New Working with Children Check laws now in force will create further protections for children

From 1 September changes to laws mean that the NSW Working with Children Check can access information held on a national database of people barred from working with children. 

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two adults working on the floor with a group of children

This database, known as the National Reference System, has been established by the Australian Government and is operated by the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC). 

One of the strengths of the NSW Working with Children Check is that it’s underpinned by ongoing, continuous monitoring of new records, Children’s Guardian Janet Schorer said. 

‘This new measure brings continuous checking nationwide where we are informed of new record that can result in a person being barred from working with children.

‘It means that we can see if an applicant, or holder of a NSW clearance, has been barred from working with children in other states and territories in Australia,’ Ms Schorer said.

Each Australian state and territory has its own background checking scheme for people seeking to work with children and have maintained their own list of people who are barred. 

‘Now, all applicants and holders of a NSW Working with Children Check will be continuously screened at a national level through the National Reference System,’ Ms Schorer said.

The changes also mean that heads organisations under the Child Safe Scheme must now have a Working with Children Check clearance. This is because leaders should model the actions expected of their staff.

Additional changes have come into effect that will further strengthen the NSW Working with Children Check scheme by ensuring that NSW applicants or clearance holders will be automatically barred from working with children for a range of serious animal cruelty offences. 

We have agreements with RSPCA NSW and the Animal Welfare League for sharing animal cruelty information to support this change.

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