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New requirement for kinship carers will come into effect on 1 May 2017

 

From 1 May 2017, Kinship carers (family members and other persons of significance to a child who provide a child with out-of-home care under the Children, Youth and Families Act 2005) will be required to apply for a Working with Children Check (Check).

This new requirement is one of a range of mandatory screening checks designed to better protect children and young people in out-of-home care arrangements. It is a direct recommendation from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and brings Victoria in line with the requirements for kinship carers in other states and territories.

From 1 May 2017, new kinship carers will be required to apply for a Check within 21 days of having a child placed in their care. Child protection practitioners will prompt new carers to apply for a Check as part of the mandatory assessment process for a kinship care placement. Current kinship carers who have a child placed in their care before 1 May 2017 must apply for a Check by 22 August 2017.

What is kinship care?
Kinship care is the care provided by relatives or a member of a child’s social network when a child cannot live with their parents. It specifically relates to care arrangements where a Children’s Court order has been made, and/ or child protection has assessed and approved a specific carer to care for a specific child.

 

When will kinship carers be required to obtain Checks?
From 1 May 2017, new kinship carers have 21 days from the date a child is placed with them to apply for a Check. Kinship carers who have already had a child placed with them through the Department of Health and Human Services before May 1 2017 must apply for a Check by 22 August 2017.

 

How will kinship carers apply for a Check?
Kinship carers will follow the normal process of applying for a Check online and attending a participating Australia Post outlet to finalise it. When filling out the application form online, a kinship carer will be required to enter the Department of Health and Human Services as the organisation with which they will be doing child-related work, as well as selecting ‘80- Kinship carer’ under the occupational fields section of the form.  

 

Will kinship carers be required to pay for Checks?
No. Kinship carers must apply for a volunteer Check, which is free of charge.

 

What if I am a kinship carer and I already hold a Check?
If you already hold a current Check, you can update your details online. You are not required to apply for another Check. You must register and and log in to MyCheck to update your details. Add the Department of Health and Human Services as the organisation with which you will be doing child-related work and select ‘80 - Kinship Carer’ under the occupational fields section. 

 

Other amendments to the Act

The legislative amendment relating to kinship care forms part of a range of changes in response to recommendations made by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse that come into effect on 1 August 2017. These include:

  1. Expanding the definition of ‘direct contact’ in the Act. The definition of direct contact will now include oral, written or electronic communication as well as face-to-face and physical contact.
  2. Removing references to ‘supervision’ in the Act. This will mean that even if a person’s contact with children as part of their child-related work is supervised by another person, they will still need to apply for a Check.
  3. Ensuring that non-conviction charges (charges that have been finally dealt with other than by a conviction or finding of guilt) for serious sexual, violent or drug offences are considered as part of Check assessments and re-assessments.
  4. Enabling the Secretary to the Department of Justice and Regulation to compel the production of certain information for the purposes of compliance monitoring.

In addition, various other miscellaneous and technical amendments have been made to improve the Act’s operation and administration.

 

For detailed information about the amendments, please go to Changes to legislation.