Keeping children safe in out of school hours care. Perceptions of staff and managers of one provider in Sydney, Australia

Hadley, Fay and Waniganayake, Manjula and Mevawalla, Zinnia and Jones, Catherine and Blythin, Suzanne and Beauchamp, Diana (2020) Keeping children safe in out of school hours care. Perceptions of staff and managers of one provider in Sydney, Australia. Child Abuse Review. ISSN 0952-9136 (In Press)

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    Abstract

    This study explored perceptions of child abuse and child protection matters involving staff working in the Out of School Hours Care (OSHC) sector. Quantitative and qualitative data were collected through an online survey, focus groups and interviews with staff and managers employed by one organisation that provided OSHC services in Sydney, Australia. This paper reports on their perceptions about implementing mandatory reporting requirements associated with the concepts of 'significant harm' and 'reportable conduct'. The aim of this paper is to engage OSHC stakeholders, including Government, in reviewing child protection policies and practices to support educators in their work with children. Key findings indicate the inadequacy of available training, and the importance of relationships and communication between stakeholders, especially OSHC and school staff. This requires systemic change including raising the status of OSHC and the critical role these educators have in supporting children’s development, learning and wellbeing during the early years of school.