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Keep Them Safe - Information for Principals in schools

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Keep Them Safe - Information for Principals in schools . Catholic Schools Office. Diocese of . Armidale. May 2010. Acknowledgements: Keep Them Safe Resources for ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Keep Them Safe - Information for Principals in schools


1
Keep Them Safe - Information for Principals in
schools
Catholic Schools Office Diocese of Armidale
Acknowledgements Keep Them Safe Resources for
Catholic Schools CECNSW 2010
2
REPORTING THRESHOLD INCREASE WHY?
  • Children and young people should only be reported
    where a statutory response is required
  • Reporting is not effective where families need
    support rather than statutory intervention
  • Refer families where statutory response is not
    required to local government agencies/NGOs
    (instead of reporting)
  • Enable Community Services to focus on the most
    serious cases

3
SIGNIFICANT HARM DEFINITION
  • Circumstances causing concern to a significant
    extent
  • Sufficiently serious for statutory response
  • Not minor or trivial
  • Reasonable expectation of a substantial and
    demonstrably adverse impact on child or young
    persons safety, welfare or wellbeing
  • For an unborn child the adverse outcome relates
    to safety, welfare and wellbeing after the
    childs birth
  • Significance can relate to single act or omission
    or an accumulation

4
LEGAL FRAMEWORK FOR REPORTING
  • S.23/24 Children and Young Persons (Care and
    Protection) Act
  • Current concerns
  • Reasonable grounds
  • One or more harm circumstances
  • Single act or omission or series of acts or
    omissions

5
HARM CIRCUMSTANCES
  • Basic care
  • (b) Necessary medical treatment
  • (b1) School enrolment / attendance
  • (c) Physical or sexual abuse
  • (d) Exposure to domestic violence
  • (e) Serious psychological harm
  • (f) Prenatal
  • Also unauthorised out of home care as specified
    by the Act.

6
CUMULATIVE HARM
  • Damaging effects may not be evident from single
    event
  • Multiple adverse circumstances can have
    unremitting daily impact
  • Likely to be identified from multiple sources
  • Multiple reports over time, with different harm
    types, and below threshold concerns

7
ACCESSING THE MRG
  • www.keepthemsafe.nsw.gov.au
  • Look for Mandatory Reporter Guide under Quick
    Links
  • www.community.nsw.gov.au
  • Click on Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect
  • Then click on Resources for Mandatory
    Reporters
  • http//dr.sdm.community.nsw.gov.au/mrg/app/summary
    .page

8
CASE EXAMPLE
  • Emma has bruising on her face and her eye is half
    closed. When asked Emma says that she knocked her
    head on a cupboard door. Another student tells a
    staff member that Emma said her mother hit her
    when Emma was late home

9
(No Transcript)
10
MRG DECISIONS
  • Report to Community Services immediately
  • Report to Community Services (within 24 hrs)
  • Consult with a professional (or report)
  • Consult with a mental health professional or
    service (or report)
  • Document and continue relationship
  • Document and monitor (attendance only)

11
CHILD PROTECTION HELPLINE
  • To make a report telephone 133 627 (Mandatory
    Reporters Line)
  • You will be asked if you have used the MRG, and
    you may be asked about the MRG decision
  • You will need to give comprehensive information
    about the child and family
  • Ask for a reference number
  • Ask for feedback re threshold and CS response
  • Always complete Form A on the intranet and retain
    copy for school records and fax copy to CSO on
    secure fax line

12
MRG ISSUES ?
  • Check for another relevant decision tree it may
    pick up your concerns
  • Contact the Helpline if you need help with the
    MRG
  • Contact the Helpline if you are concerned about
    risk of significant harm, even if the MRG says
    otherwise
  • No one can stop you contacting the Helpline

13
BELOW THE THRESHOLD
  • What if it does not meet the threshold?
  • What options does a school have?
  • Do we need to do something?

14
MRG DECISIONS INCLUDE
  • Immediate report to Community services
  • Report to Community Services
  • Document and continue relationship
  • Document and monitor
  • Consult a professional
  • Document and continue relationship/monitor

15
DOCUMENT AND CONTINUE RELATIONSHIP
  • May be the outcome for a range of decision trees
  • Lower risks or family benefiting from services
  • If conditions worsen responsibility to report
  • May act to facilitate disclosure of further or
    new concerns
  • May support child/young person or parent/carer to
    address concerns.

