Wellington Public School logo

Wellington Public School

Wellington Public School

Where every child is known, valued and cared for.

Telephone02 6845 4080


Protecting and Supporting Children and Young People Procedure


All educators, staff, students and volunteers are committed to identifying possible risk and significant risk of harm to children and young people at WPS Preschool.  We comprehend our duty of care responsibilities to protect children from all types of abuse, and adhere to our legislative obligations at all times. 

We aim to implement effective strategies to assist in ensuring the safety and wellbeing of all children.  The staff at WPS Preschool will perform proficiently and act in the best interest of the child, assisting them to develop to their full potential in a secure and caring environment.


Legislative Requirements

            Education & Care Services National Law

            Education & Care Services National Regulations 2011

            Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998

Crimes Act 1900

Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998.

Other relevant legislation:

Privacy And Personal Information Protection Act 1998

Health Records And Information Privacy Act 2002

Commission for Children and Young People Act 1998

Ombudsman Act 1974

Education Act 1990

Links to the National Quality Standard

            Quality Area 2: Children’s Health & Safety

                        Standard 2.2: Safety




Who is affected by this Procedure?

This procedure applies to children, families, educators, staff, students, volunteers and visitors at Wellington Public School Preschool.



Please refer to the Department of Education’s policy & procedures using the link below:



Responding to child protection concerns

Responsibilities of staff

All staff must inform the Principal or delegated authority when they have reasonable grounds to suspect any risk of harm to a child or young person that arises from or during the course of their work. The staff member should provide relevant information to assist the Principal in decision making.

A child can be considered to be “at risk of significant harm” if current concerns exist for the safety, welfare and wellbeing of the child or young person because of the presence, to a significant extent, of one or more of the following circumstances:

a)   Basic physical or psychological needs are not being met;

b)   Parent or carer has not arranged, or is unable or unwilling to arrange for a child to receive necessary medical care;

c)   The child has been, or is at risk of being, physically or sexually abused or ill-treated.

d)   The child is living in a household where there have been incidents of domestic violence, and as a consequence, the child is at risk of serious or psychological harm;

e)   The parent or carer has behaved in such a way towards the child that the child has suffered or is at risk of suffering serious psychological harm;

f)     In the case of attendance- the parent or carer is unable or unwilling to arrange for the child to attend school.

If you are concerned about the safety or wellbeing of a child it is important to discuss your concerns with your Stage Leader, the Deputy Principal or Principal. 

If a staff member believes that the principal or workplace manager has not reported concerns of suspected risk of significant harm to the Child Protection Helpline (Family & Community Services), and the staff member still has concerns about suspected risk of significant harm the staff member must make a report to the Child Protection Helpline on 132 111.

Working with other agencies

Staff are required to take reasonable steps to coordinate decision making and the delivery of services to effectively meet responsibilities in relation to the safety, welfare or wellbeing of children. (“Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act, 1998.

Class teachers have a responsibility to liaise with agencies when necessary. Discuss any concerns or support needs with your stage leader, the DP or Principal.

This school has established networks with a number of agencies who assist us to support children’s welfare and wellbeing so they can access education. This support includes access to breakfast programs, support with attendance, lunches, clothing and other supports as required. These agencies include Mission Australia, Barnardos, Wellington Aboriginal Community Health Service (WACHS) and the Family Referral Service (FRS). A case worker for FRS works in our school each Friday.

Responsibilities of the Principal

The Principal through the executive will gather information from relevant sources including the staff member who raised the concerns.

The Mandatory Reporter Guide (MRG)

The MRG will assist the Principal in determining whether a report needs to be escalated to Family & Community Services. The MRG can be can be accessed from the following link:



Child Wellbeing Unit (CWU)

In some cases the MRG will suggest contacting the CWU. The role of the CWU is to advise, support and educate Principals about whether their concerns for the safety, welfare or wellbeing of children reach the threshold for making a mandatory report to the Child Protection Helpline in Community Services. The CWU can also support Principals to identify and implement local responses to support children where the suspected risk of significant harm threshold is not met.


