Adults and volunteers who work with children are required by law in most states and territories to obtain a Working with Children Check. The Working with Children Check makes sure all working environments are safe for children.
What is a Working with Children Check?
Working with Children Checks are used to screen adults who regularly come into contact with children. You may have to obtain a Working with Children Check before you start working or volunteering at a school, child care centre, hospital, religious institution, or sports and recreation club.
Screening helps to stop people with a known criminal or abusive history from gaining access to children through organisations. But organisations shouldn’t rely on Working with Children Checks alone. They should also conduct interviews and reference checks.
How to apply for a Working with Children Check
There is no national standard for Working with Children Checks. Each state and territory has different requirements. How long the check is valid, and how you renew it, varies according to the state or territory.
NSW: The Office of the Children’s Guardian provides a Working with Children Check for people who work or volunteer in child-related work. The check is valid for 5 years and subject to monitoring. You can apply for a check or verify someone has passed the check at the Office of the Children’s Guardian website.
Victoria: Victoria’s Working with Children Check involves a criminal history check before people start work in an organisation. The check is valid for 5 years. To see if you need a check or to apply, visit Working with Children Check.
ACT: People working with children and other vulnerable groups must complete a background check and be registered before they can commence employment. Registration is valid for 3 years and is subject to monitoring. Visit Access Canberra for more information on Working with vulnerable people (WWVP) registration.
Queensland: People working or volunteering with children must apply for a Working with Children Check, known as a Blue Card. The Blue Card is valid for 3 years.
Northern Territory: People who have contact or potential contact with children must apply for a Working with Children Check, known as an Ochre Card. The card is valid for 2 years. To apply, for clearance visit the NT Government website.
South Australia: People who work in jobs with regular contact with children must obtain child-related employment screening. For more information, visit the Services Australia website.
Tasmania: Working with children registration is required for people working in early childhood-related roles. Registrations are valid for 3 years. Visit the Consumer, Building and Occupational Services website for more information on registration.
Western Australia: All people doing child-related work must have a Working with Children Check. The check is valid for 3 years. For more information, visit the Working with Children Check website.
Working with Children Checks cannot be transferred between states and territories. The person must meet the requirements of the state or territory where they are working or volunteering.
When is the Working with Children Check required?
All states and territories have some form of pre-employment check for people who come into contact with children. Positions where you may need to get a Working with Children Check include:
- child care
- child protection
- child and family welfare
Sometimes certain people are exempt from needing a check, such as people under 18, close relatives and babysitters who work independently (such as those who are not employed through an agency).
Parents who volunteer as a sports coach or at their child’s school may not need a Working with Children Check if they are working with their own child. But if they are working with other children (for example, coaching a different team) the check may be needed.
The rules are different in each state and territory. To find out if you need a Working with Children Check, contact the relevant body in the list above.
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Last reviewed: November 2019