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Celebrating 20 years of the Working with Children Check

27 November 2020

Figures released today in the Office of the Children’s Guardian’s Annual Report (PDF 2MB) show that 20 years of the Working with Children Check have improved safety in child-related organisations.

1,841,854 people in NSW hold a cleared Check. In the past year, 345,541 applications were processed, 46% of which were applications to renew an existing Check.

The Check picked up records that automatically barred 470 applicants from working with children, while a further 100 were barred following a risk assessment. Importantly, there were 4881 continuous check events – new records flagged in the system against cleared checks. These were reviewed and resulted in 972 people having their Working with Children Check clearance cancelled.

The Working with Children Check scheme is working well, and is widely recognised and accepted.

The new Check system started in 2013 and covers all child-related sectors with ongoing monitoring to keep children safe.

‘One of the most important aspects of the Check is that it is backed by an ongoing monitoring system ‑ but this relies on employers registering their employees,’ Ms Schorer said.

‘I cannot stress enough how important it is for organisations to do this and make the most of the Check ‑ it is a legal requirement for them to do so.

‘While the NSW Working with Children Check is a robust Check, it is only one child protection tool that organisations have available.

‘The Check should be used in conjunction with other important mechanisms described through the Child Safe Standards that work together to build a solid framework for keeping children safe.

‘We know that offences are often opportunistic and occur because an environment allows it. Building a child-safe culture is the best preventative option,’ Ms Schorer said.

The 10 Child Safe Standards developed by the Royal Commission have been endorsed by the NSW Government. In the past 12 months, the Office of the Children’s Guardian has consulted widely to develop a framework for regulating how we implement these standards to build child-safe cultures.

‘The Office of the Children’s Guardian will continue to lead the state in helping organisations to build cultures and environments that will provide the best protection yet for our children,’ Ms Schorer said.