Over the past three years MercyCare has gone through the process of working to strengthen our approach to safeguard children and young people.
Our efforts to ensure we are an organisation with a culture of protecting and recognising the rights of children saw us attain independent Safeguarding Children Australia Accreditation.
“It is vital MercyCare provides a safe and welcoming place for children and young people who attend our services; whose voices are heard and listened to,” Executive Director of Community, Family and Children Services David Holden said.
“It is equally important that we embed a safeguarding culture in our entire workforce and volunteers. The education and awareness of the protection of children and young people is a community responsibility that our teams can take into their personal lives as well.”
Through the accreditation process, our operational framework was independently audited and we took on the task of training staff, reviewing and strengthening child protection policies and procedures and implementing protocols that promote the safe recruitment and supervision of staff and volunteers.
The entire process, carried out through the Australian Childhood Foundation, is not only evidence based but it is also the only accreditation scheme in Australia to have received endorsement by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
Despite the diverse services MercyCare offers, it was decided our entire organisation would commit to the voluntary process of accreditation. This decision was made as we understand the responsibility of ensuring the safety of children and young people is a community responsibility.
By committing to the task of not only accomplishing this accreditation but taking steps to ensure this safeguarding is an ongoing process within our organisation, we are working to ensure there are no excuses for the sort of behaviour that allows child abuse to go unchecked.
Our organisation officially became accredited under the Australian Childhood Foundation’s Safeguarding Children and Young People program in December 2019. MercyCare will undertake annual reviews and comprehensive audits every three years.
MercyCare is working to develop strategies to increase engagement and input of children and young people in our services and we are committed to creating a culture and environment where children and young people are safe and flourishing.
Read more about safeguarding children and young people at MercyCare here.