Reporting suspected risk of significant harm

Principals and workplace managers must report concerns about suspected risk of harm directly to the FACS Child Protection Helpline in one of two ways:

  1. Phone 132 111 (TTY 1800 212 936), if the suspected risk of significant harm is imminent or high.
  2. Send an eReport if there is suspected risk of significant harm that is not imminent or high. Further information about the eReporting process can be found in their frequently asked questions or you can contact eReport Support on 1300 760 641 for technical support with eReporting.

A record of any reports made to the FACS Child Protection Helpline and any related documentation, including the MRG outcome report and written records of actions taken in following up the concerns must be kept in a confidential and secure location.


If you have urgent concerns for a child’s health or safety in the event of an emergency or life threatening situation - contact the police (and/or ambulance if required) immediately on “000”.


Our Service strongly opposes any type of abuse against a child and endorses high quality practices in relation to protecting children. To ensure best practice, all educators are required to complete Department of Education Child Protection training for Mandatory Reporters annually, which can be found on MYPL.

The School Principal/Responsible Person will ensure:

•     that all WPS Preschool employees and volunteers are:

-       Clear about their roles and responsibilities regarding child protection.

-       Aware of their requirements to immediately report cases where they believe a child is at risk of significant harm to the Child Protection Helpline.

-       Aware of the indicators showing a child may be at risk of harm or significant risk of harm

•     To provide training and development for all educators, staff and volunteers in child protection.

•     To provide Educators with a reporting procedure and professional standards to safeguard children and protect the integrity of Educators, staff and volunteers.

•     To validate a Working with Children Check for all Educators, staff and volunteers unless the person meets the criteria for exemption from a WWCC. See exemption factsheet at http://www.kidsguardian.nsw.gov.au/child-safe-organisations/working-with-childrencheck/apply

•     To provide access to relevant acts, regulations, standards and other resources to help Educators, staff and volunteers meet their obligations.

•     Records of abuse or suspected abuse are kept in line with our Privacy and Confidentiality Policy.

•     To notify the NSW Ombudsman within 30 days of becoming aware of any allegations and convictions for abuse or neglect of a child made against an employee or volunteer and ensure they are investigated and appropriate action taken.

•     To notify the Commission for Children and Young People of details of employees against whom relevant disciplinary proceedings have been completed or people whose employment has been rejected because of a risk identified in employment screening processes.

•     To notify the regulatory authority (within 7 days) of any incident where you reasonably believe that physical and/or sexual abuse of a child has occurred or is occurring while the child is being educated and cared for by the Service.

•     To notify the regulatory authority (within 7 days) of any allegation that sexual or physical abuse of a child has occurred or is occurring while the child is being educated and cared for by the Service.

Accusations against Educators

Accusations of abuse or suspected abuse against Educators, staff members, volunteers, the Nominated Supervisor or Approved Provider are treated in the same way as allegations against other people. Reports will be made to the Child Protection Helpline where a child is at risk of significant abuse by a person at the Service. If the Supervisor is involved in the abuse then the Approved Provider or most senior Educator will assist in notifying the Child Protection Helpline.

Educators and staff will:

•     Be able to recognise indicators of abuse

•     Respect what a child discloses, taking it seriously and follow up their concerns.

•     Allow children to be part of decision-making processes where appropriate.

•     Comprehend they are mandatory reporters under the legislation and report any situation where they believe on reasonable grounds a child is at risk of significant harm to the Child Protection Helpline on 132 111 (available 24 hours/7 days a week).

•     Be able to use the Mandatory Reporter Guide (MRG)which is available at https://reporter.childstory.nsw.gov.au/s/mrg

•     Be able to contact Child Wellbeing Units (CWUs) which also help mandatory reporters identify the level of risk to a child and whether to report the risk to the Child Protection Helpline.

•     Contact the police on 000 if there is an immediate danger to a child and intervene instantly if it is safe to do so.

•     Associate families with referral agencies where concerns of harm do not meet the threshold of significant harm. These services may be located through CWU (Child Wellbeing Units) or/and FRS (Family Referral Services) at http://www.keepthemsafe.nsw.gov.au. Family consent will be sought before making referrals.

