Vulnerable Children

Important information for charities that work with children
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New regulations come into force on 1 July 2015 that set out requirements for safety checks for children’s workers. The requirements apply to charities that:

(i) receive money from a State service to provide a “regulated service”, and
(ii) employ or engage children’s workers to perform that regulated service.
The list of regulated services is broad, and includes mentoring and counselling services, youth services, youth work, home-based and residential disability services, and educational/early child care services.
Safety checks must be completed (or updated as required) for any paid employees or contractors who will be working as a children’s worker.  The children’s workforce is made up of all workers who have regular (at least once each week or on at least four days each month) or overnight contact with children, without a parent or guardian being present, as part of their role. Children’s workers are “core workers” if they work alone with children or have primary responsibility for children. The requirements don’t apply to volunteers, unless that unpaid work is part of an educational or vocational training course.
The safety checking requirements are being phased in over three to four years to give organisations time to have all of their children’s workforce checked:

  • From 1 July 2015 new core children’s workers starting a job or contract must be safety checked before they start work
  • From 1 July 2016 new non-core children’s workers starting a job or contract must be safety checked before they start work
  • By 1 July 2018 existing children’s core workers (that is, those currently employed or engaged as a contractor) must have been safety checked
  • By 1 July 2019 all existing non-core children’s workers must have been be safety checked.
    The regulations set out what checks must be made, including identity checks, Police vetting, gathering other information and undertaking a risk assessment.

The regulations are available on the Government’s legislation website. Further information is available on the Children’s Action Plan website.

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