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 (2021) Keeping children safe in out of school hours care. Perceptions of staff and managers of one provider in Sydney, Australia. Child Abuse Review, 30 (4). pp. 318-331. ISSN 0952-9136

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    Abstract

    This study explores 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 group 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 that these educators have in supporting children's development, learning and wellbeing during the early years of school. Key Practitioner Messages: It is important that leadership supports educators to engage in respectful partnerships with families and schools to ensure child protection, and thereby child wellbeing and learning outcomes Training in supporting children's safety and wellbeing in OSHC is critical. There is a need for a systems approach to OSHC services which places children's development, learning and wellbeing at the forefront of professional practice. ‘Explores perceptions of child abuse and child protection matters involving staff working in the out-of-school-hours care (OSHC) sector’.

    ORCID iDs

    Hadley, Fay, Waniganayake, Manjula, Mevawalla, Zinnia ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9590-1949, Jones, Catherine, Blythin, Suzanne and Beauchamp, Diana;