Commonwealth Child Safe Framework

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (Royal Commission) examined what makes an organisation child safe.  The Royal Commission highlighted the need to provide an environment in which children and young people are safe, protected and respected, and where staff have the skills, confidence and knowledge to safeguard children.

In response, the Australian Government has introduced the Commonwealth Child Safe Framework (the Framework), a whole-of-government policy that sets minimum standards for creating and embedding a child safe culture and practice in Commonwealth entities.

Requirements of the Framework

The Framework comprises three core requirements. Together, these set out the minimum standards for Commonwealth entities to protect children.

The Framework applies to all non-corporate Commonwealth entities. It is recommended for application to corporate Commonwealth entities and wholly owned Commonwealth companies. Accountable Authorities of Commonwealth entities are responsible for the implementation of the Framework within their entity.

Under the Framework, Commonwealth entities are required to:

Core requirements under the Framework for Commonwealth entities

Requirement 1 Requirement 2 Requirement 3
Undertake risk assessments annually in relation to activities of each entity, to identify the level of responsibility for, and contact with, children and young people, evaluate the risk of harm or abuse, and put in place appropriate strategies to manage identified risks. Establish and maintain a system of training and compliance, to make staff aware of, and compliant with, the Framework and relevant legislation, including Working with Children Checks and mandatory reporting requirements. Adopt and implement the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations within 12 months of the Council of Australian Governments endorsement (COAG approved the National Principles on 1 February 2019).

Entities should develop their own internal child safe policies, consistent with the requirements above, taking into account agency specific risks (identified in their annual risk assessments). It is recommended that the Accountable Authority assure themselves on an annual basis, that the requirements of the Framework are being met within their agency.

Application to Commonwealth funded third parties

To increase the reach of the Commonwealth’s commitment to child safety, Commonwealth entities should put in place measures to promote the protection of children in services and activities they fund.

It is recommended that where appropriate entities impose, through written agreements, child safety requirements, consistent with the Framework, on any individuals or organisations they fund to provide services directly to children, or for activities that involve contact with children that is a usual part of, and more than incidental to the funded activity. This includes but is not limited to funding arrangements such as grants and procurements.

Child safety clauses have been drafted for use in the Commonwealth Simple and Standard Grant Agreement templates, through optional Supplementary Conditions.  Clauses are also available for use in the Commonwealth ClauseBank for procurement.

Framework Resources

The National Office has developed a range of guidance material to support Commonwealth entities to implement the Framework. These materials are:

Resource Description Downloads
Commonwealth Child Safe Framework The Australian Government policy that sets minimum standards for creating and embedding a child safe culture and practice in Commonwealth entities. PDF / Word
What is the CCSF? An overview of the scope and purpose of the Framework. PDF / Word
What might implementation look like? Practical guidance on what actions agencies might need to take to implement the Framework. PDF / Word
Frequently Asked Questions This document answers questions about imposing child safety requirements on individuals or organisations that are funded by the Commonwealth to deliver activities that involve children. PDF / Word
Implementation Self-Assessment This checklist is an indicator of progress towards implementation of the Framework or assessing current practices for child safety. PDF / Word

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