The Y WA recognised for safeguarding children through ACF independent audit
The Sector > Provider > The Y WA recognised for safeguarding children through ACF independent audit

The Y WA recognised for safeguarding children through ACF independent audit

by Freya Lucas

January 17, 2023

An independent audit undertaken by the Australian Childhood Foundation (ACF), into the Y WA’s Safeguarding Children And Young People Policy, has seen the policy being awarded the highest overall assessment of ‘Excellent’, demonstrating their unwavering commitment to safeguarding children and young people.


The Y WA was the first of the Y’s across Australia to be assessed under a new review framework. 


“For young people to be inspired, we know they need to feel safe and be safe,” said the Y WA’s CEO Dr Tim McDonald.


“The Y WA considers any form of child/young person abuse, inclusive of emotional, physical, sexual abuse or neglect, as intolerable under any circumstances and that the protection, supervision and safety of children and young people is paramount.”


To develop and maintain a culture where children and young people’s wellbeing is safeguarded the Y WA has developed a number of programs and services which advocate for children and young people to air their concerns.


For example, the Y East Cannington Early Learning Centre used Child Protection Week to educate 3–5-year-olds in their kindy program with an activity called ‘My Network’. Children were asked to create a piece of art reflecting what they would do if they felt unsafe, and who they would tell.


The children glued a picture of a person onto some paper and coloured it in. They were then encouraged to draw a line from the hands of the person up to the four circles above, naming the four people they would tell if someone hurt them or if they were in trouble, educator Sarah Mony explained. 


“Safeguarding is embedded in all our practices as well as teaching children about child protection and safety,” she continued. “We also teach them it is alright to say no if someone wants to give us a hug when we don’t want one.”


The Y WA also has high staff recruitment standards and expectations that all staff understand the process for reporting any concerns. Every employee undergoes annual safeguarding training and before employment must have a WWCC, Police Clearance and undergo an online safeguarding training course.


At the executive level, child protection is an ongoing priority, Dr McDonald continued. 


“Every meeting between Executives and Senior Leaders has safeguarding on the agenda. It is inherent in our DNA and these results clearly demonstrate that we are holding ourselves to a very high standard – and we are meeting those expectations.”


In the last year, the Y WA has worked with approximately 497,200 youth and children through their varying services including Early Learning Centres, Before and After School Care programs, Vacation Care, Health and Wellness facilities and Youth, Leisure and Community services.


Following WA’s audit, all other Y’s across the country will undergo a similar audit through the ACF. For more information about services offered by the Y, please see here

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