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3.1.12 Working with Children Card - application and renewal requirements for carers

Last Modified: 06-Feb-2019 Review Date: 04-Jan-2021

Purpose

To inform child protection workers (CPWs) of the Working with Children (WWC) Card application and renewal requirements and processes for foster, family and significant other carers (carers) and other adult household members who provide care or support to a child in the CEO’s care.

Note:  CEO refers to the Chief Executive Officer of the Department of Communities.

Practice Requirements

 

  • Child protection workers must verify that all carers, including the carer's spouse or defacto partner, have the required Criminal Record Check and Client and Child Protection Record Checks conducted by the Department's Screening Unit, and a WWC Check.
  • All adult household members must have a WWC Check and Communities' screening checks. This includes children in the household who have turned 18 years of age and become an adult household member. Household members who were under the age of 18 when the carer assessment occurred/the placement commenced must apply for a WWC card immediately upon turning 18 (if they will provide care or support to a child in the CEO's care). 
  • The 'duties' of other household members must be clarified. If the adult household member will not be providing care, supervision or support (e.g. adult has a disability and requires full-time care, elderly family member lives with the carer and is unable to supervise the child), this must be recorded in the carer assessment. If the circumstances change with the adult household member and they undertake activities with the child, an application for a WWC Check must be made.
  • Child protection workers must not proceed with an application for a WWC Check for a prospective carer if it has been assessed (such as, from the criminal or Department's record checks) that the person is not suitable to be a carer.
  • Child protection workers can only place a child with carers who have a current WWC Card (or a pending application). The only exception is where the child is placed in an urgent care arrangement with a family member. In this case, the family member must apply within five days of the child being placed in their care. A Form 562 - Statutory Declaration  and  Form 395 - Record Check Consent Form must be completed and signed by the family member and all adults in the household before the child is placed (for further information see Chapter 3.1: Family or significant other carer.
  • Child protection workers must remove a child from a care arrangement and cease the subsidy if the carer(s) has not applied to renew their WWC Card by the expiry date of their current WWC Card, or if the carer has not applied for the WWC Card within five days of the commencement of an urgent placement.  
  • Child protection workers must update Assist with the WWC Check receipt number and date of lodgement.
  • Child protection workers must notify the Screening Unit if they become aware of any person having been charged with, or convicted of, a Class 1 or Class 2 offence, or any other offence that is assessed as rendering the applicant inappropriate for child-related work. The Screening Unit will then notify the WWC Screening Unit.
  • Child protection workers must consult with their line manager and the Screening Unit if they are unclear about the type of checking that is required.
  • If an applicant, carer or adult household member has been issued with a Negative Notice or Interim Negative Notice from the WWC Screening Unit, CPWs must advise the professional conduct consultant in the Integrity Services Unit via email – noticecompliance@cpfs.wa.gov.au that the person is no longer caring for the child in care. The professional conduct consultant must advise the compliance manager at the WWC Screening Unit when the person is no longer caring for a child in care.
    
Process Maps
   
  • WWC Card - Application and Renewal Process for Carers
  • WWC Card - Monitoring Process for Carer Card Validity.

Procedures

  • Overview
  • WWC Checks for carers and adult household members
  • Carer application for a WWC Card
  • Individuals with existing WWC Cards
  • Monitoring and renewing WWC Cards
  • Interstate considerations
  • Contact with the Department's Screening Unit
  • Overview

    The Working with Children (WWC) Screening Unit administers the Working with Children (Criminal Record Checking) Act 2004 (WWC Act).

    The WWC Check is a compulsory criminal record check required for people who work with children under the age of 18 years in Western Australia (WA).  This includes self-employed people, paid employees, employers/organisations, volunteers and unpaid people. Refer to the following documents on the WWC website - https://workingwithchildren.wa.gov.au/:

    • Factsheet 1: What is 'Child-Related' Work?
    • Factsheet 3: Information for Employers and Volunteer Organisations
    • Factsheet 6: Information for Employees and Volunteers
    • WWC Check Summary of Key Features

    A WWC Card must be renewed every three years.  Information about the application and renewal process can be found at https://workingwithchildren.wa.gov.au/. The following flowcharts detail the application and monitoring processes for carers (see related resources):

    • WWC Card - Application and Renewal Process for Carers
    • WWC Card - Monitoring Process for Carer Card Validity

    If a proposed carer applying for a WWC Card does not have sufficient identity documents or cannot attend an authorised Australia Post outlet as they live in a rural or remote location (for instance they may live in a remote Aboriginal community), he or she must contact the WWC Screening Unit so that special arrangements can be made. If required, CPWs should support the applicant to obtain proof of identity documents needed to lodge the application.

    WWC Checks can only be undertaken for people in child-related work. If a carer has a pending application for a WWC Check and a decision has been made that a care arrangement is no longer needed (the carer is not assessed as suitable or that the carer is to be withdrawn), CPWs must advise the Screening Unit that the application is no longer required. The Department's Screening Unit will then notify the WWC Screening Unit. This notification enables the WWC Screening Unit to cease the screening process if the person is not doing any other type of child-related work.

