What is the Working with Children Check?

The Working with Children Check (Check) helps protect children from sexual and physical harm by making sure that people who work or care for children undergo a thorough checking process.

Who needs a Check?

Under the Working with Children Act 2005 (the Act), there are 5 conditions that make up child-related work. If you are doing all 5, then you are doing child-related work and need to get a Check.

  1. You are an adult doing paid or voluntary work with children who are under the age of 18.
  2. You are working with children in any of the areas listed in the ‘Occupational fields’.
  3. Your work requires direct contact with children; you talk face-to-face, have physical, written or electronic contact with them.
  4. The contact you have with children is part of your duties and it’s not incidental to your work.
  5. You don’t fit into any of the exemptions listed on the website.

It’s very important for you to know that you must not start working with children without applying for a Check first. Otherwise you’re committing an offence.

It’s also an offence for your organisation to allow you to work with children before you have applied for a Check.

How do I apply?

Please note that it is an offence to use a Volunteer Check if you are being paid for child related work. An Employee Check must be used for paid work.

Can I work during the screening process?

Most people are able to do child-related work whilst their Check application is lodged.

This is allowed as long as you haven’t been charged with, convicted or found guilty of a serious sexual, violent or drug offence. This is clearly identified in the Act.

You cannot do child related work if you have been given a negative notice, as you did not pass the Check.

You cannot supervise a child in employment under the Child Employment Act 2003, or work in any service regulated by the Children’s Services Act 1996 or the Education and Care Services National Law (Victoria) 2010 without passing the Check first.

are subject to:

  • Sex Offenders Registration Act 2004
  • Serious Sex Offenders Monitoring Act 2005
  • a supervision order or a emergency detention order

It’s a good idea to ask your organisation if they have rules that say you have to pass the Check first.

What are you screened for?

You will be screened for serious sexual, violent and drug offences along with any adverse professional conduct reports made by the agencies listed in the Act. The list of offences is on our the website.

Under the Act, the protection of children from sexual and physical harm is the major consideration for any decisions made.

Image of sample card

How do I know if I have passed the Check?

We will let you and your organisation know in writing if you pass the Check.

Your Check will be current for 5 years unless it is revoked by us or you surrender it.

To continue doing child related work, you must renew your Check before it expires.

What if I have a criminal record or an adverse professional conduct report?

It is important for you to know that not all offences or negative professional conduct decisions mean that you pose a risk to children.

If you have any questions or require further help you can email us at workingwithchildren@justice.vic.gov.au (External link) or call the customer support team on 1300 652 879.

The helpline is available Monday to Friday between 8.30 am and 5pm but not on public holidays.

What if I don’t pass the Check?

If you don’t pass the Check, you will be given an Interim Negative Notice. This gives you the chance to write to us and tell us why you think you should pass the Check. After review, If we still thinks you should fail the Check, a Negative Notice will be issued to you. You cannot work with children.

You can appeal the decision by applying to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) within 28 days of the date on the Negative Notice. You may not apply to VCAT for a review of our decision if you have at any time been charged with, convicted or found guilty of a category A offence. For more information on category A offences see the List of offences (External link) publication on the website.

Is the Working with Children Check the same as the Police Check?

No. You only need a Working with Children Check if you are doing paid or voluntary work with children.

More details are available on the website under ‘Police Checks (External link)’.

More Information

Customer Support Line
1300 652 879    8.30am - 5pm, Monday to Friday (except public holidays)
 

TTY
13 36 77 and

Speak and Listen
1300 5554 727

 

This information is a general guide only. It is not intended to be given as legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. It is recommended that you obtain legal advice relevant to your particular circumstances.