Working With Children Check

Working With Children Check

Working With Children Check

Anyone working or volunteering in child related work in Australia must obtain a working with children check. They must get a police criminal history and background check to ensure that person is cleared to work with children. The check ensures that people who pose an unacceptable risk to children will not obtain access to children in a working or volunteer role.

Find out more about working with children, the application process, where to apply, and what documents are required.

Let’s take a closer look.

What Is Working With Children Check?

Children are vulnerable members of our society and must be protected. Therefore, a screening process is in place to protect children, particularly when they are in situations where they are not cared for by their parents. The working with children check prevents anyone from commencing child related work, either in a paid or volunteer role, if their records indicate that they pose an unacceptable risk.

A working with children check will show an employer or business a person’s eligibility to work with children. Any person who works or volunteers with children under 18 must obtain a working with children check (WWCC) to assess their background information. The WWCC ensures that a person must be verified online via a National Police Check before being permitted to work or volunteer with the children. The check will reveal pending and non conviction charges, criminal history, child protection information, and all disciplinary records.

Working with children checks may be required for employees or volunteers at schools, child care centres, community groups, sports clubs, churches and other organisations. The check can be particularly beneficial to help childcare and employers verify and make the right decisions during recruitment. The assessment affects pre employment decisions and can ultimately determine whether you are employable. 

The WWC check is an ongoing assessment, and the Office of the Children’s Guardian can notify an employer if a worker becomes barred.

Each state has their process, and depending on where you live, a WWCC may be referred to differently. In Queensland, for example, the WWC check is called a “Blue Card”; in the Australian Capital Territory, it is called “Working With Vulnerable People registration”.

Businesses or venues such as sport clubs can be fined and reported to the police if they are non compliant with their WWC requirements.

How Do You Apply?

You must go through an authorised government screening unit to obtain a working with children check. You can apply online through the Office of the Children’s Guardian website; once the application form is complete, you must visit a NSW motor registry or service centre to present your original identification documents for verification and pay the appropriate fee.

The application process is precise and relevant to the state or territory where you reside; if you commence work in a different state, you must reapply, even if you have previously been approved in another state.

You will receive an email reminder 3 months before the WWC check expiry date and a link to renew your clearance.

What Identification Documents Do You Need?

When applying for your working with children check, you need to provide the following documents:

Personal Details

  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Full name

Four proof of identity documents 

One commencement of identity document 

This may include a full Australian birth certificate, passport or current identity certificate.

One primary use in the community document 

This may include a current Australian driver’s licence, an international passport including an Australian visa, or current proof of age photo identity card.

Two secondary use in the community documents 

This may include a current Medicare card, Australian government benefit card or Australian University academic transcript.

All must be original documents, not laminated or copies, current, and at least one must have a photo ID.

All identity documents must have the same name; if any of your papers have a different name (e.g. maiden name), you must show proof of a name change (e.g. marriage certificate).

The application process can differ depending on which state or territory you reside in; check online in your state for more details.

How Long Does It Take?

The results of a National Police Check can take up to four weeks, but generally, people will receive their working with children check within a few days.

The application process can take longer to complete if the application form was filled incorrectly, their name is common, and matching workplace records takes longer or if there is current police or disciplinary information to be considered.

Once a WWCC is approved, it will be valid for five years. You will receive a WWC number you must provide for verification once you commence work. If you are in paid employment, you should have a paid WWC number, but if the role is voluntary, you will receive a volunteer WWC number. Your employer can verify your WWC number online, and it is crucial to check your WCC status if your situation changes.

Are There Any Costs Involved?

Costs for a WWCC vary from state to state; in New South Wales, a paid working with children check currently costs $80; for volunteer, professional placement or student roles, no costs are involved. 

When Do You Need A Working With Children Check?

If you are over 18 and work directly with children or in a child related field, you will require a working with children check. The type of work where you may need the check for clearance can include; child development, family welfare services, child counselling, children’s health, childhood education, and child care.

There are some exceptions when you do not require a WWC check, such as:

  • A parent or close relative volunteering at your child’s school
  • A parent or relative volunteering at your child’s sporting event
  • An umpire, referee or grounds person at a sporting event if it doesn’t involve contact with children
  • Volunteers in a school canteen
  • People under 18 years

Summary

If you are a volunteer or paid worker in child related employment, you are legally required to obtain a working with children check before you can commence work. The WWC check prevents anyone from starting child related work, either in a paid or volunteer role, if their records indicate that they pose an unacceptable risk. The WWCC ensures that anyone must be verified online via a National Police Check before being permitted to work or volunteer with the children. The check will reveal pending and non conviction charges, a person’s criminal history, child protection information, and all disciplinary records.

To apply for a working with children check, you must go through an authorised NSW government screening unit and visit a NSW motor registry or service centre to present your original identification documents for verification.

Each state has their process, and depending on where you live, a WWCC may be referred to differently. In Queensland, for example, the WWC check is called a “Blue Card”; in the Australian Capital Territory, it is called “Working With Vulnerable People registration”.

Children are vulnerable members of our community and must be protected, and the working with children check is an ongoing assessment that helps ensure our children’s safety and wellbeing.

FAQs

How Long Does Working With Children Check Take In NSW?

The results of a National Police Check can take up to four weeks, but generally, people will receive their working with children check within a few days.

The application can take longer if the form was completed incorrectly, their name is common, and matching workplace records takes longer or if there is current police or disciplinary information to be considered.

Once a WWCC is approved, it will be valid for five years. You will receive a WWC number you must provide for verification once you commence work.

How To Apply For NSW Working With Children Check?

You must go through an authorised government screening unit to obtain a working with children check. You can apply online through the Office of the Children’s Guardian website; once the application form has been completed, you must visit a NSW motor registry or service centre to present your original identification documents for verification and pay the appropriate fee.

How Much Does A WWCC Cost In NSW?

Costs for a WWCC vary from state to state; in New South Wales, a paid working with children check currently costs $80; for volunteer, professional placement or student roles, no costs are involved.

Simon Fletcher is the Principal Solicitor at FletchLaw. He has been admitted as a solicitor to the High Court of Australia and the Supreme Court of New South Wales. His academic qualifications include of a Bachelor of Laws, a Graduate Certificate in Professional Legal Practice and a Master of Applied Laws (Mediation and Family Law Dispute Resolution). He can offer assistance in a wide variety of legal areas.

Do you have a problem with Working With Children Checks or any other legal issue? Call us on 02 9159 9026 to find out how we can help.

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