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Implement the safety plan with supervisors

Note

The term ‘supervisor’ is used throughout the below table to refer to parents, carers and safety and support network members who have a supervisory role in safety planning.

Practice considerations

Conversation ideas

Talk to supervisors about risk factors that may impact on their capacity to supervise the child with SRB. Talk about ‘what-ifs’ and find solutions with the family for times when things may not go according to the safety plan. This includes the mental health issues and alcohol and other drug use of supervisors.

Continue to revisit these risk factors as the family circumstances change or more information becomes available.

Assess the supervisor’s capacity to supervise the child with SRB. The supervisor should be able to demonstrate:

  • that they are not fearful of the child (with SRB)
  • times when they have appropriately disciplined their children when they have broken family rules or done something wrong or harmful
  • how they plan to respond to times when the child (with SRB) does not follow the safety plan.

“How do you cope with stress [or diagnosed mental health issue]? What do you do? What does your partner do when you are having a hard time? What do the kids do?”

“When do you generally drink and how much? How does your medication affect you?”

“When do you think supervision might be tricky? What might be going on then? Who can you call on during those times?”

“Are there times when you are scared of [child with SRB]? What is happening during those times? What do you do? What do the other children do?”

“If you were to walk into [child with SRB] room and find him watching pornography on his phone, what would you do? What do you think is a good response to that type of behaviour?”

“It can be very hurtful when a child breaks the rules, but it can happen. Who could you call on for support if this type of thing happens?”

Assess the supervisor’s ability to implement the safety plan.

Can the supervisor:

  • understand the concept of the safety plan
  • identify times when they have followed the safety plan
  • describe the daily routine of the child (with SRB) and other children in the home
  • identify times when there is access or opportunity for the harmful behaviours to occur
  • describe how the child (with SRB) will be supervised outside the home (school, sporting activities, sleepovers)
  • describe how they will manage times when they are not able to supervise the child (with SRB) at home. For example, times when they are not in the room with the child (with SRB) or times when they are asleep
  • identify signs that the child is distressed
  • identify signs the safety plan is not being followed and establish a protocol around what will happen when this occurs.

“What are some of your family rules?

Can you think of any rules that need to be added to the safety plan to keep [child] safe?”

“Are there times of the day when [child with SRB] is most likely to be alone with [child]? What do you think needs to happen to make sure [child with SRB] is not alone with [child] during those times?”

“When will it be difficult to supervise [child with SRB]? What can you do to keep [child] safe during those times? What about when you are asleep / in the shower?”

“What things might you notice that tell you [child] is worried or feeling scared again? What would you do?”

Supervision of children with sexually reactive behaviours at school and childcare

Collaborate with the child’s school or day care when safety planning. Work to implement a safety plan that:

  • includes supervision considerations that address bullying, toileting and nudity
  • ensures the child (with SRB) does not have access to children alone or the opportunity to sexually abuse other children
  • is specific to the age and circumstances of the child (with SRB).

Wherever possible, work with the child and family and come to an agreement about what information will be shared. It can be helpful to identify a ‘primary supervisor’ at the school or childcare who can support the child (with SRB) and the school to implement the safety plan. This person will need to know everything about the sexually reactive behaviour.

Conversation ideas for safety planning:

  • Bullying behaviour
    • Has (the school) observed the child (with SRB) bully other children or be bullied by other children?
    • How is this behaviour managed?
  • Supervision in the playground
    • How are children supervised in the playground?
    • Are there places in the playground that are less visible to teachers?
    • Are children always in the direct line of sight of a teacher?
  • Supervision of toileting
    • When do children go to the toilet?
    • Are children supervised when they go to the toilet?
    • Do children go to the toilet together?
  • Special events where children may be expected to be naked, shower or toilet together, for example, swimming carnivals or school camps
    • Are there some events where children might change clothes in the same room together?

Attention

Provide clear messages about the need for a child’s social connection and the fact that many children with SRB do not continue to harm other children. With robust safety plan, children can continue at school or day care safely. Ensure everyone is using language that respectfully describes the SRB and does not stigmatise the child.

Supervision of children with sexually reactive behaviours in residential care

Much of the guidance about how to supervise the child (with SRB) in the home can be adapted for the residential care environment. Work closely with the residential care service to understand their house rules and how these rules may need to be adapted to make sure the child (with SRB) and other children in the placement are safe.

Placement in residential care means that the child (with SRB) will have multiple supervisors / parental figures. These workers may have different values and experiences of children with SRB which can impact on their understanding of the behaviour and their beliefs around supervision.

Attention

All workers who are responsible for supervision of children in the home need to know everything about the sexually reactive behaviour and to have access to a practitioner with expertise if they have any questions.

Each person should also be assessed and have the characteristics of an effective primary supervisor as previously detailed in this part. Give workers information about the child’s strengths, interests and abilities, and ensure a continued focus on staff supporting the child (with SRB) to form safe relationships with other children and adults in the residential care facility.

Supervision of children in residential care:

  • Is the residential care placement suitable?
  • Is the organisation a child safe organisation?
  • Can the child be supervised effectively? Review the guidelines for implementing supervision previously discussed in this part.
  • Will the placement put other children at risk?
  • Will the placement put the child (with SRB) at risk?
  • What are the characteristics of other children in the placement? Are there children who have been victims of sexual abuse? Are there other children who have sexually reactive behaviour?
  • Do any children in the placement have behaviours that could be triggering for the child? For example, bullying or sexually reactive behaviours?

Managing ongoing communication:

  • Is the service a genuine member of safety and support network meetings and plans?
  • How will the service be informed of any new information about the child’s sexually reactive behaviour?
  • How will the service make sure that new or on call staff members are effective supervisors?
  • How will the service be informed of times when the child may need extra support and supervision, for example, difficult therapy sessions, difficult contact sessions, or conflicts at school?
  • How will the service keep child safety staff and other network members informed of the child’s progress in the placement? For example, updates when the child is distressed, developing friendships, managing their behaviour after contact, or therapy?

Maintaining the child’s positive connections

  • Can the child remain at school / engaged with sporting or community groups while in the care arrangement? If not, are there opportunities for the child to spend time with peers and supportive adults from their community? How can we make sure this contact is safe for the child and others?
  • How can the service support positive connections for the child?
  • How will contact with family be managed? Will the child be able to call their parents / siblings / extended family members? How often will contact occur? Where will it occur? Will it be supervised? By whom?

Working towards permanency

  • What do we need to see for the child / parents / siblings for reunification to occur, if that is the case plan goal? What are the timeframes for reunification?
  • How is the child’s relational permanency being nurtured and maintained, regardless of whether reunification is the goal?
  • How will we work together to achieve the greatest chance of success in therapy?

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