To advise child protection workers of the requirement for appropriate and up-to-date client and child protection record checks, criminal record checks and Working with Children (WWC) Checks for any person engaged by Child Protection and Family Support division to work with children.
Child Protection and Family Support division's record screening policies and associated procedures are set out in a number of entries in the Administration Manual (see related resources).
Further information is also available in Determining when a Record Check is Required (in related resources).
WWC Check assessments are conducted by the WWC Screening Unit under the Working with Children (Criminal Record Checking) Act 2004 (WWC Act), and the outcome of a WWC application represents a formal decision of the Director General. An Interim Negative Notice or Negative Notice issued to a person by the WWC Screening Unit prohibits that person from doing child-related work, without exception, and must be immediately complied with by law.
If a child protection worker is asked to provide information to the WWC Screening Unit about an applicant for a WWC Check, either by the WWC Screening Unit or by the applicant, the worker’s role is to provide relevant documents and impartial information but not to convey any conclusion or opinion on whether the applicant represents a risk to children or whether a WWC Card should or should not be issued. Child protection workers must not advocate on behalf of any applicant for WWC Check purpose, including by expressing opinion to the applicant or providing written references.
While child protection workers are experienced in assessing a person’s safety with their own (or other known) children under the Children and Community Services Act 2004, they are not experienced in conducting assessments and applying the WWC Act and resultant case law. Staff are also unlikely to have all the information about the person’s behaviour that is known to the WWC Screening Unit. Additionally, WWC cardholders may do a wide variety of supervised or unsupervised child-related work with any children, where their background is not known and no safety plan is in place.
Further information about WWC Checks and legislation is available on the Working with Children Check website: https://workingwithchildren.wa.gov.au/.