In Australia, at both a Federal level and from state to state, most areas have some kind of
screening and regulations for working with children. These are required before individuals can take jobs working with children in various capacities.
We take a look at what these checks are, and what kind of employment verification you may need in addition to regular checks when the job entails working with children.
Why Are There Special Regulations for Working with Children?
The Australian government, like most other developed countries, recognizes that people who work with children have a position that demands high levels of responsibility and care, and also the increased risk to children if caregivers are not properly screened.
The employment screening services demanded by government before employees can work with minors are intended to promote the safety of children, and to prevent physical or sexual abuse.
This is why, unlike most other industries, employers in businesses and sectors where working with children is a requirement are not only allowed to do additional employment verification, they’re obliged to.
What Is Required to Work with Children?
Again, the exact requirements may vary by state or area, but the fundamentals for childcare worker employment screening services are the same:
- Offences committed before the age of eighteen. Often, these would not be checked, or would be sealed, but when childcare is involved, they will be checked.
- Guilty pleas, as well as findings of guilt whether convicted or not.
- Charges where the applicant was acquitted because of mental health issues.
- Pending charges and spent convictions.
- Circumstances related to the charges and court proceedings.
Essentially, the checks and screening for working with children are extensive and in depth, but they’re still not limitless. In fact, while a detailed screening is carried out, only a few types of conviction or case are relevant, including:
- Sexual offences
- Violent offences, such as assault
- Drug related charges or convictions
- Any offence that presents a risk to children
- Any offence that contravenes the relevant legislation related to working with children
As with other kinds of employment screening services and employment verification, you need to be particularly careful to remain within the bounds of fairness with this type of check. Since convictions that don’t fall within the spectrum of requirements for working with children cannot be used to determine eligibility (or you may risk falling foul of discrimination laws), you need to be extra careful about which information you use when deciding to hire or not hire an applicant.
Putting Children First
The reality is, while there are laws in place to ensure employees who are going to be working with children are very carefully screened, their use should not be necessary. Keeping children safe should always be a priority, both on a personal level and to prevent any risk of legal action.
If you run a business where working with children is a requirement, it is worth talking to a professional screening company who can deliver the in-depth information you need to remain legally compliant on all fronts, and to maintain your own peace of mind.