their particular organisational size and structure, and that are also adaptable to legislative and other changes as required.
The importance of child safety
It’s vitally important that church leaders who run programs and activities for minors recognise their moral and legal obligations to provide a safe environment and to protect and value all children and young people in their care.
While child abuse in churches and other organisations may have featured in the media quite a lot lately, this is only one aspect of child safety and protection. There is a vast array of other issues to consider, such as:
- Transportation safety.
- Water-based activity safety.
- Hygiene and infection control.
- Food safety.
- Medical safety and accident reporting.
- Emergency response procedures.
- Ensuring that activities and programs comply with established safety protocols.
- New recruitment screening.
Having sound child safety processes in place serves a number of purposes – including the provision of quality care, reducing the likelihood of harm occurring to children, the establishment of good risk management procedures, and the minimisation of insurance claims.
How might ChildSafe benefit your church?
The legislation and community information around the area of child protection and safety can be quite complex, and may also be difficult to translate into practical solutions for safety and quality of care. ChildSafe exists solely to assist the needs of churches (and other organisations if required) in this regard, by providing resources, training and information in plain English that can be utilised to develop good child safety processes and procedures.
ChildSafe’s services include:
- Publications in the form of guides for the different levels within the ChildSafe system such as team members, team leaders, and co-ordinators.
- Training materials – either in written form or through online modules.
- Access to SMO (Safety Management Online) for each of the different levels of responsibility within the ChildSafe system (see below for more information on SMO).
Paper-based or online?
Churches may administer ChildSafe as a paper-based system if desired, and this may suit some of the smaller congregations.
For churches opting for SMO, ChildSafe will activate an online site that has been configured specifically to suit the individual organisation. SMO features include:
- Online training modules with recorded test results.
- Resource downloading.
- Planning processes for activities and programs.
- An incident reporting system.
- Tracking of all updates and changes.
- Tracking of all steps in the recruitment and appointing process.
- Checking of programs and activities against organisational standards for risk management.
For more information on how you can create a child safe church or on how to access ChildSafe’s services, contact Russell Hoath. Russell or Liz Matheson can also be contacted for any queries or questions you may have about your CCI insurance policy.
Also see our other articles on child safety on the CCI website:
How safe is your church for kids?
Ansvar’s fact sheet on child sexual abuse
Responding to past allegations of abuse
‘Failure to report’ legislation
‘Failure to protect’ legislation
New child safe standards 2017
Tags: children, childsafe