Background checks for people working with children

Employers of people in child-related employment, as defined in section 33 of the Commission for Children and Young People Act 1998, need to register with the relevant Approved Screening Agency which can carry out the required Working With Children Check.

These agencies include the Catholic Commission for Employment Relations, Department of Arts, Sport and Recreation, Department of Education and Training, Communities NSW (Commission of Children and Young People) and NSW Health.

The Prohibited Employment Declaration must be completed by all people before starting in child related employment.

The Working With Children Check is a check that an employer must have done before a person starts in primary child-related employment.

Primary child-related employment includes employment that primarily involves direct contact with children and young people, where that contact is not directly supervised by a person having the capacity to direct the person in the course of the employment.

Sections 33 and 37 of Commission for Children and Young People Act 1998 detail those covered by this requirement.

Included in the definition of primary child-related employment are foster carers and those engaged in paid child-related employment.

Legislative amendments commenced on 31 March 2010 which require additional categories of people to be background checked, including:

  •  students working for Community Services
  • Child Wellbeing Unit assessment officers
  • prescribed children’s services managers
  • principal officers of adoption service providers
  • certain contractors whose work involves direct unsupervised contact with children, and
  • volunteers mentoring disadvantaged children or providing intimate personal care to children with disabilities.

From 31 March 2010 Section 45 of the Commission for Children and Young People Act 1998 applies background checking provisions to adults who live with an authorised carer or children’s service provider on a regular basis of not less than three months.