Information for staff of Licensed Children’s Services
The Act amends the Child Wellbeing and Safety Act 2005 and Children’s Services Act 1996, raising minimum standards and reducing the risk of harm to children being cared for in the absence of their parents. The provisions in the Act have now commenced.
The inclusion of harm in section 26 is new. Harm to a child may include, but is not limited to, serious incidents which could lead to trauma, injury requiring the attention of a medical practitioner or death. Taking precautions to protect children from harm in this context includes precautions against harm arising in educational and care settings from physical, sexual, emotional or psychological abuse and neglect.
- Failure to take every reasonable precaution to protect a child in your care from hazards or harm attracts a fine to a maximum of 120 penalty units.
- Disciplining a child in a way which is unreasonable in the circumstances attracts a fine up to a maximum of 120 penalty units.
- Inadequate supervision of a child in your care attracts a fine up to a maximum of 120 penalty units.
The Act strengthens and clarifies the powers of the regulator and allows for Children’s Services Advisors to ask questions and obtain information from past or present staff members about serious incidents. Evidence may be required to be given on oath or affirmation.
- You will not be excused from answering a question on the grounds of self-incrimination, but what you say cannot be used against you except in proceedings under this new section.
- Failure to give information when requested, to the extent you are capable, attracts a fine up to a maximum of 120 penalty units.
- Knowingly giving false or misleading information attracts a fine up to a maximum of 120 penalty units.
Your employer has been provided with more detailed information about changes in the legislation. Further information can be obtained from:
Information sourced: Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, Victoria