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Screening Unit

Frequently asked questions

Why make a different check for working or volunteering with children?

The working with children check is being introduced to help keep children safe in our communities. The change is part of the Government of South Australia’s response to recommendations in the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and the South Australian Child Protection Systems Royal Commission (also known as the Nyland Report).

Is this check different from the DSCI/DHS child-related employment screening?

The current DCSI/DHS child-related screening will be replaced by the working with children check from 1 July 2019. People with existing DCSI/DHS child-related screenings can continue to use those checks until they expire, to ensure a smooth transition to the new system. Once expired, they will need to have the new working with children check.

Is this check different from a police check?

Yes. A police check is a point in time summary of your Australian criminal history and includes national convictions and certain types of spent convictions. A working with children check is more detailed and includes:
  • national convictions – withdrawn, spent, non-convictions
  • national charges – pending, withdrawn, dismissed, acquitted
  • information from South Australian government agencies related to care concerns and investigations.

If you already have a current check, do you have to get a new one?

It depends on the sort of check you have.

If you have a current, valid DHS/DCSI child-related employment screening, you can keep using it until it expires. After 1 July 2019, you can apply for a new working with children check (up to six months before your current screening expires).

If you have a National Police Certificate assessed by your organisation and use it to work or volunteer with children, you have until 1 July 2020 to get a new working with children check. If you are a sole trader, working in partnership, contractor, or self-employed, a National Police Certificate is not a valid check for working with children. You can either apply for a DHS child-related employment screening before 1 July 2019 or wait until 1 July 2019 to apply for a new working with children check.

Emergency services workers (such as SAMFS, SASES, SACFS and SAAS) have until 1 July 2022 to get a new working with children check.

If you have a professional registration and work with children, you must get a new working with children check before you renew your current professional registration, or as your current child-related employment screening expires, whichever comes first. This includes:

  • teachers
  • health practitioners
  • passenger transport services workers
  • approved foster parents or people licenced as a foster carer agency.

If you don't have a current check, can you still work or volunteer with children from 1 July 2019?

If you do not have a current check, you can’t legally work or volunteer with children from 1 July 2019 until you have a valid check.

Your options are:

  • talk to your organisation about applying for a DHS child-related employment screening before 1 July 2019
  • wait until 1 July 2019 to apply for a new working with children check yourself.

While you are waiting for the DHS Screening Unit to complete your check and tell you the result, you are not legally allowed to work or volunteer with children.

What if you don't want to get a check?

According to the laws, from 1 July 2019 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.

Do you need a working with children check to take care of your own children?

The check does not apply to parents or guardians caring for their own children. It only applies to people who want to work or volunteer with children.

From what age do you need a check?

The working with children check applies to people aged 14 and over.

What identification do you need to get a working with children check?

To complete an application, you need to provide 100 points of identification. The most common way to do this is to provide your Australian drivers licence and a current Australian passport, an Australian birth certificate, or an Australian citizenship certificate.

How much does the new check cost?

The cost of a working with children check will be available closer to 1 July 2019. The current DHS child-related employment screening is $107.80. Working with children checks for volunteers will continue to be free. Find out more about fees and how to pay for a check.

How long does it take to get a check?

Currently, most screening applications are finalised within three weeks. It can take longer if there is a lot of background information to assess or the information is complex. The DHS Screening Unit recommends allowing at least six weeks to process an application. Find out more about the check process.

If you manage or work in a business that employs children, does everyone working there need a working with children check?

If you are working in the same capacity as a child (for example, supermarket checkout workers or fast food servers), you don't need a working with children check.

You also don’t need a working with children check if you’re employing or supervising people under 18 in a workplace, unless the work is child-related. See the main working with children checks page for more information on what constitutes child-related work.

What if you have a screening as part of your job and want to volunteer with your child at school?

You don’t need a working with children check if you are a parent or guardian volunteering with your own child at school and do not have close personal contact with other children, or participate in an organised overnight event (for example, school camp). However, if you have a working with children check as part of your paid employment, you may also use it for any volunteering with children.

Can parents or grandparents volunteer at their child's school without a working with children check?

You don’t need a working with children check if you are a parent or guardian volunteering with your own child (for example, at school) and do not have close personal contact with other children, or participate in an organised overnight event (such as a school camp).

Do sports coaches need one if they mainly coach people over 18, but sometimes have junior players in the team?

Yes, if it is reasonably foreseeable that someone will work or volunteer with children more than seven days in a calendar year, including as a sports coach, they need a working with children check. Working with children checks are free for volunteers.

People who are only playing on the same team as the person under 18 do not need a working with children check.

Do you need a check to volunteer at your local sporting club?

Yes, unless you volunteer less than seven days per year in the role. Working with children checks are free for volunteers.

Do people doing work experience need a working with children check?

If the job involves working with children, and the person doing work experience doesn't meet any of the exemptions (for example, they are under the age of 14 or are working with children for less than seven days in a year), they will need a working with children check. Secondary students doing work experience as part of their study can use a volunteering check. Tertiary students may be eligible for a discounted rate – see fees and payments for more information.

If you have a check for volunteering, can you use it for paid work?

If you have a working with children check for volunteering and start paid work that also needs a working with children check, you will need to upgrade your current check. You need to apply for a new working with children check online within 28 days of starting the paid work. You only need to do this if the paid work with children will be for more than seven days in a calendar year.

The Screening Unit will do a completely new risk assessment and issue a new outcome. The check will be valid for five years.

Before you start your application, check with your organisation if they are paying for the new check or if it is your responsibility.

Five years is a long time to be 'cleared' to work with children. What if someone gets a check then does something wrong?

Although a working with children check is valid for five years, it is continuously monitored by the DHS Screening Unit. If new information about a person means they pose a risk to children's safety, their check will be re-assessed and, if necessary, they will be prohibited from working with children. The DHS Screening Unit will inform both the person affected and any organisations they're linked to about the change in status.

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/frequently-asked-questions
Last Updated:
05 Jul 2018
Printed on:
20 Aug 2019
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