After months of preparation and engagement with the sector, 1 July 2015 marks a key deadline for those who work with vulnerable children. It is important that all organisations that are funded either directly or indirectly by the government state services undertake worker safety checks to help assess whether people pose a risk to children and also to help prevent unsafe people getting involved in working with children.
This is a further stage in the Childrens Action Plan and covers paid employees and contractors who work with children (up to 17 years of age). The safety checks apply to new and existing employees and contractors and are split between core and non-core children’s workers.
Core workers are those who have regular contact with children who work unsupervised or alone with children and have primary responsibility for children, eg, doctors, nurses, paediatricians, youth counsellors, care and support workers. Under the Act, regular is defined as at least once a week; or on at least 4 days each month or overnight.
Non-core workers are those who have regular but limited child contact, e.g, general hospital staff, health administrative staff
Worker safety checks include:
- identity verification
- police vetting
- reference checks
- a risk assessment that considers the specific child safety related risk.
For more information about the safety checks and further steps in implementing see our April 2015 Policy Watch post. The full details are on the Children’s Action Plan website and there is also very good summary information on the Ministry of Health website.