The Y NSW celebrates Working with Children Week (20-26 June) and this year’s theme is Child-Focused Leadership which the Y embeds in everything we do.
Working with Children Week is a powerful opportunity for organisations to review how they place children first and raise awareness of key child safety provisions in NSW, including the Working with Children Check and the Child Safe Standards.
The Y is a leading child-safe organisation, and we embed safeguarding into everything we do to make sure children and young people are the focus in our programs and services.
“Safeguarding Children and Young People is the Y’s number one priority, and we do this through our safeguarding standards and policies and by hearing the voices of children and young people to make sure they inform child protection measures,” said Y NSW Acting Chief Executive Officer, Brooke Atkins.
“We believe in the power of inspired young people and our Y leaders are passionate and committed to the rights of children and young people to feel safe and be safe when participating in the Y’s activities.”
At the Y, child safety and child-focused leadership methods are embedded in our organisation to more than 10,000 children across Children’s Services (Outside School Hours Care), Youth and Community programs, Camping and Recreation Centres.
Our employees and volunteers in NSW and ACT have Working with Children clearance in NSW for volunteer and paid work and undergo robust recruitment and screening before working with children.
Placing children’s safety first is more than a number and through our quality programming we are committed to providing inclusive, safe, and enriching environments for children to create and participate and connect with families and the community. This commitment is backed by rigorous mandatory safeguarding training and education for our employees.
Across Y NSW services, our qualified employees regularly measure children’s experiences and capture their voice to design their programming, putting them at the centre of our child-focussed leadership methods.
“We would like to thank our passionate and professional Y NSW employees who commit every day to enriching the lives of young people through our programs, while making them feel safe and be safe throughout their journey at the Y.”
“Our educators continue to champion the Y NSW safeguarding culture across education, sports and the community,” Ms Atkins said.
The Y NSW has its own Licensing Standards based on the National Safeguarding Principals and we are independently reviewed against these by The Australian Childhood Foundation.
In 2020, the Y developed one of the first child safety models co-designed by children and young people across the country, with our Stay Safe, Tell Someone program under the Feel Safe, Be Safe Framework.
The program was the first to be developed through the eyes and voices of more than 500 children in Australia aged three to 18, who participated in face-to-face consultations and surveys.
It aims to ensure all children and young people are safe and feel safe at the Y, in their families and in their communities.
“As the leader of an organisation that puts Child Safeguarding at the heart of everything we do, I am so proud that the Y already leads the way on applying these standards,” Ms Atkins said.
“The Y goes above and beyond on child safeguarding and nationally we fund Y Safeguarding as a specific entity that focuses on child safeguarding consistently across Australia with our ‘Feel Safe, Be Safe Framework.’
Safeguarding is a responsibility the Y takes seriously, and Working with Children Week is a valuable opportunity to emphasise our commitment and share the work we do to make sure the safety of our young people always remains paramount.
The Y NSW creates strong connections with our communities, providing integrated wellbeing and youth services that reflect the desired opportunities and meet the diverse needs of our cities, regions, and towns. We work in 40 local communities across New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory, and our commitment embraces the ambitions, aspirations and needs of community members.
Every year, more than two million people visit Y NSW fitness and aquatic centres. We currently manage 62 Outside School Hours Care services and 27 recreation centres across New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory. Schools, community groups, friends and families have life-changing outdoor experiences at our two recreational camp facilities: Camp Yarramundi and the Sydney Olympic Park Lodge.