•     Promote the welfare, safety and wellbeing of children at the Service.

•     Prepare precise records recording exactly what happened, conversations that took place and what you observed to contribute to the investigations of abuse or suspected abuse by the Child Protection Helpline or dealings with referral agencies.

•     Understand that allegations of abuse or suspected abuse against them are treated in the same way as allegations of abuse against other people.


Documenting a suspicion of harm

If Educators and staff have concerns about the safety of a child they will:

•     Record their concerns in a non-judgmental and accurate manner as soon as possible.

•     Record their own observations as well as precise details of any discussion with a parent (who may for example explain a noticeable mark on a child).

•     Not endeavor to conduct their own investigation.

•     Document as soon as possible so the details are accurately apprehended including:

- Time, date and place of the suspicion.

- Full details of the suspected abuse.

- Date of report and signature.

Documenting a disclosure

A disclosure of harm emerges when someone, including a child, tells you about harm that has happened or is likely to happen. When a child discloses that he or she has been abused, it is an opportunity for an adult to provide immediate support and comfort and to assist in protecting the child from the abuse. It is also a chance to help the child connect to professional services that can keep them safe, provide support and facilitate their recovery from trauma. Disclosure is about seeking support and your response can have a great impact on the child or young person's ability to seek further help and recover from the trauma.

When receiving a disclosure of harm the Service will:

•     Remain calm and find a private place to talk.

•     Not promise to keep a secret.

•     Tell the child/person they have done the right thing in revealing the information but that they’ll need to tell someone who can help keep the child safe.

•     Only ask enough questions to confirm the need to report the matter because probing questions could cause distress, confusion and interfere with any later enquiries.

•     Not attempt to conduct their own investigation or mediate an outcome between the parties involved.

•     Document as soon as possible so the details are accurately captured including:

o   Time, date and place of the disclosure

o   ‘Word for word‘, what happened and what was said, including anything they said and any actions that have been taken

o   Date of report and signature

Notifications of abuse

The person making a notification of abuse or suspected abuse will make a record of the answers to the following:

•     Give the child or young person your full attention.

•     Maintain a calm appearance.

•     Don't be afraid of saying the ‘wrong’ thing.

•     Reassure the child or young person it is right to tell.

•     Accept the child or young person will disclose only what is comfortable and recognise the bravery/strength of the child for talking about something that is difficult.

•     Let the child or young person take his or her time.

•     Let the child or young person use his or her own words.

•     Don't make promises you can't keep.

•     Tell the child or young person what you plan to do next.

•     Do not confront the perpetrator.


It is important that any notification remains confidential, as it is vitally important to remember that no confirmation of any allegation can be made until the matter is investigated. The individual who makes the complaint should not inform the person they have made the complaint about. This ensures the matter can be investigated without prior knowledge and contamination of evidence.

Protection for reporters

Reports made to Community Services are kept confidential. However, a law enforcement agency may access the identity of the reporter if this is needed in connection with the investigation of an alleged serious offence against a child. Under the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998 if the report is made in good faith:

•     The report will not breach standards of professional conduct.

•     The report can’t lead to defamation proceedings.

•     The report is not admissible in any proceedings as evidence against the person who made the report.

•     A person cannot be compelled by a court to provide the report or disclose its contents.

•     The identity of the person making the report is protected.


Appendix 1

The following has been taken directly from the “Protecting and supporting children and young people procedures”

Indicators of abuse and neglect

Risk of harm within the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998 relates to the impact of abuse and neglect on a child or young person.  The following indicators have been developed from research and clinical experience over recent decades.  One indicator in isolation may not imply abuse or neglect. Each indicator needs to be considered in the context of other indicators and the child’s or young person’s circumstances. The lists are not in hierarchical order.

Setting the context

The following factors in the life circumstances of the child or young person are relevant when considering indicators of abuse and neglect:

•     history of previous harm to the child or young person

·         social or geographic isolation of the child, young person or family, including lack of access to extended family or supports

•     abuse or neglect of a sibling family history of violence including injury to children and young people

•     domestic or dating violence.

