National Child Protection week

6-12 September 2020

‘Putting children first’ was front of mind when the National Child Protection Week campaign was launched in 1990, with the aim of bringing abuse and neglect out of the shadows and putting child wellbeing on the national agenda.

Since then, the need to put children first has been recognised time and time again as an important pillar for boosting the wellbeing of all children in Australia.

Last year’s National Child Protection Week campaign was based on research that shows the importance of putting children first when talking about parenting, and continued the message that conversations are a key part of engaging the whole community in caring for children.

Under this year’s theme of ‘Putting children first’ we invite all Australians to look at how they can prioritise children in their lives and communities and to engage in National Child Protection Week – as individuals, and as part of families, organisations, communities and society.

Putting children first means prioritising the safety and wellbeing of children. To grow up well children need to feel safe and loved, have a chance to play and explore, have a say in decisions that affect them, and access to essential things like food, shelter and healthcare.For children to thrive we need to come together as a community and put children’s needs first during National Child Protection Week and every week.

Ecological systems of influence on our children

Ecological systems theory places child development in an ecological perspective, in which an individual’s experience is at the centre, within a nested interconnected systems (Bronfenbrenner, 1989). What this theory means, is that no child is an island alone. Each child needs to be seen as a whole child with varying outside influences to take into account. What that means for us at Kids College is that we remain aware of all of the influences on our children.

“Child abuse and neglect is preventable. If we all work together as a community we can create an Australia where all children can grow up safe and well. What role can you play in supporting children and their families?”

– Richard Cooke, CEO, NAPCAN

How Kids College are playing our part for our children

Children thrive in strong well-connected communities where everyone plays a part in supporting families.

We believe that everyone can help create great environments for children (i.e. where people are friendly, where children feel safe and valued, and where parents can get the support that they need).

To play our part we aim to:-

  • Be positive role models for children.
    Welcome children with a smile, and consider their needs and views.
  • Consider the impact of product placement on children and young people.
  • Connect with our local community.
  • Speak up if we see dangers or inappropriate behaviour towards a child or young person.
  • Have family-friendly work conditions for parents.
    Ensure that everyone of all ages feel safe and respected.

Children need strong communities

What we know

Children thrive when their families get the support they need.

Families do best when they are part of connected communities with access to formal and informal support.

Parenting can be like navigating waters. Everyone may experience bad weather from time to time but, with lighthouses and safe harbours, we can continue our journey.

We can all help to be part of the lighthouses and safe harbours that families need.

How you can be a safe harbour

  • Smile and say hi to the people in your local neighbourhood. Children feel safer when they know the people in their community.
  • Be a good listener. Sometimes people just want to talk and feel listened to.
  • Be kind and supportive to parents rather than judging or being competitive. Encourage people to seek support if they need it.
  • If you see a family that is facing challenges, it is important that they get help as soon as possible before the problem gets bigger. You may need to ask advice from an expert about what to do, especially if you suspect that the children are at risk of harm.
  • Swap phone numbers with other families and let them know if you are doing something they could join in with e.g. going to the park to play.
  • Offer help and accept offers of help. (People don’t offer help unless they mean it, so it’s ok to say ‘yes’!).
  • Take a moment to think about children in your school or community who might need extra support and how you might be able to help. Being kind and respectful, being a good role model, and offering practical help such as lifts or meals, are a great start.
  • You may not always feel like it, but connecting with your community is good for everyone. Joining playgroups, parenting groups or sports clubs will help you and your children to have fun and meet people.

Check in with your friends from time to time if you know they are busy looking after children. Sometimes a friendly message can be a huge help to a family.

Tips for talking with children about personal safety

What we know

Children have the right to feel able to speak up, and to be listened to, respected and believed.

When we “tune into” children in everyday situations about even small worries, children are more likely to trust us and feel comfortable to tell us if something big is wrong.

Speaking regularly to children about their safety is a powerful way to build open communication with them.

It is always the responsibility of adults to keep children safe from harm – child abuse is never a child’s fault.

Article 12 of the United National Convention on the Rights of the Child states that children have the right to have a say in matters that affect them, and for adults to listen and take it seriously.

Tips for parents and caregivers

  • Help children to identify trusted adults (both within the family and outside) they can talk to, if they are worried, upset, or don’t feel safe. Create a list together. Make sure the trusted adults know they are on your child’s list.
  • Remind children that they can talk to you or a trusted adult about anything, no matter how big or small their worry might be.
  • Talk to children about how they know when they feel safe or unsafe. Help them to listen to their early warning signs (how their body feels), and to trust their feelings and instincts.
  • Use everyday activities (such as preparing meals and snacks, going for walks, playing, shopping) as opportunities for conversations. If children are used to having lots of communication, it can make it easier to talk when big or tricky issues come up.
  • Be open to talking about all kinds of feelings, including anger, joy, frustration, fear and anxiety. This helps children to develop a ‘feelings vocabulary’.
  • Show children that you can respond sensitively to negative emotions as well as positive ones when they express their anger, embarrassment, sadness or fear.

