Hon Robyn McSweeney BA JP MLC

Hon Robyn McSweeney BA JP MLC

Former Minister for Child Protection; Community Services; Seniors and Volunteering; Women's Interests; Youth

    Review into Working with Children Check

    13/09/2012 12:00 AM
    • 23 recommendations made under statutory review of the Act
    • Legislation to be further strengthened for increased protection to children
    Child Protection Minister Robyn McSweeney has welcomed the independent review of the Working with Children (Criminal Record Checking) Act 2004 which she tabled today in State Parliament, saying she would work to further strengthen the legislation and looked forward to public debate on the issues raised in the report.

    Since checking began in 2006, more than 500,000 applications had been received for Working with Children Checks.

    “I welcome Parliament being given another opportunity to further strengthen the legislation,” Mrs McSweeney said.

    “The independent statutory review received 38 public submissions and follows amendments to the Act in 2010, where changes were made to improve protection of children.”

    The Working with Children Check is compulsory for those in paid employment or people who volunteer in child-related work and involves a thorough screening of their criminal records.

    The Public Sector Commission reviewer, found strong community support for the legislation and that the Act was administered effectively by the Working with Children Screening Unit, which is part of the Department for Child Protection.

    The reviewer proposed 23 recommendations to improve the implementation of the Act, including an increased focus on other child safeguarding strategies as the Working with Children Check is only one component in a suite of safety strategies.

    The review determined the current exemption for parents who volunteer at their child’s school, not to have a Working with Children Check, should remain.

    Currently parents who volunteer in schools in connection to their child’s activity are not required to have a Working with Children Check as long as the period of volunteering does not include an overnight stay.  Parents volunteering for an overnight camp are required to undergo the check.

    The Minister has invited community debate on the issue and will be introducing other measures to strengthen the legislation.

          Fact File
    • Working with Children Checks mandated for workers or volunteers in child-related work
    • Penalties apply for those who do not comply with their obligations
    • More information:  http://www.checkwwc.wa.gov.au/checkwwc

    Minister's office - 6552 6500