Section 31 of the Children and Young People (Safety) Act 2017 requirescertain health clinicians and health workers to report to the Department for Child Protection their suspicion that a child or young person is, or may be, at risk. Nevertheless SA Health supports all its employees reporting their reasonable suspicions that children or young people are, or may be, at risk. This recognises that everybody has a duty to keep children and young people safe from harm. Child abuse and neglect has immediate and lifelong impacts on health and wellbeing. SA Health has developed a number of policies and processes to meet its statutory obligations.
Child Protection - Mandatory Reporting of Suspicion that a Child or Young Person (0 to 18 years) is or may be at Risk of Harm Policy Directive
The Child Protection - Mandatory Notification of actual or suspected child abuse or neglect 0 to 18 years Policy Directive (PDF 274KB) aims to ensure a consistent approach to the mandatory reporting requirements under the Children and Young People (Safety) Act 2017 in respect of children or young people suspected to be at risk.
With the implementation of this Policy Directive, SA Health will ensure:
- reporting of all cases where it is reasonably suspected that a child or young person is or may be at risk;
- systems exist to assist staff to identify cases when children or young people are, or maybe, at risk;
- staff are aware of their legal obligations to report their suspicions that children or young people are, or maybe, at risk; and
- staff are knowledgeable about child protection.
Child Safe Environments Policy
The Child Safe Environments (Child Protection) Policy Directive (PDF 114KB) provides the overarching framework for protecting children from physical, sexual, emotional and psychological abuse and neglect, as well as promoting their health and wellbeing. The Child Safe Environments (Child Protection) Policy Directive fulfils SA Health’s obligations under sections 114 and 115 of the Children and Young People (Safety) Act 2017and outlines requirements for ensuring child safe environments for children and young people.
Collaborative Case Management of ‘At Risk’ Infants in Birthing Hospitals Policy Directive and Policy Guideline
The Collaborative Case Management of 'At Risk' Infants in Birthing Hospitals Policy Directive (PDF 371KB) aims to facilitate optimal outcomes for women with high and complex needs and their infants, through:
- Early intervention when psycho-social complexity and risk are identified in the ante-natal period
- Working in partnership to achieve the best outcomes for infants and families where there are child protection concerns; and
- Joint case management and collaboration between the staff of SA Health and the Department for Child Protection. This policy directive is to be read/administered in conjunction with the Collaborative Case Management of ‘At Risk’ Infants in Birthing Hospitals Policy Guideline (PDF 286KB).
Health Standards for Children and Young People under the Guardianship of the Chief Executive Policy Directive
The purpose of the Health Standards for Children and Young People under the Guardianship of the Minister Policy Directive (PDF 358KB) is to describe roles and best practice for SA Health and the Department for Child Protection in relation to:
- priority access to health services for eligible children
- health assessment
- ongoing health care planning, monitoring and review.
This Policy Directive is an updated version of the 2007 Health Standards developed collaboratively by SA Health and Families SA. The updated Health Standards address the National Standards for Out of Home Care, developed under the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children 2009-2020 and incorporate key elements of the National Clinical Assessment Framework.
Safe Sleeping Policy Directive and South Australian Safe Sleeping Standards
The purpose of the Safe Infant Sleeping Policy Directive (PDF 1MB) is to ensure all staff and volunteers, whose work brings them in contact with parents and caregivers with infants under 12 months of age, effectively promote and model safe infant sleep practices and environments consistent with the South Australian Safe Infant Sleeping Standards. The policy relates to staff in all facilities and settings. The policy ensures parents and caregivers receive consistent and accurate information and have the opportunity to observe recommended safe sleeping practices so that they can implement these on return to their home environment.
The South Australian Safe Infant Sleeping Standards (PDF 511KB) aim to ensure staff in all facilities (i.e. antenatal, birthing, postnatal, paediatric, child health, childcare, community and general practice settings) promote and model safe infant care practices and environments consistent with the Standards. They also aim to:
- ensure consistent and accurate information is given to parents/caregivers
- provide the opportunity for new parents and caregivers to observe recommended safe sleeping practices that take into consideration the needs of the baby and the family so that parents can implement these on return to their home environment; and
- support staff ongoing training and/or professional development activities to promote safe sleeping best-practices.
South Australian Public Health (Severe Domestic Squalor) Policy and Guideline
Severe domestic squalor in domestic premises can constitute a risk to public health under the South Australian Public Health Act 2011. The guidelines: A Foot in in the Door: Stepping towards solutions to resolve incidents of severe domestic squalor in South Australia (PDF 942KB) notes that children can be at severe risk of abuse and neglect in households where there is persistent and severe domestic squalor. This Public Health policy and the guidelines highlight the need to identify if any children in a household are at risk and to ensure children are seen and assessed independently. Depending on severity, a report to the Department for Child Protection Department may be required.
Associated policies, directives and guidelines
Australian and State/Territory Governments:
- Protecting Children is Everyone’s Business: National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children 2009–2020
- The National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010–2022.
South Australian Government:
- Charter of Rights for Children and Young People in Care. 2009 (Office for the Guardian of Children and Young People)
- Family Safety Framework and Authority to Disclose Information under the Family Safety Framework Policy Directive
- Information Sharing Guidelines for Promoting Safety and Wellbeing
- Multiagency Protection Service (MAPS)
- Rapid Response Framework: Whole of Government Services for Children and Young People under Care and Protection Orders — ensuring that children and young people under the guardianship of, or in the custody of the Chief Executive of the Department for Child Protection do not miss out on the supports and services available to other South Australian children.
- Criminal and Relevant History Screening Policy Directive (PDF 307KB)
- Employees Charged with Criminal Offences Directive (PDF 119KB)
- Performance Review and Development (PDF 90KB)
- Protective Security Policy
- Protocol Between the Child Death and Serious Injury Review Committee and the Department Of Health for the Purposes of the Release of Information from DH to the Child Death and Serious Injury Review Committee (CDSIRC)
- Reporting of Alleged Sexual Assault within a SA Health facility Directive
- Risk Management Policy (PDF 120KB)
- Security of child and adolescent patients in hospitals and health services
SA Perinatal Practice Guidelines
A number of Perinatal Guidelines relate to child protection, i.e.:
- Concealed or denied pregnancy - SA Perinatal Practice Guidelines (PDF 213KB)
- Distress after a traumatic birth experience (management of women with) - SA Perinatal Practice Guidelines (PDF 149KB)
- Eating disorders and pregnancy - SA Perinatal Practice Guidelines (PDF 143KB)
- Female genital mutilation - SA Perinatal Practice Guidelines (PDF 260KB)
- Infants of drug dependent women - SA Perinatal Practice Guidelines (PDF 777KB)
- Intent to harm fetus - SA Perinatal Practice Guidelines (PDF 197KB)
- Substance use in pregnancy - SA Perinatal Practice Guidelines (PDF 5MB)
- Women who decline blood transfusion — SA Perinatal Practice Guidelines (PDF 403KB)