National Child Protection Week: putting children first

6 September, 2020
Children engage in writing prayers of thanks and explore scripture about being thankful at a Catholic Early Learning Centre in the Diocese of Parramatta. Image: Catholic Diocese of Parramatta Services Limited.


This National Child Protection Week (6 to 12 September 2020), the Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta (CEDP) pledges commitment to listening to the voices of children and young people and remaining vigilant to their safety and wellbeing.

Relieving Executive Director Christine Howe, said National Child Protection Week reminds us that we all play a part in keeping children and young people safe wherever they live and learn.

“The 2020 National Child Protection Week theme, ‘Putting Children First’, is really at the forefront of what we do every day in Catholic education,” Christine said. “We are committed to the establishment and implementation of child-safe systems, policies and procedures.”

CEDP’s aim is to have in place practices that are proactive and preventative in nature, providing children and young people with an environment where they are safe and informed and where the adult community works with them towards making this happen.

To help us deliver on this commitment, CEDP is encouraging staff, religious leaders, parents and carers to support and participate in National Child Protection Week activities and access a variety of resources that will equip everyone with the skills needed to be ambassadors of child safety.

These include online safety education webinars for parents and teachers, offered in partnership with the eSafety Commissioner; NESA-accredited Safeguarding (Reportable Conduct) and Risk of Significant Harm (RoSH) mandatory annual training for CEDP staff; and the introduction of a new Code of Conduct When Working with Children and Students.

Lisa Samojlowicz, Principal of Our Lady of the Nativity Primary Lawson said her school will be participating in Australia’s Biggest Child Safety Lesson, which will be live streamed on Thursday 10 September as part of National Child Protection Week.

“Of course protecting our kids is our number one priority, so to get involved in Child Protection Week is a ‘no brainer!’ Lisa said. “And how do we protect our kids – we protect our kids by loving them and that means we must educate them. We have to be able to create a safe environment in which they know and have the confidence to recognise and also speak out when they are in unsafe situations. Australia’s Biggest Safety Lesson is a great way for us to join together as a nation to get the message to our kids that we have their backs and their safety and wellbeing is our priority right across Australia.”

St Canice’s Primary Katoomba is also taking part in the Lesson, with Principal Miriam Meaney saying: “Child protection is at the start and at the heart of what we do as educators at St Canice’s, Katoomba. For our children to reach their full potential as caring, compassionate people, committed to their learning, they must feel safe. They must see love and care in the school community. Our motto, Growth through Love and Learning applies to all. Our capacity to protect and love the children in our care, helping them to grow in love and reach their potential in learning, is modelled on Jesus’ loving protection of us.”

If you would like to find out more about National Child Protection Week, please visit the NAPCAN website.


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