This paper examines the development and implementation of policy and legislation that provides for the pre-employment screening of adults who work or volunteer in child-related organisation.
There is no single national framework setting out the requirements for obtaining Working With Children Checks or Police Checks. Each state and territory has their own procedures and it is necessary to fulfil the requirements in the jurisdiction(s) in which you are working. However, under the National Framework for Protecting Australia's Children, a nationally consistent approach is being progressed. The framework lists this nationally consistent approach as action under Outcome 2 - Children and families access adequate support to promote safety and intervene early. A Working with Children Checks Working Group has been formed to inform the national alignment, however, they have noted that a national approach to legislation will not necessarily protect all children and that such screening practices and processes must sit in a broader organisational environment determined to ensure the safety of children.
Most states and territories have introduced legislation providing for child-related employment pre-screening, or are working towards such legislation. The legislation identifies broad categories of child-related work where employers, employees and volunteers must fulfil screening requirements. There are important differences across jurisdictions regarding the type of screening programs that are in place, what records are checked, and who is required to undergo screening.