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CFA as a child safe organisation
All children have the right to feel safe and be protected from sexual, physical and emotional abuse. Victorian law requires organisations that work with children to meet specific Child Safe Standards by 1 January 2017.
CFA is committed to meeting the Child Safe Standards and to an ongoing process to ensure we maintain best practice as a child safe oganisation.
CFA is currently involved with children and young people through a range of programs and activities. The Junior Volunteer Development Program has about 1,800 young people aged 11-15 years in over 250 Junior Brigades across Victoria. In addition, young people aged 16 or 17 areSenior Members in many brigades. Staff and volunteers may also come into contact with children through programs such as Fire Safe Kids, Fire Safe Youth and the Juvenile Fire Awareness Intervention Program (JFAIP), as well as activities such as community and family events.
CFA has been proactive in implementing safeguards and procedures to ensure the safety and well-being of children and young people participating in its programs. For example, resources and guidelines have been produced to support the CFA Child Protection Policy, and assist members undertaking child-related work to meet their obligations under the Working with Children Act.
To ensure CFA further improves its approach to child safety, the CFA Board has endorsed a comprehensive set of actions:
- A new CFA Child Safety Policy will be produced for consultation across the organisation and with key stakeholders early in 2017
- The Executive Director, People and Culture, has been assigned a new role as CFA Child Safety Officer, with responsibility to support members meet the requirements for child safety
- A new Child Safety Action Plan and Code of Conduct will be developed and circulated for comment
- Clear guidance will be developed to assist members report and respond to circumstances where it is suspected that a child has been harmed or may be at risk of harm
- New procedures for children or parents wishing to raise child safety concerns will be developed
- Systems will be put in place to assist members involved in child-related work to meet their legal requirements to have an up-to-date Working with Children Check card
- The Child Safety Officer will co-ordinate the delivery of training for members on child safety matters
- CFA Executive and Board will have greater oversight of child safety issues through improved reporting and inclusion of child safety within the Enterprise Risk Framework.
I strongly encourage all members to familiarise themselves with the Child Safe Standards, and participate in the consultation processes and training on child safety that will be taking place from early in 2017.
Chief Executive Officer
For more information, visit the Commission for Children and Young People website.