Working With Children Checks and Police Checks are different types of pre-employment screening programs which ensure child-safe working environments in Australia. Pre-employment screening of adults and Volunteers who come in contact with children is mandatory and legislated for across most states and territories in Australia. However there is no national framework setting out the requirements for obtaining a Working With Children Check (or Police Checks) - and each state and territory has their own procedures and requirements.
This checklist aims to create workplaces where children are safe and protected, and where the people who work with children are appropriately screened.
Under the Children's Protection Act (Section 8B) people in SA who work in jobs which require regular contact with children are required to obtain police clearance before they commence employment.
In QLD, VIC, WA and NT Working With Children certification (valid for different periods of time in each state) is provided to work in child-related areas. The system is structured so that if a criminal offence is committed whilst the check is valid employers are contacted by the administering authority and can withdraw the certification.
In TAS there is no specific legislation (as yet) requiring specific screening for working with children, however employers often act on their own discretion to request Criminal History/Police Checks.
The following website has useful information into the new legsilation regarding working with vulnerable groups (which includes working with children).
In contrast to Police Checks a Working With Children Check is designed to be carried from organisation to organisation and a new screening process is not required each time an individual starts a new position.
Each state and territory has different legislation and time periods for which the check is valid, and varied procedures for renewal.
Further information about who must undergo child safety screening, and also the detailed requirements of each state and territory can be found at the Australian Institute of Family Studies - National Child Protection Clearinghouse.
Where individuals wish to enter employment in specific occupations (such as teachers, doctors, nurses, child-care workers) there is legislation in all states and territories which require screening for criminal offences as part of the professional registration process.
When screening for professional registration is required these individuals do not have to seek Working With Children Checks.
There is further information about how to get a Working With Children Check (or pre-employment/child safe screening programmes) with detailed information on each state and territory requirements at the Australian Institute of Family Studies - National Child Protection Clearinghouse.
*Note that every effort has been made to ensure the most current and accurate information on police checks and working with children checks, however legislation and requirements can change. National Crime Check recommends you approach your local police station for up-to-the-minute accuracy on the topics above. This article is current at November 2011.