Issues for the parent or caregiver affecting their ability to care for the child or young person:

•     the parent or carer’s abuse of alcohol or other drugs affecting their ability to care for the child or young person or arrange for their education

•     a deficiency in functional parenting skills required to provide for the safety, welfare and well-being of children and young people

•     the parent or caregiver is experiencing significant problems in managing the child or young person’s behaviour or their engagement with any educational options

•     the parent or caregiver has unrealistic expectations of age appropriate behaviour in the child or young person

•     the parent is experiencing significant problems in relating to the young person.

General indicators of abuse or neglect in children and young people:

•     where the child or young person gives some indication that the injury or event did not occur as stated

•     where the child or young person tells you she/he has been abuse

•     when the child or young person tells you she /he knows someone who has been abused, may be referring to herself/himself

•     someone else tells you such as a relative, friend, acquaintance or sibling of the child or young person that the child or young person may have been abuse

•     poor concentration

•     sleeping problems,  e.g. nightmares, bed wetting

•     marked changes in behaviour or mood, escalation in risk-taking behaviours, tantrums, aggressiveness, withdrawal

•     child or young person complains of stomach aches and headaches with no physical findings

•     unrealistic expectations of a young person including failure to allow the young person to participate in decisions that affect them or expecting adult behaviours.

General indicators of abuse or neglect in young people:

•     self harming behaviour such as cutting or burning self

•     high level of risk taking behaviours such as climbing up cliff faces while intoxicated

•     substance abuse

•     involvement in criminal activities such as stealing and fighting

•     social isolation

•     difficulty in maintaining long term peer relationships

•     persistently negative themes in art work and creative writing

•     homelessness.

Indicators of neglect

Indicators in children and young people:

•     poor standards of hygiene leading to social isolation

•     scavenging or stealing food

•     extended stays at school, public places, other homes

•     being focused on basic survival

•     extreme longing for adult affection

•     flat and superficial way of relating, lacking of a sense of genuine interaction

•     anxiety about being dropped or abandoned

•     self comforting behaviour, e.g. rocking, sucking

•     non-organic failure to thrive

•     delay in developmental milestones

•     loss of “skin bloom”

•     poor hair texture

•     untreated physical problems

Indicators in young people:

•     staying at the homes of friends and acquaintances for prolonged periods, rather than at home

•     resources are not provided which would allow the young person to care adequately for himself or herself, e.g. access to washing or food

•     exposure to serious risks through non-attendance at school e.g. crime, anti- social behaviour, drug and alcohol abuse.

Indicators in parents or carers:

•     failure to provide adequate food, shelter, clothing, medical attention, hygienic home conditions or leaving the child or young person inappropriately without supervision

•     inability to respond emotionally to a child or young person

•     child or young person left alone for long periods

•     keeping a child or young person at home from school to care for others

•     depriving of or withholding physical contact or stimulation for prolonged periods

•     failure to provide psychological nurturing

•     one child or young person treated differently, for example, scapegoated

•     absence of social support from relatives, other adults or social networks.

Indicators of physical abuse or ill treatment

Indicators in children and young people:

•     facial head and neck bruising

•     lacerations and welts from excessive discipline or physical restraint

•     explanation offered by the child or young person is not consistent with the injury

•     other bruising and marks which may show the shape of the object that caused it e.g. a hand-print, buckle

•     bite marks and scratches where the bruise may show a print of teeth and experts can determine whether or not it is an adult bite

•     multiple injuries or bruises

•     ingestion of poisonous substances, alcohol, drugs, or major trauma

•     dislocations, sprains, twisting

•     fractures of bones, especially in children under 3 years

•     burns and scalds

•     head injuries where the child or young person may have indicators of drowsiness, vomiting, fits or retinal haemorrhages suggesting the possibility of the child having been shaken.

General indicators of female genital mutilation (FGM) that could include:

•     having a special operation associated with celebrations

•     reluctance to be involved in sport or other physical activities when previously interested

•     difficulties with toileting or menstruation

•     anxiety about forthcoming school holidays or a trip to a country which practises FGM

•     older siblings worried about their sisters visiting their country of origin

•     long periods of sickness.

