The new Working With Children Check starts on June 15 but will not impact on current permanent teachers in schools and TAFE until 2016 and 2017.
The Child Protection (Working with Children) Act 2012 prevents workers in child-related employment from working with children unless they have a clearance. Fines can be imposed on an individual worker who does not have a clearance as well as any employer who employs a worker without a clearance. The requirements will be phased in for current employees over five years.
The Commission for Children and Young People (CCYP) will require workers in child-related employment to fill in an online form or ring the CCYP helpline. The information and form will be placed on the CCYP website, www.kids.nsw.gov.au. Workers will then have to take identification and the application number for the “check” to a motor registry office or a government access centre and pay the $80 fee.
New casual or permanent teachers who do not have current approval to teach from June 15 will be required to provide evidence to the Department of Education and Communities that they have a Working With Children Check application number when completing relevant application documents for employment. This will include new applicants for employment as teachers, casual or temporary teachers who are appointed to permanent positions, as well as teachers who have resigned or retired who are seeking permanent or casual employment.
The legislation that created the “new” check was not provided for consultation prior to its being passed by the NSW Parliament in June last year. Federation provided a detailed response to the regulations associated with the Act, pointing to the negative impact on teachers and other workers in child-related employment of transferring the cost of the check from employers and the Government, onto employees.
Federation’s website provides a pro forma email message for members to send to their MP and the Premier to protest against the imposition of the $80 Working With Children Check fee and urge the Government to amend the legislation. Go to www.nswtf.org.au/campaigns.