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Screening Unit

Screening Unit
Screening Unit

New working with children checks

From 1 July 2019, people working or volunteering with children in South Australia must, by law, have a valid child-related clearance.

Do you have a current check?



Who needs a working with children check from 1 July 2019?

People need a working with children check if they are in a ‘prescribed position’. This means people who:

  • are in paid or volunteering roles where it is reasonably foreseeable that they will work with children
  • run or manage a business where the employees or volunteers work with children
  • are employed to provide preschool, primary or secondary education to a child.

A working with children check assesses whether a potential employee or volunteer could pose a risk to the safety of children, based on criminal history and child protection information.

Is your role affected?

Check the list below for examples of volunteer or paid roles and activities that would foreseeably have contact with children, and therefore require a working with children check. If your role type isn’t in this list and you are not sure if you need a working with children check, please contact us.

Accommodation and residential services for children

Accommodation and residential services for children

  • Overnight services provided to children that involve sleeping arrangements, e.g. excursions or camps, student exchanges/homestay hosts
  • Children's residential facility (you will need to apply for a new working with children check before your current child-related employment screening clearance expires or your licence to maintain a children's residential facility expires, whichever comes first)

Child protection services

Child protection services

  • Child protection workers
  • Foster carers (you will need to apply for a new working with children check before your current child-related employment screening clearance expires or the period of your approval as a carer expires, whichever comes first)
  • Foster care agencies (you will need to apply for a new working with children check before your current child-related employment screening clearance expires or the period of your licence as a foster care agency expires, whichever comes first)
  • Kinship carers
  • Long-term guardians
  • Adoptive parents

Childcare or child-minding services

Childcare or child-minding services

  • Centre-based long day care
  • Occasional care
  • Family day care
  • In-home care
  • Out-of-school-hours care
  • Babysitting or child-minding, arranged through an agency

Clubs and associations

Clubs and associations

If your club or association has significant membership of (or involvement by) children, the people delivering the services/activities need a working with children check. This may include:

  • Scouts and Guides
  • Sport and recreation clubs
  • Cultural or artistic schools/service providers (e.g. theatre, music, dance, arts and crafts)

Coaching or tuition services

Coaching or tuition services

  • Sport/recreation coaches
  • Cultural tuition (e.g. theatre, music, arts and crafts)
  • Academic tutors
  • Mentors
  • Any other coaching or tuition services being provided for children

Commercial services provided directly to children

Commercial services provided directly to children

  • Entertainment and party services
  • People who sell or supply goods or services to children where physical contact is expected to occur
  • Costumed characters/mascots likely to appeal to children (e.g. sports club mascots, brand/product mascots, Father Christmas, Easter Bunny)
  • Gym and play facilities for children
  • Photographers that work with children
  • Competitions for children (e.g. talent shows, beauty pageants)

Disability services

Disability services

  • Medical professionals
  • Allied health services
  • Transport services
  • Respite carers
  • Recreation providers

Education services

Education services

  • Playgroup
  • Kindergarten
  • Preschool
  • Schools
  • TAFE
  • Adult education services offering SACE subjects
  • Other institutions providing children’s study or training programs

If you are a registered teacher and have a current, valid DHS/DCSI child-related employment screening, you can use it until it expires. Then you will need to get a working with children check. Don't leave it until the last minute – you can apply to renew your current check up to six months before it expires.

You must have a valid check for working with children before you can renew your teacher registration.

The South Australian Department for Education also has requirements for people who work at government schools, preschools, child care centres, and other non-corporate entities under the department. Find out more at Department for Education relevant history screening, phone (08) 8226 0430 or email education.hrconfidential@sa.gov.au.

Emergency services who work with children

Emergency services who work with children

  • SA Ambulance workers and volunteers
  • SA Metropolitan Fire Service workers and volunteers
  • SA Country Fire Service workers and volunteers
  • SA State Emergency Service workers and volunteers
  • non-emergency ambulance service providers licenced under section 58 of the Health Care Act 2008

Emergency services workers and volunteers who work with children have until 1 July 2022 to get a working with children check.

Health services who work with children

Health services who work with children

  • Medical professionals
  • Allied health services
  • Counselling and support services
  • Paediatric wards in any kind of hospital or hospice

Registered health practitioners who work with children need to get a new working with children check before their current practitioner registration expires.

Justice and detention services

Justice and detention services

  • Youth remand, residential or justice centres
  • Supervision units
  • Probation services

Passenger transport services

Passenger transport services

  • School bus
  • Taxi services
  • Any publicly funded or commercial transport services specifically for children

Passenger transport workers need to get a new working with children check before their current transport worker accreditation expires.

Religious organisations

Religious organisations

  • Ministers of religion
  • Youth groups
  • Community programs (e.g. playgroup, music group)
  • Other services and activities provided by the organisation to children

Excluded people

You don’t need a working with children check if you:

  • work for SA Police or the Australian Federal Police
  • employ or supervise children in a workplace, unless the work is child-related (e.g. you manage a fast food restaurant that employs people under 18)
  • work in the same capacity as a child (e.g. you work at a checkout in a supermarket that also hires people under 18 in the same type of role)
  • don’t think you will work with children for more than seven days (consecutive or not) in a calendar year*
  • are a parent or guardian volunteering with your own child (e.g. at school) and do not have close personal contact with other children, or participate in an organised overnight event (e.g. a school camp)
  • live interstate, have a current child-related check from your home state, and are working at an organised event in South Australia lasting no more than 10 consecutive days
  • are under the age of 14.

*The seven day exclusion does not apply if you are involved in an overnight activity (e.g. school camp), or have close contact with children with disability

Apply for a check

If you don't have a current child-related employment clearance and need one before 1 July 2019, speak to your organisation about how to apply.

After 1 July 2019, you can apply for a new working with children check online yourself.

Child safety laws

The new, stronger laws for people working or volunteering with children were recommended as part of federal and South Australian royal commissions, and help keep children safe in our community.

The requirement to have a valid child-related clearance from 1 July 2019, such as a working with children check, is covered by the following legislation:

With the new laws:

  • only the South Australian DHS Screening Unit can do a working with children check (organisations can no longer do their own background screening of workers and volunteers)
  • some work-types that didn't require checks to work with children under the old laws now have to have a working with children check
  • individuals can do their own application for a new working with children check, which helps make people job-ready
  • new working with children checks are portable between roles and jobs across South Australia
  • the new working with children checks are valid for five years and are continuously monitored.

It is an offence to:

  • work or volunteer in a child-related role without a working with children check
  • work or volunteer in a child-related role if you are 'prohibited from working with children'
  • employ a person or volunteer for a child-related role who doesn’t have a valid working with children check, or is prohibited from working with children.

Offences carry fines of up to $120,000 and/or prison sentences.

Keep up-to-date

Subscribe to the DHS Screening Unit newsletter by emailing wwcc@sa.gov.au to stay up-to-date with changes.


Related information

State Government of South Australia © Copyright DHS [sm v5.4.7.1] .

Last updated:[06 Jun 2019 7:58am]

Provided by:
SA Department for Human Services
URL:
https://screening.sa.gov.au/types-of-check/new-working-with-children-checks
Last Updated:
05 Jul 2018
Printed on:
20 Jun 2019
The Screening Unit website is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia Licence. © Copyright 2016