Working with children checks

Working with children checks

Making the decision to put your child in a child care can be a stressful time. As well as the emotional trauma of having to leave your little one all day, you may worry about them getting ill, feeling lonely or one of a hundred other concerns experienced by parents facing the prospect of leaving their child in a centre or with a nanny, au pair or babysitter for the first time.

Knowing you are leaving your child safe in the hands of qualified professionals should help ease your concerns. Working with children checks are now mandatory in most States and Territories in Australia, and these checks are working to provide a safer environment for children in child care.

Refer to the table below for an overview of the checks available in each State or Territory and to find out which agency oversees the checking process.

Remember that child care workers need to fulfil the checking and clearance requirements of the state they are working in as there are no checks required on a national basis.

State/TerritoryLegal Requirements
Australian Capital TerritoryUnder new rules in the ACT, people who work with children and vulnerable adults must register with a Statutory Screening Unit. Under the Working with Vulnerable People (Background Checking) Bill 2010 it is expected that all employees and volunteers who provide regulated services to children will be checked in the first year of the new law's operation. For more information click here.
New South WalesThe NSW Office of the Children's Guardian is responsible for conducting Working With Children Checks to determine whether a person is suitable to work in child related employment.

A Working With Children Check is mandatory for anyone who works with kids and involves a national criminal history check and a review of findings of workplace misconduct.

A person who successfully passes a Working With Children Check receives clearance to work with children for five years, or a bar from working with children. People who pass are also subject to ongoing monitoring and new recorded may lead to the clearance being revoked.

The check is portable which means people who are cleared can work in any paid or unpaid child related work in NSW as long as they remain cleared.

For more information click here.
Northern TerritoryIn the NT the law has recently changed and from 1 March 2011 it will be mandatory for people who have contact or potential contact with children to hold a Working with Children Clearance Notice and an Ochre Card.

SAFE NT administers the clearance procedure which involves an employment and criminal history check. People who have previously had a Criminal History Check to work with children will still be required to apply for the Working with Children Clearance if they work certain specified areas of employment.

For more information on the requirements visit or contact SAFE NT on 1800 SAFENT (1800 723 368).
QueenslandIn Queensland people working or volunteering with children need to hold a Blue Card.

The purpose of the blue card system is to contribute to the creation of safe and supportive environments for children and young people when receiving services and participating in activities which are essential to their development and wellbeing, such as child care, education, sport, and cultural activities. For more information on how the Blue Card works in QLD click here.
South AustraliaUnder the Children's Protection Act people in SA who work in jobs which require regular contact with children are required to obtain child related employment screening.

For more information on the screening and background checks required go to the Department for Communities and Social Inclusion website.
TasmaniaWorking with Children Registration

Under laws which took effect in Tasmania in 2014, people who work in the early childhood sector are now required to apply for a working with children registration before they start working in an early childhood setting.
VictoriaThe Victorian Government has introduced the Working with Children Check, which is compulsory for people who wish to work with or volunteer with children.

The check seeks to protect children from harm by requiring people to undertake a criminal history check before they start work in an organisation.
Western AustraliaIn Western Australia a Working with Children Check is compulsory for people who carry out child-related work in Western Australia.

The check aims to protect children by deterring people from working with children when they have criminal records that indicate they may harm children; and by preventing people with such records from gaining positions of trust in paid and voluntary work with children.

Remember that many organisations have internal policies which require employees to undergo background checks as it protects both the children and the organisation from future problems. It is worth asking about these checking policies and procedures when you start hunting for a child care centre for your child or with the agency you have engaged.

This child care article was last updated on Monday, 5 June 2017

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