Code of ethics for people working with children & young people in the NT: Our Kids, Safe + Strong

Code of ethics for working with children (NT) : By NAPCAN NT, NTCOSS, developed by Black Wattle Consulting, Illustrated by Kat Chadwick

On Children’s Day 9 Sept 2014 NAPCAN formally launched Our Kids Safe and Strong, a code of ethics for people working with children and young people in the Northern Territory.  Black Wattle Consulting is proud to have played a key role in this project and congratulates NAPCAN on its vision and drive in promoting this project. There has been a powerful response from all NT stakeholders to the newly launched Code. It is an empowering workforce development resource for services across the NT working with children and young people.

The Code of Ethics words are beautiful, aspirational and a wonderful reflection of NAPCAN’s goal to prevent harm by valuing children, and of all the many  informants who contributed their ideas. The A3 code of ethics poster is a delight for any childsafe service to show, use and celebrate.  It is accompanied by an A4 size Worker Commitment document – where a new employee and the employer jointly sign the Code of Ethics, agreeing to abide by its principles. Agencies can modify this Worker Commitment document and use their own names and logos.

This project has been driven by Lesley Taylor, NT Manager, NAPCAN, researched and written by Black Wattle Consulting and illustrated by Kay Chadwick, signed in partnership with NAPCAN, NTCOSS (Northern Territory Council of Social Services) and SAF,T (the former NT peak agency for Aboriginal children and families).  With SAF,T closing in 2013, SNAICC has token its place.  As the project developed, the NT Department of Children and Families and the Minister has endorsed the Code of Ethics.

The poster will soon be available from the NAPCAN website or email the NT branch of NAPCAN.

Background to development of the code of ethics for people working with children and young people in the Northern Territory.

This Code of Ethics initiative arose from the recommendations of the NAPCAN Child Safe Organisation project (2011), where  over 20 key NT child and youth organisations consulted expressed their commitment to, and recommendations for, promoting the safety and well being of our children. One  recommendation was to develop a code of ethics for people working with children and young people in the Northern Territory,  a document that would be a memorable and inspirational code written in plain English, and owned by key stakeholders in the sector. Therefore, in 2011 the Northern Territory branch of NAPCAN (National Association for Prevention of Children Abuse and Neglect ) asked Black Wattle Consulting to develop this draft code of ethics.

Black Wattle Consulting developed the Code of Conduct based around:

  • Consideration of the following codes of ethics and codes of conduct:
    • The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child 1990
    • The Code of Ethics for Aboriginal Health Worker 1981 (Northern Territory)
    • The Hippocratic Oath
    • The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples 2007.
  • Consideration of:
    • the difference between a code of conduct and a code of ethics
    • characteristics required to meet the particular circumstances of NT organisations
    • additional polices to strengthen compliance with the codes  of ethics.
    • recommendations of the NAPCAN Child Safe Organisation project and NAPCAN, NTCOSS,  SAF,T and Departmental staff.
Workers and employers  statement of commitment to the code of ethics

Workers and employers statement of commitment to the code of ethics

The code reads:

A code of ethics for people working with children and young people in the Northern Territory

This code of ethics is for people to talk about and commit to in our work with children – to inspire us to achieve the highest possible standards. This document will grow and change over the coming years.

Following the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, this code defines a child as any person under the age of 18.

I believe working with children is a universal responsibility and privilege.

      1. I believe working with children is a universal responsibility and privilege. I commit whole-heartedly to caring for all children according to their needs. I will not discriminate for or against any child due to family, friendships, language or skin group, ethnicity, cultural background, gender, sexuality, religion or disability.
      2. I will never knowingly harm a child physically or emotionally. I will never behave in a sexual way towards or in the presence of a child, and shall protect them from sexually inappropriate material.
      3. I commit to being polite and respectful talking with and around children, and will listen to their stories and ideas about their own care needs.
      4. I commit to respecting the many different ways of bringing up children. I will support families to make decisions about their children and keep them informed and involved in their child’s ongoing care.
      5. I will seek to keep children connected to family, community, language and culture in the interests of their well-being, to benefit them now and throughout their life.
      6. I will try to be a good role model for children and be my best self in their presence. I will promote the care and protection of children in my community and seek to be a role model for others in the way I live my life.
      7. I will be respectful towards my colleagues, seeking their guidance and offering my assistance. I will respect my teachers, leaders and Elders, and will be open to a lot more learning.
      8. I commit to respecting the privacy and dignity of children and their families and will keep a high level of confidentiality in relation to information shared with me.
      9. I will put the best interests of children ahead of the interests or reputation of others, including my own family, friends, community members and people in authority.
      10. I commit to upholding the law in relation to reporting child abuse and neglect and will raise any concerns about the safety of children to an appropriate supervisor or legal authority. I will follow and promote the policies for the safety of children as required by my organisation.

The poster will be available from the NAPCAN website.

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