Don’t rush into problem-solving. Your child might just want you to listen, and to know that their feelings and point of view matter to someone.

Example of how Kids College is thinking of safety for our community is our SAFETY HOUSE

Kids College is a ‘Safety House’

Kids College are proudly part of the Safety House campaign. This means we are open to help children if they are feeling threatened or unsafe. All of our staffing team have working with children checks, are trained in Protective Behaviours and have mandatory reporting training. We are proud to be helping our community.

What do Safety House people do?

The role of the Safety Householder is to assist young children in need of help by just being a “Good Neighbour” to them.  Making them feel safe and supported and helping them to get in touch with their parents, school or whatever other help they might need.

In non-emergency situations such as bullied, frightened or lost children, the Safety House person will contact the child’s parents or school whilst reassuring and calming the child.  In emergency situations the Safety House person will call the child’s parents and the Police or emergency services whilst giving support and protection to the child.

For information on how your household could join the safety house campaign go to

http://www.safetyhousewa.org.au

National Child Protection week 2019

The 2019 National Child Protection Week (often called NAPCAN Week for the organisation behind it) draws on some of the premium parent communication research released last December by the Parenting Research Centre and Frameworks Institute.

“Children do best when life is on an even keel and their parents have the support they need,” says NAPCAN, introducing the concept behind this year’s National Child Protection Week from 1-7 September. “By being kind to parents, supporting family-friendly policies, and building connected communities, we’re all helping to give Australia’s children the best start in life. “National Child Protection Week is all about celebrating the many ways – big and small – that everyone in the community can make a difference in the life of a child.”

Navigating waters 2019 theme

The NAPCAN theme draws on the recommended ‘Navigating Waters’ metaphor from the Parenting Research Centre’s report, to get across the idea that families are trying hard and sometimes need help. The Navigating Waters metaphor was found to bridge the gap between ‘parenting experts’ and parents, who tend to dismiss messages about parenting skills as ‘intrusive, inappropriate, or an example of science going into territory where it does not belong’.

With many families considering child protection topics highly sensitive, it makes good sense to use proven methods to bridge that gap.

And so, goes the NAPCAN statement:

“Most importantly, we need to recognise that parenting is like sailing a boat; it takes skill and practice, anyone can encounter rough waters from time to time, and we can all do our bit to help build the safe harbours and lighthouses that all families need.”

To develop healthily, children need life to be on an even keel. But for families experiencing poverty and stress, raising children can be like sailing in rough waters. Just as we provide lighthouses and safe harbours, we can we can help parents with support like counselling, quality child care and financial support.

Background to the theme

This theme is based on evidence from the Frameworks Institute research commissioned by the Parenting Research Centre, which shows us the most effective way to talk about parenting and child wellbeing is with a ‘child development’ frame that:

  • Focuses on children and what they need to thrive, rather than blaming or evaluating parenting
  • Establishes the importance of interaction with parents and caregivers to child development, rather than assuming that young children simply grow
  • Helps people see that circumstances shape options, rather than assuming that good parenting comes naturally to individuals
  • Uses a ‘navigating waters’ metaphor where boats represent families/parenting, weather/hazards represents the circumstances that can affect us all, and lighthouses and safe harbours represent the support that we all need.

Key messages from NAPCAN

To raise thriving children, Australian parents need support.

Children thrive when parents have the support they need.

  • For healthy development, children need life to be on an even keel. But for families experience poverty and stress, raising children is like sailing in rough waters. Helping parents with counselling, quality child care and financial support makes sure that they have the lighthouses and safe harbours that they need to navigate these rough waters.
  • To develop in healthy and positive ways, children need life to be stable, even when families face rough times. Just as a strong skipper learns to be adaptable and to seek help when they need it, we can help parents to navigate life’s storms.
  • Raising thriving healthy children is all-important and building young brains takes work. Parents need support to help children develop the skills they need.
  • Raising thriving children is like building a house from the foundations up. When they interact with their children, parents are building brains. We need better policies to support parents to help children to learn and grow from the earliest days onwards.
  • Australia’s children thrive when our policies and programs support parents. We need to help all children develop healthily, especially when families experience tough times.

Kids College Philosophy

‘It takes a whole village to raise a child’ and Kids College values our partnership with parents and our community that takes pride in our position as our children’s home away from home, ensuring our families and children build a strong sense of belonging to the kids College family.’

NQS

2.2.3 Management, educators and staff are aware of their roles and responsibilities to identify and respond to every child at risk of abuse or neglect.

6.2.3. The service builds relationships and engages with its community

KIDS COLLEGE FAMILY

At Kids College Childcare we work each day embedding our values and philosophy into each facet of what we do. We continually improve our practices by critically reflecting and engaging in meaningful relationships with our community and for this we need your support and input.

Make sure to follow Kids College Childcare on facebook, watch for our regular emails and keep an eye on our Kids College website. Join our Kids College family community and share in our vision of creating the very best childcare where children experience love, laughter and learning every day. You can reach us on [email protected]

With love, laughter and learning from your friends in the 
‘village it takes to raise a child’
Teacher Jen and the Kids College Childcare family