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Psychological assessment requirements for employees of children's residential facilities

The legislative changes commencing on 22 October 2018 under section 107 of the Children and Young People (Safety) Act 2017 (CYPS Act) prohibit a person from being employed in licensed children's residential facilities unless they have undergone a psychological or psychometric assessment of a kind determined by the Department for Child Protection Chief Executive.

Section 110 of the CYPS Act prohibits a person from being employed in residential care facilities operated by DCP. This commenced in February 2018.

The kind of assessment required for the purposes of section 107 and 110A is detailed in the Chief Executive's determination (PDF 29KB)

The Children and Young People (Safety) Regulations 2017 allow a lead-in period from the date of commencement to undertake the requirements, subject to conditions prescribed at Regulation 31(3) and 34(3). 

What does the psychological assessment involve?

The assessment process includes psychometric assessment of the person and a one on one interview with a registered psychologist of at least 5 years' relevant experience. While the registered psychologist is not required to hold formal qualifications or registration in forensic psychology, relevant experience in forensic interviewing and reporting is required. 

The psychologist will produce a statement regarding the suitability of the person. 

See the Chief Executive's determination (PDF 29KB) for more details. 


Who will be able to provide the required psychological assessment?

The psychological assessment provider must be approved by the Chief Executive (DCP). Approved providers will be published on our website.

The approval process is aimed at ensuring consistency in the standard of assessments. The provider will be required to show evidence of how they will satisfy the standard of assessment prescribed, and ensure cultural considerations are embedded into their process.

Approval application information is currently available for Psychological assessment service providers (PDF 119KB)


What is the process for accessing or becoming an approved provider?

It will be up to each individual organisation to access and negotiate the terms for engagement of psychological assessment services with approved providers. Alternatively, an organisation may apply to become an approved provider. 


Are employees or prospective employees informed of the outcome of their assessment?

It is appropriate and necessary that employees and prospective employees are advised of the outcome of their assessment, as this will have sector-wide application and implications.

DCP may require that it be advised of basic information of each person assessed including assessment outcomes for the purposes of dissemination across the whole sector.

When establishing procedures for notification of assessment outcomes to existing and prospective employees it is advisable to have regard to appropriate support strategies, particularly in relation to communicating unsuitable outcomes.

If a person is assessed as unsuitable to be employed in a children's residential facility, they may not be able to undergo a further psychological assessment for employment in a children's residential facility for at least 12 months.


How will psychological assessments be financed?

There is no specific funding source for the psychological assessment process. DCP will work with each licensed children's residential facility provider to assess the impact of any costs associated with the introduction of psychological assessment requirements.

Contracted providers will be asked to report on any psychological assessment costs incurred as part of the existing quarterly contract acquittal processes. This cost will be required to be managed on a case by case basis, given the differing circumstances surrounding each provider's contractual arrangements with the department.

Further information will be provided to all contracted providers to outline how the quarterly process will be managed.


Legislation Implementation Team

Email: DCP.Legislation [at] sa.gov.au