TERM PAPER QUESTIONS & ANSWERS - LEGAL AND ETHICAL ISSUES IN CHILDCARE
Record the relevant government agency that deals with child protection in your state – South Australia. The South Australia Department for Families and Communities (DFC) is responsible for child protection among other things. (COAG) Families SA runs the Child Abuse Report Line on 131 478. The Report Line is the focal point where all child protection concerns are to be reported. There are three teams in operation during these times. 1)
The standard Child Abuse Report Line team is made up of social workers. For the sake of integrity all mandatory notifications are reviewed on the day by senior social workers. 2)
Aboriginal Family Practitioners man the Yaitya Tirramangkotti Line. 3)
A special team was created called DART (The Diversionary Assessment Response Team) to provide help to notifiers to assess whether their concern needs to be reported. It also refers people to other resources they can use to assist the child and their family. 2)
A] What are the legal requirements for ‘Mandatory Reporting’ in South Australia for staff working in a children’s service? B] Who is legally obligated to make a notification when they have grounds to believe that a child is at risk of harm? A] The legal requirements for “Mandatory Reporting’ in South Australia are that if a person reasonably suspects that a child has previously been, or is still being abused or neglected from observations during the course of their work (whether paid or voluntary) or in the process of carrying out their official duties, then the person must notify the Department of that suspicion as soon as possible after they suspect abuse is occurring. B] As outlined under the Children’s Protection Act 1993 – S.A., the people legally obligated to make a notification when they have grounds to believe that a child is at risk of harm are: (a) a medical practitioner;
(b) a pharmacist;
(c) a registered or enrolled nurse;
(d) a dentist;
(e) a psychologist;
(f) a police officer;
(g) a community corrections officer (an officer or employee of an administrative unit of the Public Service whose duties include the supervision of young or adult offenders in the community); (h) a social worker;
(i) a minister of religion;
(j) a person who is an employee of, or volunteer in, an organisation formed for religious or spiritual purposes; (k) a teacher in an educational institution (including a kindergarten); (l) an approved family day care provider;
(m) any other person who is an employee of, or volunteer in, a Government department, agency or instrumentality, or a local government or non-government organisation, that provides health, welfare, education, sporting or recreational, child care or residential services wholly or partly for children, being a person who—(i) is engaged in the actual delivery of those services to children; or (ii) holds a management position in the relevant organisation the duties of which include direct responsibility for, or direct supervision of, the provision of those services to children. It is important to remember that under the law you are only mandated within your professional context. In relation to your experiences after hours you have no mandate to report, however you may consider that you have an ethical duty to do so (DECD). 3)
List the relevant policies and procedures from your service relating to child protection and responding to children at risk of harm. At our centre we have access to physical copies (or via the intranet) of various policies and procedures relating to child protection and responding to children at risk of harm. These policies may come from several sources, namely International, National, State, GoodStart or they may be specific to our centre:
UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CROC – 1990)
Early Childhood Development Steering Committee, National Quality Standard for Early Childhood Education and Care and School Age Care,...
References: Early Childhood Development Steering Committee, National Quality Standard for Early Childhood Education and Care and School Age Care, Council of Australian Governments, (COAG) (December 2009).
GoodStart Training College Module 2 Legal and Ethical Guidelines Training Booklet (October, 2012).
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