Child Wise Accreditation provides assurance that your policies, processes, governance and culture are compliant with the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations, and that leaders demonstrate a commitment to continuously trying to make things safer for children and young people. Crucially, it aims to promote outstanding practice in the way that organisations listen and respond to the explicit and implicit voices of children and young people. Accreditation cannot guarantee that children and young people who spend time in your organisation will be safe from harm all of the time. It does, however mean that there are processes for responding to child safety risks and minimising the potential for harm to occur.
Is your organisation Child Wise?
We offer Child Wise Accreditation to any organisation that works with children and can demonstrate that their policies, processes and culture are consistently child safe. This includes a strong focus on understanding safety from the perspective of the children and young people who are part of your organisation.
Child Wise accredits against a Child Safe Organisations Framework that includes:
- The National Principles for Child Safe Organisations;
- Legislation relevant to particular jurisdictions, including state-based Child Safe Standards; and
- Child Wise success criteria’ including specific indicators and evidence expected in organisations with a well embedded child safe culture.
The Accreditation process involves working with project leads from your organisation to establish and plan the project. The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and other State/Territory inquiries into child abuse all point to the critical role leaders have in influencing how organisations develop and sustain child safe culture. Child Wise also recognises this, and as such prioritises leadership engagement at the commencement of an Accreditation project.
Once Accreditation is achieved, it is a three-year arrangement during which Child Wise partners with organisations to support continuous improvement, integrate new legislative requirements and emerging best practice, whilst ensuring Accreditation requirements continue to be met.
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Child Wise Accreditation - Information for Families and Communities
What is Child Wise Accreditation?
Child Wise Accreditation is one of the programs we offer to organisations. Accreditation is only awarded to organisations that can demonstrate they meet the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations, as well as additional Child Wise requirements which help us to determine how well the Principles are being implemented. Once awarded, it is a 3 year arrangement, but only if organisations continue to meet requirements. We stay in touch with organisations during this period and undertake a mid-point check to assess their progress and make recommendations for how they can continue to improve.
How is Accreditation determined?
In order to assess readiness for accreditation, we undertake a Child Safety Review of organisations which includes reviewing their policies and procedures, visiting sites where children and young people spend time, and talking to children, young people, parents, carers, staff, volunteers and leaders about child safety. We then make recommendations for improvement, and after these have been implemented organisations can be considered for accreditation.
What does Accreditation mean?
Child Wise Accreditation is a voluntary process. There is no government requirement for organisations to become accredited but some decide to do so as they want to demonstrate to children, young people, parents, carers, staff and volunteers that they take child safety seriously. Accreditation cannot guarantee that children and young people will be safe from harm all of the time when they spend time in organisations. It does, however, provide assurance that an organisation’s policies, processes, governance and culture are compliant with the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations, and that leaders demonstrate a commitment to continuously trying to make things safer for children and young people. It also means that there are processes for responding to child safety risks and minimising the potential for harm to occur. Most importantly, Child Wise Accreditation aims to promote outstanding practice in the way that organisations listen and respond to the explicit and implicit voices of children and young people.
Benefits of Child Wise Accreditation for organisations
Child Wise is a sector leader, and as such our Accreditation will serve as credible, visible evidence of your organisation’s commitment to child safety. It will reassure stakeholders, including children, young people and families, that your organisation prioritises child safety and has invited external scrutiny to ensure a child safe culture exists.
The Child Wise Approach to Child Safety Accreditation
The Child Wise framework is multi-dimensional and aims to ensure your organisation has the capacity to:
- Prevent risk to children by building open and aware culture, whilst targeting specific environmental and situational factors;
- Identify child safety concerns and intervene in child-focused ways;
- Respond to disclosures and allegations of abuse;
- Learn from serious incidents to drive continuous improvement; and
- Empower children of all ages to contribute to increasing their safety.
For more information contact our expert advisors.
Accreditation Program Modules
Unless otherwise indicated, the following modules are essential for Accreditation. Organisations, however, can identify one or more modules to undertake as part of a tailored consultancy service outside of the Accreditation program.
Module 1: Project Establishment
This phase of the process involves working with project leads from your organisation to establish and plan the project. The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and other State/Territory inquiries into child abuse all point to the critical role leaders have in influencing how organisations develop and sustain child safe culture. Child Wise also recognises this, and as such prioritises leadership engagement at the commencement of an Accreditation project.
Project Establishment includes:
- Project Planning - An initial project planning meeting with the named project lead(s) from your organisation; you may also opt to include other senior leaders in this meeting.
- Leadership Briefing - A leadership engagement meeting at the commencement of the project to provide an overview, summarise timescales and deliverables.
- ‘Leading a Child Safe Organisation’ training (optional) - A two-hour tailored training session specifically designed for organisational leaders, which is optional for Accreditation and can be purchased as a stand-alone product or component of a tailored consultancy project.
Module 2: Self-Assessment
The Self-Assessment is an essential component of Accreditation, as it enables a more accurate understanding of strengths and priorities for development.
