Child protection

Section 31 of the Children and Young People (Safety) Act 2017 requires certain 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 Directive

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 2017 and 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:

Health Services Agreement for Children and Young People in Out of Home Care

This Agreement (PDF 672KB) reaffirms the commitment of SA Health and the Department for Child Protection (DCP) to provide priority access and improved responses to the health needs of children and young people in care.

SA Health and DCP will provide health assessments and referrals for eligible children and young people in accordance with the National Clinical Assessment Framework for Children and Young People in Out-of-Home Care and the National Standards for Out of Home Care.

The Health Services Agreement an updated version of the Guardianship Health Standards, originally developed in 2007 and then updated in 2014.

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.

Australian and State/Territory Government  associated policies, directives and guidelines

South Australian Government associated policies, directives and guidelines

SA Health associated policies, directives and guidelines

SA Perinatal Practice Guidelines

Perinatal Guidelines that relate to child protection: