This procedural guideline must be read in conjunction with Partnerships in Learning Policy Driver (Doc ID: TASED-4-1398), Home Visit Safety Checklist (below), Worker Safety Guidelines (Doc ID: TASED-4-1219), Support for Early Years Home Visits (Doc ID: TASED-4-1218) and the Risk Management Template (Doc ID: TASED-4-1781), which are locatable at http://www.education.tas.gov.au. While all home and non-school location visits should be respectful and mutually beneficial, the safety of Department of Education (DoE) personnel is a priority in all interventions where personnel enter private residences or meet with families on non-school premises. A home visit should not be conducted if there is a potential risk to DoE personnel safety. DoE personell include teachers, principles, support staff, aboriginal education workers, officers and early years liaison officers. DoE personnel conducting home visits should create a management plan that includes a risk assessment. This plan must be approved by the principle or relevant senior management staff prior to the visit. Should there be any uncertainty, DoE personnel may discuss the appropriateness of a home visit with the principle and/or relevant senior manager in the learning services.
Home visits should be conducted during work hours and DoE personnel engaged in visits should keep their mobile phone switched on and remain only in the general living areas of the house. Phone contact should be made 30 minutes after expected return. DoE personnel must ensure adherence to the State Public Service code of conduct (link: http://www.ossc.tas.gov.au/cd/05-2009.pdf (0)) and other relevant professional codes of ethics.
Home based visits can assist to build rapport with families, inform an holistic assessement of educational/student welfare issues and identify the need for referral to other services. When planning a home visit with a parent or carer, DoE personnel should ascertain basic preliminary information about the meeting place. For exmaple, asking questions such as: Who will be home at the time of the visit? Do you have any pets? Will you be expecting any visitors at this time? will allow DoE personnel to evaluate the safety of the environment and the appropriateness of the scheduled time of the home visit.
It is expected that DoE personnel be sensitive to available cultural background information in order to ensure home visits are mutually beneficial and respectful. Folllowing a home visit, if there is any indication that a young person may be at risk, child protection must be contacted.