Indicators in young people:

•     aggressive or violent behaviour towards others, particularly younger children

•     explosive temper that is out of proportion to precipitating event

•     being constantly on guard around adults and cowering at sudden movements.

Indicators in parents or caregiver:

•     direct admissions by parents or carers that they fear they may injure the child or young person

•     family history of violence, including previous harm to children and young people

•     history of their own maltreatment as a child or young person

•     repeated presentations of the child or young person to health or other services with injuries, ingestions or with minor complaints

•     marked delay between injury and presentation for medical assistance

•     history of injury which is inconsistent with the physical findings

•     history of injury which is vague, bizarre or variable.

Indicators of psychological harm

Indicators in children and young people:

•     feelings of worthlessness about life and themselves

•     inability to value others

•     lack of trust in people and expectations

•     lack of interpersonal skills necessary for adequate functioning

•     extreme attention seeking or risk taking behaviour

•     other behavioural disorders, e.g. disruptiveness, aggressiveness, bullying.

Indicators in young people:

•     avoiding all adults

•     being obsessively obsequious to adults

•     difficulty in maintaining long term significant relationships

•     being highly self critical.

•     Children and young people sustain psychological harm from all types of abuse.

Indicators in parents or carers:

•     constant criticism, belittling, teasing of a child or young person, or ignoring or withholding praise and affection

•     excessive or unreasonable demands

•     persistent hostility and severe verbal abuse, rejection and scapegoating

•     belief that a particular child or young person is bad or evil

•     using inappropriate physical or social isolation as punishment

•     situations where an adult’s behaviour harms a child’s or young person’s safety, welfare and well-being

•     exposure to domestic violence.

Indicators of sexual abuse or ill treatment

Indicators in children and young people:

•     describe sexual acts e.g. Daddy hurts my wee wee

•     direct or indirect disclosures

•     age inappropriate behaviour and/or persistent sexual behaviour

•     self-destructive behaviour, drug dependence, suicide attempts, self-mutilation

•     persistent running away from home

•     going to bed fully clothed

•     regression in developmental achievements in younger children

•     child or young person being in contact with a known or suspected perpetrator of sexual assault

•     unexplained accumulation of money and gifts

•     bleeding from the vagina or external genitalia or anus

•     injuries such as tears or bruising to the genitalia, anus or perineal region

•     sexually transmitted diseases

•     adolescent pregnancy

•     trauma to the breast, buttocks, lower abdomen or thighs.

Indicators in young people:

•     particularly negative reactions to adults of only one sex

•     sexually provocative

•     desexualisation, e.g. wearing baggy clothes in order to disguise gender. Eating disorders may be a possible indicator in this category

•     art work or creative writing with obsessively sexual themes

•     preoccupation with causing harm to men they suspect are homosexual

•     engaging in violent sexual acts and talking about these acts

•     knowledge about practices and locations which are usually associated with prostitution.

General indicators of child or young person’s stress should be considered such as:

•     poor concentration at school

•     sleeping/bedtime problems e.g. nightmares bed-wetting

•     marked changes in behaviour or mood, tantrums, aggressiveness, withdrawal

•     child complains of stomach aches and headaches with no physical findings.

Indicators in parents, carers, siblings, relatives, acquaintances or strangers:

•     exposing a child or young person to prostitution or child pornography or using a child or young person for pornographic purposes

•     intentional exposure of child or young person to sexual behaviour in others

•     ever committed/been suspected of child sexual abuse

•     inappropriate curtailing, or jealousy regarding age appropriate development of independence from the family

•     coercing child or young person to engage in sexual behaviour with other children and young people

•     verbal threats of sexual abuse

•     denial of adolescent’s pregnancy by family

•     perpetration of spouse abuse or physical child abuse.

Offenders use a range of tactics including force, threats and tricks to engage children or young people in sexual contact and to try to silence the child or young person. They may also try to gain the trust and friendship of parents in order to obtain access to children and young people.

Related Policies/Procedures



This procedure will be reviewed annually.  Review will be conducted by School Principal, Preschool Staff, parents/carers and any interested parties.