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New child protection legislation starts

1 November 2015

NSW Children’s Guardian Kerryn Boland said today new legislative amendments that come into effect on Monday 2 November will help strengthen the protection of children in situations where they are not being cared for by their families.

“These reforms provide further checks and balances within the adoption and out-of- home care systems,” Ms Boland said.

“They also affect child-related employers and organisations to ensure that the Working With Children Check system is properly administered.”

The Child Protection Legislation Amendment Act 2015 expands the categories of people who need a Working With Children Check.

People who reside for longer than three weeks on a property (not just in the home) of an authorized carer (including family day care and home based education services) will need to obtain a Working With Children Check.

People who hold key positions in an agency providing out of home care and adoption services to the state’s most vulnerable children will also need to obtain a Working With Children Check and governing bodies of these agencies must verify their clearances.

Ms Boland said the Child Protection Legislation Amendment Act 2015 has also tightened the online WWCC verification requirements of relevant employers providing child related services in NSW.

“These employers need to be registered in the WWCC system and go online to verify a WWC clearance or application number as sighting the WWC number is not sufficient verification,” Ms Boland said.

“An employer cannot commence to employ, or continuing to employ, a worker if they have reasonable cause to believe the worker does not have a WWCC clearance.”

The reforms also affect people convicted and imprisoned for murder, the indecent or sexual assault of a child, child pornography or incest with a child victim. People who have been found guilty of these crimes and where a custodial sentence has been imposed, will never be able to appeal to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal to overturn a ban on them working with children.

Any offence under a foreign law, which if committed in NSW would be an offence under Schedule 2 of the WWC Act or the Child Protection (Offenders Registration) Act, will also be included as disqualifying offences.

A summary of the legislative amendments is at www.kidsguardian.nsw.gov.au/changesnovember2015