16
DISCLOSURE
  • Means telling another person about abuse
  • May be intentional or accidental
  • Person disclosing
  • may not be aware of the consequences
  • may be looking for information is this OK?
    is it just me?
  • may be looking for protection or support
  • Behaviour change may precede disclosure
  • Disclosure process often comes in small,
    fragmented pieces

17
MONITOR, CREATE OR MAINTAIN A SAFE SPACE
  • I will listen if you want to tell me.
  • Barriers - fear of blame, disbelief, consequences
  • People may not know how to talk about their
    experience, and may not see it as abuse

18
SCOPE OF SCHOOL INVOLVEMENT
  • Legislation requires that collaborative work
    between agencies should respect each others
    functions and expertise
  • Work within the function of the school ie. taking
    into account educational priorities
  • Focus on promoting resilience and reducing the
    risk of adverse outcomes
  • Ensure tasks are within the capacity of people
    undertaking them
  • Maintain boundaries and avoid encouraging
    dependence

19
HABITUAL ABSENCE (MRG)
  • As a guide minimum of 30 days absent within the
    past 100 school days
  • May be appropriate to respond earlier for younger
    children because of impact of missed schooling
  • Also consider the impact of absences on children
    with a cognitive disability or learning
    difficulties
  • Take into account other risk circumstances
    creating cumulative harm

20
REPORTING HABITUAL ABSENCE
  • Report to Child Protection Helpline when
  • School needs statutory authority to make contact
    because of no response to many attempts
  • Parent refuses to send child to school or
    parent/child refuses to use other education
    options
  • Attempts to assist family have failed
  • Parent is unable to address issues
  • There are additional risk circumstances and no
    effective service involvement

21
RESPONDING TO NEW INFORMATION
  • The first MRG decision is not the last word about
    the family
  • We need to identify new information and be open
    to what it means
  • We may identify information that wasnt available
    when we completed the MRG
  • The familys circumstances could change, so we
    need to take those changes into account

22
SCHOOL MAY BE THE ONLY PLACE
  • Where students feel safe
  • Where students have contact with an adult who
    listens
  • Where an adult is watching out.

23
EXERCISE
  • In pairs recall a difficult encounter you have
    had with a family
  • Tell your partner in 30 seconds the following
  • What did it feel like
  • Why do you still remember it
  • What was the issue
  • Was it resolved yes/no and why
  • What was 1 learning from the experience

24
WHAT MAKES CONVERSATIONS ABOUT TOUGH STUFF
EASIER?
  • Trust between the parties
  • Some advance warning
  • Not being judged or blamed
  • Issues explained clearly
  • Relief that things are in the open
  • Hope about the outcome
  • Support to address the issues

25
WHEN ARE CONVERSATIONS BETWEEN PARENTS SCHOOL
STAFF TOUGHEST?
  • Little previous contact
  • Parents had negative experiences at school
  • Parents find it hard to express their concerns
  • Parents feel ambushed
  • Parents feel they or their child is under threat
  • Parents feel embarrassed or powerless
  • Parents think no one is listening

26
INVITE PARENTS TO GET IN FIRST
  • What do you know about the reason for this
    meeting?
  • What do you know about what has been happening
    at school for Joe?
  • It is often less threatening if parents can talk
    first
  • If parents talk first you can use their language
    for concerns
  • Ask parents to help you understand how they see
    things differently

27
STUDENT NOT SCHOOL FOCUS
  • Im concerned that the issues in class are making
    it hard for Ben to learn, and for other students
    to learn.
  • Vs
  • The school isnt happy about Bens issues in
    class.
  • or
  • Bens issues in class are causing problems for
    the school.

28
SEPARATE THE PROBLEM FROM THE PERSON
(STUDENT EXAMPLE)
  • If this trouble in the playground keeps going, it
    will lead to suspension.
  • Vs
  • You need to improve your act or you will get
    suspended.

29
SEPARATE THE PROBLEM FROM THE PERSON (ADULT
EXAMPLE)
  • Drinking gets in the way of your children getting
    the basic care they need. Vs
  • You are an alcoholic and you are neglecting your
    kids.

30
EXERCISE
  • Focusing on strengths rather than deficits, makes
    a difference in our approach to children and
    families

31
BE CLEAR ABOUT THE TAKE AWAY MESSAGE FOR
PARENTS
  • Are you giving information?
  • Are you taking action?
  • Are you asking the parent and/or student to take
    action?

32
TAKING LEADERSHIP WHILE WORKING WITH
FAMILIES ON THE TOUGH STUFF
  • Model respect with families and agencies
  • Try to learn from mistakes
  • Stay hopeful but be honest about concerns
  • Listen and avoid blame or judgment
  • Look for strengths
  • Notice change (with families and agencies).

33
CASE STUDY
  • Verity Handout discuss what would you do in
    the school

34
CASE STUDY
  • Verity Handout discuss what would you do in
    the school
  • Teacher to contact mum to see if everything is
    OK?

35
CASE STUDY
  • Then mum provides the following information
  • She discloses to the teacher that the step father
    has been drinking a lot lately and last week
    Steve pushed her. The mum was sure that Verity or
    the other children did not know as they were in
    their rooms. She also states that Verity is her
    main support at home and helps a lot with the
    younger children as she finds it difficult at
    present
  • What do you do now?

36
SCOPE OF SCHOOL ACTION
  • Need to consider the following
  • Duty of care what is reasonable?
  • Capacity what is possible?
  • Boundaries what is acceptable to the family and
    sustainable by the community?

37
EXERCISE
  • In small groups discuss
  • Who would you involve at the school?
  • What can the school do?
  • What's reasonable?
  • You decide to contact the mum as Community
    Services will not respond
  • What do you say to the mum?
  • What do you say to Verity?

