After you’ve applied for a Working with Children Check in Victoria, we’ll start processing your information and assess your application to determine whether you will pass the Check or not.

How long does it take?

The time it takes to process a Check varies person to person. It typically takes up to three weeks for us to assess your application. If you have a common name – or we need to spend more time investigating your application – you might have to wait up to 12 weeks.

Can I work while my application is being processed?

Most people can do child-related work after their application has been lodged and while it is being processed. However, you can’t if you:

  • have been charged with, found guilty, or convicted of a sexual, violent or drug offence listed in clause 2 of Schedule 3 of the Act
  • have previously been given a Negative Notice by us (more information on this below), unless you then subsequently received a Check
  • have applied for the Check and are supervising a child under the age of 15 in employment under the Child Employment Act 2003
  • have applied for a Check and are working in an education and care service under the Children’s Services Act 1996 or in an education and care service under the Education and Care Services National Law (Victoria) Act 2010
  • are subject to:
    • reporting obligations under the Sex Offenders Registration Act 2004
    • an extended supervision order or interim extended supervision order under the Serious Sex Offenders Monitoring Act 2005
    • a supervision order or a detention order.

Some organisations need their workers to pass the Check before starting child-related work. Check if this is the case with your organisation.

How do I know if I’ve passed the Check?

If you pass the Check, we’ll let you know by email and you’ll receive a card in the mail within two weeks. Your organisation is responsible for assessing your suitability to work with or care for children, so you must be aware of and adhere to their rules and policies.

The Working with Children Check card allows you to do child-related work for five years, unless it is surrendered, or revoked. Your Check may also be suspended or revoked if you are charged with or found guilty of an offence, or if a professional conduct finding is made against you.

Show your card to every organisation that engages you in child-related work. We’ll continue to monitor your criminal record and relevant professional conduct findings for the life of your card. 

What does my card look like?

The card will display your:

  • Name
  • photograph
  • card number
  • card type
  • card expiry date

 

Sample card

What should I do with my card before I start child-related work?

You should show your Working with Children Check card or approved application receipt to every organisation that you will do child-related work with before you start work. They can view the status of your application online to see if you’ve applied or have already passed the Check. 

Organisations are responsible for making sure people engaged by that organisation and doing child-related work:

  • have applied for the Check and
  • are legally permitted to do child-related work while their application is being processed

as well as the applicant themselves.

What if I get a request for more information?

There are situations where we might need to get some more information from you in order to process your application, such as when:

  • your application form is inaccurate or incomplete
  • your photo does not meet the specified requirements
  • you have failed to provide the correct proof of identity documentation
  • you have previously been charged with an offence
  • you have previously failed to pass the Check
  • an adverse professional conduct finding has been made against you.

We might also seek additional information about you from other sources when assessing your application, including:

  • state, territory and federal police forces
  • courts, tribunals and prosecuting authorities
  • authorised screening agencies
  • health treating professionals
  • government agencies
  • professional disciplinary bodies 
  • employers and other organisations.

If you fail to respond to our request within 28 days, or any longer period we specify in the request, your application will be withdrawn.

What if I fail the Check?

You will be given an Interim Negative Notice if your application is a category A application.

If your application is a category B or C application – and we determine that giving you a Check would pose an unjustifiable risk to the safety of children, having regard to the factors set out in the Act – you’ll also be given an Interim Negative Notice.

You’ll then have the opportunity to explain why you believe you should pass the Check and respond to the information we have about you that has caused the Interim Negative Notice.

Negative Notices

If you fail the Check, you will be given a Negative Notice, which means you can’t do child-related work, effective from the date listed on the notice.

A copy of your Negative Notice is sent to all organisations you have listed with us, but they are not told of the reason for the Negative Notice. By law, you must (in writing) tell all organisations where you do child-related work about the Negative Notice within seven days of being given the notice.

If you get a Negative Notice, you can’t apply for a Check again for five years, after the date of the notice, unless your circumstances change. If you apply after this time, by law you must not do any child-related work until you pass the Check.

If you receive a Negative Notice, you may apply to VCAT to review the decision in accordance with the Act.

What if my circumstances change?

If any of your circumstances change during this time – including any personal details, like your name, address, phone number or organisation’s information – you must update them online with us within 21 days after becoming aware of the change.

 You must also let us and your organisation or employer know (in writing) within seven days if any of the following scenarios happen to you:

  • a professional disciplinary decision is made against you
  • you are charged with, convicted, or found guilty of a category A or category B offence listed in Schedule 1 or 2 of the Act
  • you become subject to reporting obligations or an order under the Sex Offenders Registration Act 2004, Serious Sex Offenders Monitoring Act 2005, or the Serious Sex Offenders (Detention and Supervision) Act 2009.

Once you get your Working with Children Check card, there are things you need to know as a cardholder. 
 

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