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New working with children checks from 1 July

Friday, May 31, 2019

Stronger, more effective and transparent screening laws for people working or volunteering with children come into effect on 1 July 2019 – working with children checks.

From 1 July 2019 any person who works or volunteers with children in South Australia must have a working with children check. This includes:

  • foster carers, kinship carers and respite carers
  • adult household members and regular guests of a carer household
  • volunteers
  • foster care agencies
  • child protection workers
  • prospective adoptive parents.

Key points

  • Working with children checks replace all other types of child-related employment screening checks.
  • If you have a current, valid child-related employment screening, you can keep using it until it expires (even if this is after 1 July 2019).
  • If your screening will expire within the next 6 months, you should apply for a new clearance now. 
  • Working with children checks will be valid for 5 years, as opposed to current screenings which are valid for 3 years.
  • The Department of Human Services Screening Unit is the only service that can do a working with children check.

These new laws are important to help keep children safe, and align with recommendations from both the Child Protection Systems Royal Commission (SA) and the federal Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Find out more on the Department of Human Services website.

Foster care agencies

The new laws mean that it will be an offence to employ a person or volunteer for a child-related role who doesn’t have a working with children check.

If you are aware of carers or staff with clearances that will expire within 6 months, please begin the screening process immediately via the Department of Human Services website.

  • Applications that are processed by the Department of Human Services before 1 July 2019 will still be a child-related employment screening (valid for 3 three years).
  • Applications that are processed after 1 July 2019 will be a new working with children check (valid for 5 years).

If you have any problems, please contact your contract manager.

Note: from 1 July 2019, carers and staff will need to apply for their own working with children check through the Department for Human Services website.

Carers

If you have a valid child-related employment screening, you can continue to use this until it expires (even if this is after 1 July 2019).

If your current clearance expires within the next 6 months, or you’re unsure whether you have a valid clearance, please contact your foster care agency or DCP carer support worker as a matter of urgency. You do not need to pay for the clearance.

Image showing the process for cars to make sure they have a valid working with children check

From 1 July 2019, you will need to apply for your own working with children check through the Department for Human Services website. Until then your application must go through your foster care agency or DCP carer support worker. You should start the renewal process 6 months before your current clearance expires.

  • Applications that are processed by the Department of Human Services before 1 July 2019 will still be a child-related employment screening (valid for 3 years).
  • Applications that are processed after 1 July 2019 will be a new working with children check (valid for 5 years).

What happens if I don’t have a valid clearance on 1 July 2019?

If your clearance lapses and is not renewed by 1 July 2019 (or if you are identified as a prohibited person), you can no longer perform your carer role. In these situations the Department for Child Protection must take action to ensure the safety of the child or young person in your care.

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