Better protection for children through new screening laws to come into effect from July 1

07.02.2019
Better Services

New stronger, nationally consistent screening laws for people wanting to work or volunteer with children in South Australia are set to come into effect from July 1 2019.

The new Working With Children Check (WWCC) means that anyone working with children will require a check by law. The checks will be valid for five years, will be transferable between jobs and will align South Australia with new national standards.

Professions requiring a Department of Human Services WWCC check for the first time include:

• Preschool, primary school and secondary school educators

• Ministers of religion

• Healthcare workers

• Emergency services personnel

• Children’s party entertainers

“The State Government’s new mandatory Working With Children Checks puts the safety of children front and centre, as they should be,” said Minister Lensink.

“The new laws are being introduced in response to recommendations from both Federal and South Australian Royal Commissions, to help better protect children in our communities.”

When parliament resumes next week, the Liberal Government will immediately move to amend the Child Safety (Prohibited Persons) Act 2016 so that it aligns with the National Standards for WWCC and allow information about prohibited persons to be shared across State and Commonwealth jurisdictions.

“South Australia leads the way in child-related screening and our system will continue to exceed the new national standards, as we are the only state regularly monitoring child protection information,” said Minister Lensink.

From July 1, individuals will be able to apply for a WWCC themselves, instead of the current system where only an employer or volunteer organisation can initiate a screening request.

“This allows people looking to enter child-related work industries to be work-ready,” said Minister Lensink.

The new laws replace the current system where people can have a number of different clearances, such as a national police check.

The WWCC will replace all other types of child-related screening checks and there will be a 12-month transitional process in moving to the new scheme.

“The Liberal Government recognises that implementing such a big change requires some flexibility, which is why we are proposing a transition period for people affected by the new requirements,” said Minister Lensink.

“People who hold a current, valid DHS child-related employment screening on July 1 will be recognised as having a valid WWCC until their current screening expires.”

Other groups who will need a WWCC for the first time will also have arrangements in place to support their transition into the scheme.

“For most people, this means that no immediate action will be required,” said Minister Lensink.

“Over the coming months, the Department of Human Services will work closely with communities and industry groups to provide more detailed information about individual circumstances and what the new laws mean for them.

“This further reduces the risk of harm to children through regular monitoring over the fiveyear period of a Working With Children Check.”

The current cost of the check remains $107.80 and $59.40 for students.

The new NDIS Worker Screening check will also come into effect from July 1. The check creates nationally-consistent screening and monitoring for employees of registered NDIS providers, to help protect people with disability.

Visit www.screening.sa.gov.au/WWCC for more information or subscribe to the DHS Screening Unit newsletter by emailing wwcc@sa.gov.au

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