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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 5 Hansard (9 May) . . Page.. 1461..

Working with children checks

(Question No126)

Ms Dundas asked the Minister for Education, Youth and Family Services, upon notice, on 9 April 2002:

In relation to working with children checks:

(1) Does the department screen the employment of people in child-related employment (i.e. any employment that involves direct contact with children where the contact is not directly supervised) about their previous criminal history particularly offences involving sexual activity, acts of indecency, child abuse or child pornography.

(2) What scrutiny and processes are in place for a person applying for paid work in child-related employment.

(3) What scrutiny and processes are in place for a person applying for unpaid work in child-related employment.

Mr Corbell: The answer to Ms Dundas' question is:

(1) All permanent, temporary and casual employees of the ACT Department of Education and Community Services are required to undertake a screening process consisting of a police records check in respect of criminal convictions and traffic violations, and a self disclosure form in respect of any other issue which may be relevant in determining their suitability to work with children in schools and other departmental workplaces.

The police records check is processed by the Australian Federal Police in accordance with relevant spent convictions legislation (Crimes Act 1914 (Cth) and the Spent Convictions Act 2000 (ACT)). The police records check and the self disclosure form must be completed and processed prior to an employee commencing duty.

Exemptions under section 85ZZH of the Crimes Act 1914 (Cth) and section 19 of the Spent Convictions Act 2000 (ACT) provide for full disclosure of all sexual offence convictions where a person is to be appointed, employed or otherwise engaged in any capacity in relation to the care, instruction or supervision of children.

In the child care industry, police record checks are required for controlling persons and proprietors. Police record checks are recommended for other people working in child care, however they are not mandatory.

Foster carers are employed through Family Services though contractual arrangement with foster care agencies in the ACT. They are all required to have a police check and a thorough psycho-social assessment.

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