The Self-Assessment is structured around the Child Wise Accreditation Framework and encourages a critical examination of child safety capacity across the organisation. The completed Self-Assessment tool is then used to shape the Child Safety Review.
Module 3: Child Safety Review
This module uses a whole-system approach to enable your organisation and Child Wise to develop a deeper understanding of child safety across the organisation. By necessity, Child Wise undertakes this phase of the program without fear or favour, recognising that the most important beneficiaries of the process are children and young people.
The Child Safety Review aims to:
- Equitably and proportionately examine child safety across the organisation;
- Engage all stakeholders, especially children, young people and families;
- Provide a transparent, system-wide view of child safety in the organisation;
- Identify strengths, areas for development, risks and mitigation; and
- Provide your organisation with meaningful, achievable and tailored recommendations designed to shape an improvement plan;
- Assess the extent to which organisations are seeking and responding to the voices of children and young people.
Module 4: Improvement Planning
In most cases, the Child Safety Review will make recommendations which your organisation will need to implement in order to progress toward Child Wise Accreditation.
At the conclusion of the Child Safety Review, Child Wise will work with your organisation to develop a tailored improvement plan which addresses how, when and by whom recommendations will be implemented.
Module 5: Capacity Building
Your organisation may opt to engage Child Wise to support with capacity building, although this is optional for Accreditation.
Additional services that Child Wise can offer organisations include:
1. Policy development
Child Wise can support your organisation by:
- Reviewing and editing draft policy and procedure documents; and
- Developing documents e.g. policies, procedures, strategies, tailored to the organisational context.
2. Child Safety Organisational Framework
An organisational child safeguarding framework can be developed that is specific to your organisation. The framework will integrate all child safety policy requirements and will be informed by the outcome of the Child Safety Review if one was undertaken.
The framework can also include a compliance table that sets out examples of what the organisation needs to have in place in order to achieve the relevant child safety standards.
3. Child Safety Training
Child Wise can deliver training to your staff in-house at your organisation or through our virtual training. We are in the process of finalising our virtual classroom training packages.
Please click here if you are interested in virtual training.
In-house training is recommended for organisations that need to train groups of staff and volunteers, or the board/leadership team. In-house training can be delivered in its standard format or customised to suit your organisational needs and context. The training provided includes state-based and national legislation that applies to you.
Click here for more information on the training programs available.
4. Improving Engagement with Children and Young People
Child Wise can support your organisation to more effectively empower and promote the participation of children and young people in your organisation, through consulting or coaching, or a combination of both. This includes support to:
- Creatively and meaningfully engage children and young people in your organisation;
- Create opportunities for children and young people to become involved in organisational development;
- Consult with and seek the views of children and young people;
- Develop child and young person friendly policies, procedures and processes.
5. Community of Practice
Child Wise can offer your key child safety staff access to our Child Wise Community of Practice which gives them the opportunity to attend our webinar series and receive regular policy updates, good practice guides and other resources to support their work.
6. Embedded model
Child Wise can support your organisation’s capacity building by embedding one of our Child Wise Advisors in your organisation one day per week over the course of 3-12 months. The Child Wise Advisor can offer valuable expertise as your organisation continues its journey along the child safety continuum.
Module 6: Accreditation
Accreditation is a formal designation agreed by Child Wise Accreditation Decision-Makers. At least two Decision-Makers will be involved in awarding Accreditation to organisations; more than two Decision-Makers may be involved in larger, complex projects. Decision-Makers are professionals with significant (20+ years) experience in child safety related work and are contracted by Child Wise to independently assess whether organisations have reached the benchmark for Accreditation.
Following the implementation of the Improvement Plan and when significant progress has been achieved, your organisation can be assessed for Accreditation. Your Child Wise Advisor can support you in determining when your organisation is ready for Accreditation.
In preparation for presentation to Accreditation Decision-Makers, the Child Wise Advisor and client organisation will update the Improvement Plan noting:
- Evidence of progress since the Child Safety Review;
- Any contextual issues relevant for decision making (e.g. organisational changes, challenges, parallel Accreditation processes);
- Any primary evidence which might assist the Panel’s decision making;
- Plans for ongoing improvement.
If successfully Accredited, your organisation will be provided with the electronic Accreditation Stamp and a Certificate of Accreditation.
Module 7: Mid-Accreditation Self-Assessment
The Mid-Accreditation Self-Assessment process is an essential component of ongoing Accreditation, as it evidences whether organisations are progressing along the child safety continuum.
The Self-Assessment process is three-fold:
- Firstly, your organisation utilises the Improvement Plan to self-assess and update progress in relation to each recommended area of improvement;
- The updated Improvement Plan is then sent to Child Wise prior to the year 18-month Accreditation anniversary;
- Child Wise Decision-Makers then review the outcome of the Self-Assessment, provide feedback, make recommendations for further improvement and determine if the benchmark for Accreditation continues to be met.