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About child safe environments

Children and young people have a right to be safe and protected at all times, including when accessing services in the community.

The Children and Young People (Safety) Act 2017 requires certain organisations to provide a child safe environment.

Organisations that do not take appropriate steps to protect children’s safety and wellbeing may be poorly equipped to manage and respond to risks that may arise regarding the safety and well-being of children accessing their services.

What are child safe environments?

Child safe environments are safe and friendly settings where children feel respected, valued and encouraged to reach their full potential.

Organisations providing child safe environments:

  • take a preventative, proactive and participatory stance on child protection issues
  • value and embrace the opinions and views of children and young people
  • assist children and young people to build skills that will assist them to participate in society
  • are  focused on the protection of children and young people and take action to protect them from harm
  • provide parents, guardians or carers with evidence of their child safe environments policies and procedures when requested.

Organisations that must provide child safe environments

You must provide child safe environments if you are a state authority or if your organisation provides services wholly or partly for children (under 18 years old) in one or more of these categories:

  • health
  • welfare
  • education
  • disability
  • sporting or recreational
  • religious or spiritual
  • childcare or residential 
  • cultural
  • entertainment or party.

Organisation in this context includes a wide range of bodies who work with children and young people, including businesses, services providers, sole traders and people working in partnerships and incorporated and unincorporated groups.

Legal Obligations

Your organisation should commit to promoting the safety, wellbeing and participation of children and young people, this should be firmly embedded through your organisation’s culture.

This commitment should be reflected in the child safe environments policies and procedures and understood and practiced across all levels of the organisation. 

Organisations must:

  • Prepare or adopt policies and procedures that:
    • support mandatory notifiers to report and respond to children and young people at risk of harm as outlined in the mandatory notification page
    • ensure safe environments for children and young people are maintained
  • meet relevant history information obligations relevant to the organisation type
  • lodge a child safe environments compliance statement with the Department for Education.

Review, update and refine

Child safe environments policies and procedures should be reviewed regularly. Where an organisation expands the services they offer to children and young people, undergoes a substantial change to the responsible or managing authority or experiences an event or incident where children or young people were, or could have been at risk of harm, the policies and procedures should be reviewed and updated as required.

The Children and Young People (Safety) Act 2017 requires that at a minimum organisations must review policies and procedures (and if they make any changes re-lodge a compliance statement) at least once in every 5 year period.



Child safe environments

Phone: 8463 6468
Email: educationchildsafe [at] sa.gov.au