38
HOW DO WE KEEP NOTES ON THIS MATTER
  • What did you notice when speaking to the mum?
  • What do you write down?
  • Who do we need to tell about this?
  • Tips for notes
  • Write in the third person
  • No waffle
  • Date, sign, position
  • Confidentiality
  • Keep under National Privacy principles

39
FINDING HELP FOR FAMILIES
  • Financial assistance
  • Family support
  • Legal advice
  • Counselling
  • Mental health issues
  • Drug and alcohol issues
  • Housing
  • Domestic violence
  • Parenting education

40
WHEN THE FAMILY SAYS NO
  • Dont take it personally
  • Keep communication open
  • Sometimes a letter will help
  • Avoid pressuring or shaming
  • Keep alert for another opportunity

41
EXCHANGING INFORMATION
  • Understand current legislation in relation to
    information exchange relating to children and
    young people
  • Understand your responsibilities regarding
    confidentiality and record keeping taking
    account of the new legislation

42
COLLECTING AND STORING STUDENT INFORMATION
  • Only collect necessary information
  • Dont use information for other purposes without
    consent
  • Maintain current information
  • Take reasonable steps to protect information
  • Be open about what you collect and why
  • Only collect sensitive info (eg. health) with
    consent

43
EXCHANGING INFORMATION WITH COMMUNITY SERVICES
  • S.248 Children and Young Persons (Care and
    Protection) Act 1998
  • Relates to safety, welfare and wellbeing of a
    child (lt 16 yrs) or young person(16-17 yrs)
  • Any info related to Community Services (CS)
    functions
  • If CS requests schools must provide it
  • Schools can also request info from CS

44
PRINCIPLES OF CH 16A INFORMATION
EXCHANGE
  • Agencies should be able to exchange info re
    safety, welfare and well-being of children
  • Work collaboratively and respectfully
  • Need to provide services takes precedence over
    confidentiality or privacy

45
INFORMATION EXCHANGE UNDER CHAPTER 16A
  • Prescribed bodies can
  • Request information
  • Provide information in response to a request
  • Initiate provision without a request

46
CHAPTER 16A EXCHANGES MUST RELATE TO
  • Information about safety, welfare or wellbeing of
    a child or young person
  • Assisting making a decision, assessment or plan
    or
  • Conducting an investigation or
  • Providing any service or
  • Managing any risk to children or young people
    related to employment/out of home care

47
PROTECTION FROM LIABILITY
  • If you act lawfully and in good faith
  • No legal liability
  • No breach of standards, etiquette or ethics

48
WHAT CAN BE REQUESTED?
  • Information may be shared if it relates to
  • a child or young persons history or
    circumstances and/or
  • a parent or other family member and/or
  • people having a significant or relevant
    relationship with a child or young person and/or
  • the other agencies dealings with the child or
    young person, including past support or service
    arrangements

49
HOW IS INFORMATION EXCHANGED?
  • No legal restrictions
  • Written exchange is clearest
  • Can use forms, letters, email etc
  • May exchange verbally e.g. at a meeting, or by
    phone if need is urgent
  • Recommend making a written record of verbal
    communications

50
GROUNDS FOR REFUSING TO PROVIDE INFORMATION
  • Defined by legislation
  • Mainly relate to legal issues
  • Cannot identify a reporter of risk of significant
    harm under Ch 16A
  • Can withhold information if there is a reasonable
    belief that provision would endanger a persons
    life or physical safety
  • You must give reasons in writing if you refuse to
    provide information

51
CAN INFO BE PASSED ON?
  • Prescribed bodies can only exchange information
    for purposes associated with the safety, welfare
    or wellbeing or a child or young person

52
INITIATING PROVISION
  • A prescribed body can provide information without
    receiving a request
  • You can provide information to the prescribed
    body where you believe the information would
    assist the recipient.

53
PURPOSE OF PART 5A
  • Intended to promote safer schools
  • Info obtained from other schools and certain
    government agencies without consent
  • Apply where students violent behaviour poses
    current risk to health and safety
  • Apply at or after enrolment
  • Info needed for risk assessment or planning

54
PROTECTION UNDER S.26F
  • Information must be provided in good faith and
    with reasonable care
  • No liability for defamation
  • No grounds for other civil proceedings
  • No breach of etiquette, ethics or standards
  • Cannot disclose identity of mandatory reporter
  • Certain NSW Health Administration staff exempt

55
PART 5A Vs CH 16A
  • Different purposes
  • School focus Vs individual student focus
  • Different guidelines for involving and advising
    parents and students
  • Different grounds for refusing requests
  • Different agencies are specified
  • Different templates

56
INFO EXCHANGE SUMMARY
  • Must be for lawful purposes
  • Must be between relevant agencies
  • Best if transparent
  • Decision about involvement of family on case by
    case basis
  • Refer to policies and procedures
  • Ensure adequate recording and storage.

57
INFO EXCHANGE PROCEDURES
  • Principals are required to refer all requests for
    information received/asked for or school
    initiated to the Executive Assistant to the
    Director for formal written responses or
    requests. A copy will be provided to the school
    for their records.
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