    Where the Department provides funding for an out-of-home care service, the funding agreement must stipulate compliance with the WWC Act.  The Department must be satisfied of compliance with the WWC Act and other contracted requirements.

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    WWC Checks for carers and adult household members

    All carers, their spouses and defacto partners require the same level of WWC Check screening, as they are all involved in child-related work as defined under s.6(1)(a)(vi) of the WWC Act.

    A person cannot be approved as a carer until they have a WWC Card, or have proof of lodgement of an application for a WWC Check. All carers, their spouses and defacto partners are considered to be undertaking child-related work and therefore  must apply for a  WWC Card. Single carers whose circumstances change (e.g. a new partner moves into their home) must advise the Department of the changes as soon as possible. Their new partner must apply for a WWC Card, and complete Form 395 Record Check Consent Form for criminal and Client and Child Protection Checks to be conducted by the Department's Screening Unit.

    Failure by carers to obtain a WWC Card (or to have a pending application) constitutes a breach of the WWC Act. There is a penalty of up to $60,000 and 5 years imprisonment for both the employer and the carer (the Department is considered as 'employing' carers in child-related work).

    Adult household members

    It is assumed that all adult household members will provide some care or undertake activities with the foster child. They are therefore considered under the WWC Act to be 'employed' by the Department in child-related work, and will require a WWC Check.  Examples include looking after the child while the carer is away, transporting the child to school or activities, or assisting the child with activities.

    As part of the carer assessment and care arrangement supervision process, the 'duties' of adult household members (what they will be doing with the child) must be clarified. Child protection workers need to explore adult household members' proposed involvement in providing care for the child. If they will not be providing any care, supervision or support to the child (e.g. they have a disability and require a full-time carer, they are an elderly family member unable to provide supervision to a child), this must be recorded in the assessment. If this changes and the adult household member does look after or undertake activities with the child, an application must be made for a WWC Check.

    In the exceptional circumstance where an adult household member will not be caring for, supervising or undertaking other activities with the child and does not require a WWC Checks, however, they must still have criminal and Client and Child Protection checks through Department's Screening Unit.

    Carers must advise the CPW when a child living in the household turns 18 years of age and becomes an adult household member. The child (now an adult) must apply for a WWC Check.

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    Carer application for a WWC Card

    An Application for a Working with Children Check form (available on the Working with Children website) must be lodged by anyone being assessed to become a carer, after the assessor is confident they will be recommending the applicant to be approved and before a child is placed.

    The only exception is where a child is in an urgent placement. In this instance, a Form 562 - Statutory Declaration and Form 395 – Record Check Consent Form must be completed and signed by the family member and all adults in the household before the urgent placement commences. Subsequently, the carer must apply for a WWC Card within five days of the child being placed in their care. In an urgent placement, if  the family member or other adult household member/s has not applied for a WWC Card within five days, the child must be removed and the subsidy must cease (see flowcharts in related resources).

    A Department worker must complete Part 6 and 7 of the Application for a Working with Children Check form. The Department Screening Unit contact details must be inserted in Part 6 for the Screening Unit to receive the WWC notification letter when a WWC Card has been issued or denied (see example in related resources). Adult household members should note their role as 'Carer Household member' on the application form.

    The assessor must request a copy of the Australia Post WWC application receipt from the applicant, which confirms the application has been lodged. The receipt is usually from Australia Post but may be from the WWC Screening Unit where a person has not been able to attend an Australia Post outlet.

    The worker must update Assist with the WWC Check receipt number and date of lodgement. The receipt must be provided to the business manager to arrange recoup of the cost to the applicant and for scanning onto Objective.  Although this is the preferred method, where it is not possible for an applicant to attend the district office to provide a copy of the receipt in a timely manner (such as rural and remote locations), the applicant can telephone the district office and advise the CPW of the WWC application receipt number. In this instance, the applicant will need to post a copy of the receipt to the CPW at the district office, or give a copy to a remote CPW, who will provide it to the business manager for reimbursement of the cost.

    When the WWC Card is issued to the applicant, The Department's Screening Unit is sent the WWC notification letter, which includes a picture of the issued card. The Screening Unit enters the WWC Card information into Assist on behalf of the district and retains the notification letter.

    Under the WWC legislation, the WWC Card is valid for three years and portable across all types of child-related work unless there is a new charge or conviction that requires re-assessment of the person's eligibility to hold the WWC Card.

    For further details regarding the application process, refer to the flowcharts in related resources

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    Individuals with existing WWC Cards

    If the applicant already has a WWC Card because of other child-related work, the CPW must:

    • check that the WWC Card is valid via the WWC website https://workingwithchildren.wa.gov.au/
    • register the person’s employment details on the WWC website to show they are now ‘employed’ by the Department(click here to update details)  
    • record the WWC Card number, issue and expiry date on Assist and on the person’s Form 395 Record Check Consent Form 
    • check that the name and date of birth are consistent with records on Assist, and 
    • check that Form 395 is completed and sent to the Department's Screening Unit.
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    Monitoring and renewing WWC Cards

    The WWC information system automatically generates a WWC Expiry Notice.  This is sent to the carer three months before their WWC Card expires. The notice is sent to the address last recorded by the WWC Screening Unit.

