Working with children checks are designed to keep children safe. They are a prevention system designed to catch anyone who would pose a risk to the safety children, in either paid or volunteer work. If you’re planning to work in childcare you’ll likely have to complete a working with children check or a police check before you commence work. In many cases, volunteers and those completing work experience or vocational placements will also need to complete a check. In most cases, it a check for professional work costs money, whereas volunteers and students get a discounted or free check.
There is currently no national standard of checks for working with children, but many states and territories have implemented their own checks for childcare workers. These checks vary slightly between different states and territories but all are designed to help determine whether you are suited to work in childcare and other child related employment. Some states only have a normal police check, while others do a more in depth and specific working with children check.
If you’re moving state, don’t forget to get to complete a new check! In most cases, these checks are only valid in the state they’re issued.
Working with Children Checks in Australia
New South Wales
NSW has a Work With Children Check. It is administered by the NSW Commission for Children and Young People.
- Workers and volunteers need to apply for their own check once every five years
- Employers will need to verify the childcare worker’s or volunteer’s clearance number
- People who have a clearance will continue to be monitored for serious sexual or violent offences
- The same Working With Children Check applies to everyone.
For more information & application forms: NSW Working with Children Check
The Victorian Government has introduced a working with children check. It is compulsory for people working or volunteering with children. Starting in July 2013, the check can be completed online and completed at Australia Post. An employee card costs around $100, volunteer checks are free.
For more information & application forms: Victoria Working with Children Check
The Queensland Government runs a working with children check which gives you a ‘blue card’ if you’re successful. The blue card costs around $75 if you’re doing paid work with children, and is free for volunteers. The check is valid for 3 years and you’ll be monitored for legal changes to your situation that influence your blue card status.
For more information & application forms: Queensland Blue Card
South Australia requires you to obtain a police check – ‘National Police Certificate’ – before you commence employment working with children.
For more information & application forms: SA National Police Certificate
Western Australia does have an official working with children check which is compulsory for people in child related work (including volunteering). The check is valid for 3 years and is different from a National Police Check. It costs $53.00 if you’re an employee or self-employed, and $10.30 for volunteers, unpaid people and students.
For more information & application forms: West Australian Working with Children Check
Tasmania does not have a legal working with children check requirement at the moment. If you’re applying for paid or volunteer work with children, be aware that organisations may have their own policies in place.
There have been recommendations and discussion of proposals to introduce screening procedures but they have not yet resulted in an official policy.
Australian Capital Territory
The Australian Capital Territory requires people who work with children and/or vulnerable adults to register with the Office of Regulatory Services. Registration is free for volunteers and costs around $70 for people doing paid work.
For more information & application forms: ACT Registration for Working with Vulnerable People
People who have contact or potential contact with children are required to hold a Working With Children Clearance Notice. When you’re issued with the Notice, you’ll also receive an ‘Ochre Card’ as proof that can be carried with you. The clearance costs $5 for volunteers and $52 for employees.
For more information & application forms: Northern Territory Ochre Card
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