Better protection for children through new screening laws
Stronger, nationally-consistent screening laws for people wanting to work or volunteer with children in South Australia are set to come into effect from 1 July 2019.
The new working with children check (WWCC) means that anyone working or volunteering 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 (DHS) 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 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.
From 1 July 2019, 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.
The new laws replace the current system where people can have a number of different clearances, such as a national police check.
Implementing such a big change requires some flexibility, which is why there will be transition periods for people affected by the new requirements.
People who hold a current, valid DHS child-related employment screening on 1 July 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 working or volunteering with children, this means that no immediate action will be required.
Screening checks for volunteers remain free.
Over the coming months, DHS will work closely with communities and professional groups to provide more detailed information about individual circumstances, transition periods and what the new laws mean for them.
The new NDIS Worker Screening check will also come into effect from 1 July. The check creates nationally-consistent screening and monitoring for employees of registered NDIS providers, to help protect people with disability.