    District offices monitor the status of carers' and adult household members' WWC Cards through the Critical Management Report (CMR) WWC Check – Carer Compliance Report in Assist on a regular basis and remind carers in their district to apply for renewal prior to expiry of their WWC Card.

    To reapply for a WWC Card that is close to expiring:

    • Carers must complete and submit an online renewal form via www.workingwithchildren.wa.gov.au or complete an Application for a Working with Children Check form and lodge it at an authorised Australia Post outlet. Identification requirements are detailed in the application form (in related resources), and information where a shortened identification process is possible is included in the notice of expiry.
    • A Department worker must complete Part 6 and 7 of the application form. The contact details of the Department's Screening Unit must be noted in Part 6 of the application form so that they receive the notification letter when a WWC Card has been issued or denied. Please refer to the Example WWC Application Form (in related resources).
    • A Department worker must request a copy of the Australia Post or WWC Screening Unit receipt from the applicant to confirm the application has been lodged. The worker must update Assist with the WWC application receipt number and date of lodgement. The receipt must be provided to the business manager to arrange reimbursement of the cost to the carer and for scanning onto Objective.  Although this is the preferred method, where it is not possible for the carer to attend the district office to lodge a copy of the receipt in a timely manner (such as rural and remote locations), they can telephone the district office and advise the CPW of the WWC application receipt number. In this instance, the carer will also need to post a copy of the receipt to the CPW at the district office, or give a copy to a remote CPW, who will provide it to the business manager for reimbursement of the cost.

    The CPW must contact a carer who has not applied for a new WWC Card one month before the date of expiry of their card. The CPW should assist the carer as much as possible to either renew online or to apply themselves in person at an authorised Australia Post outlet. The carer must be advised to contact their district office if they:

    • already have a renewed card
    • have lodged an application, or
    • require any further assistance with the renewal process.

    Carers who have still not applied for a new WWC Card

    The following must be sent by registered mail to carers who have still not applied for a new WWC Card:

    • Form 504 Working with Children Card Final Notice,
    • Application for a Working with Children Check, and the
    • Working with Children Check Frequently Asked Questions for Department Carers (all in related resources).

    The letter advises the carer they have until the expiry date of the WWC Card to apply, or the child will be removed and the subsidy will cease.

    The registered mail lodgement receipt has a tracking number to confirm delivery of the letter.  Save the Australia Post lodgement receipt for the letter to the Carer file to facilitate tracking and auditing of this process.  

    If the carer has not applied to renew their WWC Card by the expiry date of their current WWC Card, CPWs must remove the child and cease the subsidy. 

    Child protection workers must place an alert on Assist (with district director approval), and send Form 505 Working with Children Card Cessation Notice (in related resources) to the carer via registered mail. The letter states no child will be placed with them until they have a valid WWC Card. Save the registered mail lodgement receipt for the letter to the Carer file. 

    For further details regarding the renewal process, refer to the flowcharts in related resources.

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    Interstate considerations

     

    The state in which a carer was approved is not relevant; it is where the child-related work is provided.

    If a child in the CEO's care lives interstate with a WA approved carer, the carer is not required to have a WA WWC Check for care provided in another state or territory. The carer must have a  criminal and Client and Child Protection record check (through the Department's Screening Unit) and must comply with legislation that exists in the other state or territory.

    If the carer travels with, and provides care to a child in the CEO's care in WA (for example, on a holiday) for a period of up to two weeks in any 12 month period, they are exempt from having to apply for a WWC Check in WA. This exemption, for a carer not ordinarily a resident of WA, only applies during the two week period after the carer arrives in WA and cannot exceed a total of two weeks in any period of 12 months.

    If the child is in the care of another state, but is living with a carer in WA, the carer must have a WA WWC Check. The child-related work is being provided in WA and therefore the carer is subject to the Working with Children (Criminal Record Checking) Act 2004.

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    Contact with the Department's Screening Unit

     

    Child protection workers must notify the Department's Screening Unit if:

    • they become aware of any person being charged with, or convicted of, Class 1 or Class 2 offences (see Factsheet 4 in related resources), or any other offence, including charges or convictions relating to abuse in care, that the Department assesses as rendering the person inappropriate to carry out child-related work. While this is a general provision, it must also be observed in case practice regarding carers, persons living in carers' households and Department employees
    • a decision is made to cease the assessment of a proposed carer or adult household member (for example, the care arrangement is no longer required or seen as not suitable because of factors in the household)
    • a decision is made to cease placing children with a Department carer (including where a process is underway for the revocation of the carer's approval), and/or
    • a decision is made that an adult household member cannot have responsibilities for children in the care arrangement (including household members who are required to leave the home if the care arrangement is to continue).

    Please refer to Determining when a Department Record Check is Required in related resources for further information. Child protection workers must consult the Department's Screening Unit if unclear about the type of checks or actions required

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