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Requirements to comply with Child Safety Legislation in SA

19 August 2022

To comply with the Children and Young People (Safety) Act 2017, all South Australian early childhood education and care services, schools and student exchange organisations must:

  1. Have appropriate child safe environments policy in place (s 114)
  2. At a minimum, review policy once every 5 years (s 115)
  3. Lodge a child safe environments compliance statement with the Department of Human Services
  4. Lodge a new child safe environments compliance statement each time service policy is reviewed and updated.
  5. Meet Working with Children Check (WCCC) obligations

How to lodge a child safe environments compliance statement

Services must lodge a child safe environments compliance statement through the Department of Human Services. After registering, services will be prompted to answer a range of questions about their policies, and upload policy documents for assessment.

Services should check their statement to ensure it contains up-to-date policy in line with the mandatory reporting requirements found in the Children and Young People (Safety) Act 2017, as the previous Children’s Protection Act 1993 is now repealed.

If services or schools have questions about their statement, contact the Department of Human Services: by phone at 8463 6468 or email dhs.childsafe [at] sa.gov.au

**If your service is an Out of School Hours Care (OSHC) services run by a Governing Council, the service is covered by the Department for Education child safe environments compliance statement.

Developing child safe environments policy

Resources to support organisations to develop quality policies and procedures that will create and maintain environments that are both friendly and safe for children and young people are linked below.

Child safe environments policy must align with the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations which gave effect to the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Working with children checks (WCCC) required for all employees and volunteers

Organisations are required to ensure all current and potential employees and volunteers have a valid WWCC.

Before employing a person to work or volunteer with children, an employer, regardless of whether they are an organisation or individual, must verify that the potential employee: has had a Working with Children Check conducted in the preceding 5 years, and is not prohibited from working with children.

The Screening Unit does not issue certificates or clearance letters to persons. You must not accept a paper certificate or email confirmation from an individual as proof that person has a current Working with Children Check and is not prohibited from working with children. 

Employers are legally required to verify that employees and volunteers have a current WCCC and are not prohibited from working with children. The only way this can occur is online, through your organisation portal. Through the verifcation process, you should generate a Certificate of Interrogation. 

You should ensure appropriate records are kept regarding when you verified an employee has a Working with Children Check and is not prohibited from working with children by saving the Certificate of Interrogation on file. 

Resources for services

Working With Children check obligations tool kit

DHS-WWCC Toolkit (screening.sa.gov.au)

WWCC Application status, update information and verify check

Screening Unit - Application status, update information and verify check

Working with Children Check requirements to comply with obligations

Working with Children Check - information for organisations (screening.sa.gov.au) 

Creating a child safe environments policy

DHS - Creating a child safe environments policy

Child safe environments compliance statements

DHS - Child safe environments compliance statements

Lodging your child safe environment compliance statement

DHS - Lodging your child safe environments compliance statement

National Principles for Child Safe Organisations

DHS - National Principles for child safe organisations

Resources for creating a child safe environments policy

DHS - Resources for creating a child safe environments policy

Legal requirements for Early Childhood Education and Care services and providers

Under the National Law, it is an offence for unauthorised persons (anyone who does not hold a current WCCC) to attend the education and care premises, unless under the direct supervision of an educator or other staff member of the service (s 170).

Under the National Regulations, it is mandatory to record a current WWCC and the expiry date of the check with staff employment information (r 147)