Committing to providing child friendly and child safe environments for children and young people is not merely something that is ‘nice to do’. It is a requirement under international conventions that are embedded in State Legislation. This means organisations in South Australia that deliver services to children and young people must develop child safe policies and procedures that staff in their organisations are required to implement on a daily basis.
But what does it take to be an organisation that is child friendly and child safe, and what do these environments look like?
A key focus of being more child safe is to ensure that the interests of children and young people are placed front and centre in organisational culture. This involves encouraging decision-makers to
actively engage children and young people as stakeholders in their decision-making activities, facilitating opportunities for them to have greater input into issues and matters that affect them thereby ensuring they have a voice.
It seems logical that services aimed at children and young people should involve them in the planning, delivery, monitoring and evaluation phases of those services. In many service delivery areas, gathering feedback from adult users is now standard practice. We should afford children the same opportunities, and adults should not assume that they are experts in the contemporary world of children.