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The Working with Children check (blue card) has changed

 
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Working in or operating an early childhood education and care (ECEC) service in Queensland means creating a safe environment for children is your priority.

Working with Children (Risk Management and Screening) Act 2000 (the WWC Act)

Under the Working with Children (Risk Management and Screening) Act 2000 (the WWC Act) from 31 August 2020, No Card, No Start means paid workers must hold a current blue card (not just a pending application) or exemption card before they can work with children.

Prior to 31 August 2020, paid employees were able to start working with children while their blue card application was being processed. It is no longer sufficient for individuals to have submitted an application for a blue card—they must hold their blue card before they commence work.

From 1 September 2020, for all types of regulated early childhood education and care services (including stand-alone care) operators, paid employees, volunteers and adult residents of home based care must hold a current blue card or a positive exemption notice before they commence providing care.

Registered teachers and police officers undertaking the working with children check can be issued a positive exemption notice so they can carry out child-related services outside their professional duties.

Who needs a blue card and when?

Approved providers

Approved providers of ECEC services and operators of stand-alone care must hold a current blue card or have been issued with a positive exemption notice to operate an ECEC service in Queensland.

Nominated supervisors

Nominated supervisors must hold a blue card or current positive exemption notice when working at an approved ECEC service in Queensland.

Where an approval or certificate is given in a different state or territory, a current blue card or positive exemption notice issued by Blue Card Services, Queensland Department of Justice and Attorney-General is required to be able to work in, or operate a child-related service in Queensland.

Staff

Staff members working in an ECEC service, including educators, need to hold a current blue card or positive exemption notice. The approved provider must then record the identifying number and expiry date of the card/notice once the blue card or notice is received by the staff member.

Approved providers have specific record keeping requirements—see regulations 145 to 150 of the Education and Care Services National Regulations (National Regulations) for centre-based services.

Students and volunteers

Non-paid employees, for example students, and volunteers or business operators who provide services while education and care is being provided (e.g. maintenance type work) must hold a blue card before they can start work at an ECEC service.

If you fall into one of these categories and require further information, please contact Blue Card Services.

Executive officers and committee members

When a corporation or eligible association applies for a provider approval, each executive officer or executive committee member who will be a ‘person with management or control’ must hold a current blue card or have been issued with a current positive notice (s.5 National Law).

Persons proposing to become either an executive officer of a corporation or a member of an executive committee of an eligible association that is an approved provider, for example, a parents and citizens association will need to hold a positive notice or exemption card before commencing duties.

Family day care educators and educator assistants

Family day care educators and educator assistants are classified as ‘staff members’ under the National Law and need to hold a blue card or positive exemption notice before starting work at an ECEC service.

An approved provider of a family day care service must take reasonable steps to ensure that a person who is a family day care educator assistant at a family day care residence or approved family day care venue is a fit and proper person to be in the company of children.

This means as part of taking reasonable steps to ensure the person is fit and proper, the approved provider must consider the person’s current working with children check or working with children card and ensure the person holds a current blue card or exemption notice.

Adult residents at a family day care service

A family day care resident is required to hold a blue card or positive notice.

Under the Education and Care Services National Regulations (National Regulations), as part of taking reasonable steps to ensure that a person aged 18 years or older who resides at a family day care residence is a fit and proper person to be in the company of children, an approved provider must consider the person’s current working with children check.

The approved provider must be satisfied the person is fit and proper before the approved provider can provide care, or continue to provide care, at the family day care service.

Family day care cannot be provided in a home where an adult occupant does not hold a blue card or positive exemption notice.

Blue Card Services will accept applications from a 17-year-old resident up to 6 months before their 18th birthday. It is recommended that an application is submitted to Blue Card Services at least 10 weeks before the person turns 18 years. The blue card will not be issued until the person turns 18.

Approved providers must ensure that educators advise them of any new adult who resides or intends to reside at the family day care residence, and any circumstances that may affect whether an adult resident of the family day care residence is a fit and proper person to be in the company of children.

Visitors to a family day care service

Approved providers of family day care services are required under the National Regulations to develop policies and procedures for managing visitors to the service. Educators must follow these policies and procedures.

A register of visitors must be kept at the family day care service which includes the signature, date and time of arrival and departure of any visitor.

It is an offence under the National Regulations for visitors to be left alone with children at a family day care residence or approved family day care venue.

As part of its due diligence, an approved provider may consider contacting Blue Card Services in relation to the blue card requirements of frequent visitors to a family day care residence, in order to ensure the safety and wellbeing of children.

More information

Visit Blue Card Services.

Disclaimer

This information is to be used as a guide only. If there are any inconsistences between this information and the National Law or National Regulations, the National Law and National Regulations must be followed.

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Last updated 01 September 2020