To assist residential care workers to develop practice that promotes discussion about sexual health issues with children.
To provide residential care workers with guidelines about providing information to children about sexual health and access to contraception.
Communities does not condone sexual relationships involving children under the age of consent (16 years of age), however young people living in out of home care are at high risk of early sexual initiation, risky sexual behaviours, and early pregnancy.
To lay the foundations for healthy sexual development and healthy relationships it is important to have age, developmentally and culturally appropriate discussions with children about sexual health from a young age.
This includes age, developmentally and culturally appropriate discussions about:
Case managers must ensure information about contraception and risks of sexually transmitted infections (safe sex) is provided and support the child to take steps to prevent unplanned pregnancy. It is recognised that talking about sexual issues with a child is a sensitive matter and is best undertaken by someone who has a trusting relationship with the child. In consultation with the case manager it may be decided that a residential care worker may be the most appropriate person to do so.
If a residential worker becomes aware that a child is, or is considering, becoming sexually active, it must be discussed with the child's case manager and documented how the child has been provided with information about the potential implications of being sexually active. Where possible and appropriate, (with the approval of the case manager and in collaboration with the case manager), residential care workers should take steps to protect the child from harm or to minimise the potential for harm by: