Criminal history requirements for centre-based services

This page is current as of 1 October 2017.

Considering a person’s criminal history is an important part in assessing whether that person is suitable to be involved with the education and care of children.

This page provides a summary of the criminal history requirements of the Education and Care Services National Law Act 2010 (National Law) and the Education and Care Services National Regulations 2011 (National Regulations) and National Quality Framework in relation to the following:

  • Working with Children Checks and Victorian Institute of Teaching (VIT) registration requirements for people engaged or employed at an education and care service.
  • Fitness and propriety assessment for approved providers, persons with management or control, nominated supervisors and persons in day-to-day charge of education and care services.

Working with Children Checks

In Victoria, a Working with Children Check in an ongoing assessment by the Department of Justice and Regulation of a person’s eligibility to hold a Working with Children Check card.

A Working with Children Check card is issued to a person after an assessment of their criminal history and a finding that they are suitable for child-related work has been made.

Working with Children Checks are managed by the Department of Justice and Regulation in accordance with the Working with Children Act 2005. Once a card has been issued, the cardholder will be subject to ongoing criminal history assessments while the card is valid.

The Working with Children Check is valid for five years and for any further extension of time specified in the Working with Children Act 2005 (unless suspended or revoked sooner). Services are able to verify at any time that a Working with Children Check is valid by referring to the Department of Justice and Regulation's Working with Children Check website

To meet the requirements of the National Law and National Regulations, a current Working with Children Check card or verification that the person’s Working With Children Check is current via the Department of Justice Working with Children Check website is required.

The stamped receipt issued by the Department of Justice on lodgement of an application for a Working with Children Check is not acceptable.

It is an offence under the Working with Children Act 2005 to knowingly undertake child-related work or to engage a person in child-related work without a current assessment notice or card. This may result in a fine or imprisonment.

A person moving from one state or territory to another must comply with the relevant working with children law in that state or territory.

Suspension or cancellation of a Working with Children Check

An approved provider must notify the Regulatory Authority in writing of the suspension or cancellation of a Working with Children Check card held by a nominated supervisor or certified supervisor. Failure to comply with this requirement is an offence under the National Law (section 173).

Work requirements in education and care service

Nominated supervisors and staff members

Nominated supervisors and all staff members of an education and care service must hold a current Working with Children Check or current VIT registration when they commence work at an education and care service.

Approved providers must read, or ensure that the nominated supervisor or certified supervisor in day to day charge of the service has read, a person’s current Working with Children Check before that person is engaged as an educator at the service.

Where a person holds a VIT registration, the approved provider, nominated supervisor or certified supervisor in day to day charge of the education and care service must check the VIT Register to ensure the person is registered (regulation 358(4)) prior to them becoming an educator at the service.

Registered teachers

Persons who are registered as a teacher with the VIT in accordance with the Education and Training Reform Act 2006 are not required to have a current Working with Children Check. The person’s VIT registration must be confirmed as current via the VIT Register and a record of the identifying number and the expiry date of that registration must be kept on their staff record and the nominated supervisor’s staff record (regulation 147 and 146, respectively).

Notification of suspension or cancellation of a VIT registration

An approved provider must notify the Regulatory Authority in writing of the suspension or cancellation of VIT registration held by a nominated supervisor. Failure to comply with this requirement is an offence under the National Law (section 173).

Volunteers

Volunteers must hold a current Working with Children Check or VIT registration unless the person is under the immediate supervision of an educator who has attained the age of 18 years and holds (or is actively working towards) an approved diploma level education and care qualification (regulation 358(3)).

Prior to permitting a person to be a volunteer at the service, the approved provider must, or ensure the nominated supervisor or certified supervisor in day to day charge of the service has:

  • read a person’s Working with Children Check before a person is permitted to be a volunteer at an education and care service (regulation 358(1)); or
  • checked the VIT Register to ensure the person is registered (regulation 358(3) and 358(4)). 

Educators and volunteers under 18 years of age

If a Working with Children Check cannot be issued to an educator or volunteer because of their age, that is they are under 18 years of age, they are not required to have a Working with Children Check. 

In this case the educator must be under the immediate supervision of an educator who has attained the age of 18 years and holds (or is actively working towards) an approved diploma level education and care qualification (regulation 358(2)).

Contractors

Contractors (for example, gardeners or tradespeople) who are not employed, appointed or engaged to work in or as part of an education and care service may remain at an education and care service premises without holding a Working with Children Check (section 170(5)(e)) as long as they are not left alone with any child being educated and cared for by the service.

Approved providers from other jurisdictions

Where provider approval has been granted in a state other than Victoria, the approved provider is required to obtain a Working with Children Check if they will be directly providing education and care to children in Victoria.

Maintaining records

Approved providers must ensure that a record of the identifying number and expiry date of either a Working with Children Check or VIT registration is kept on each staff record (regulation 147). Details of a current Working with Children Check or VIT registration and the respective expiry date must also be kept on the staff record for the nominated supervisor (regulation 146).

Fitness and Propriety

Applying for provider approval

When applying to become an approved provider specific criminal history information must be submitted as a part of the application so that the Regulatory Authority may assess whether the person is fit and proper (section 13 and regulation 16). 

To ensure all the necessary information is provided by applicants, applications for provider approval must be submitted using the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) form, Application for Provider Approval (PA01) and be accompanied by the necessary Declaration of Fitness and Propriety (PA02) forms.

Both forms are available from ACECQA and specify what supporting documents are required

Applying for a supervisor certificate

As of 1 October 2017, supervisor certificates are no longer required.

Definitions

A centre-based service

An education and care service other than a family day care service, and includes pre-schools, long day care and outside school hours care services.

Staff member 

Includes individuals (other than the nominated supervisor and volunteers) employed, appointed or engaged to work in or as part of education and care service.

Criminal history

A collective term to refer to the Working with Children Check, criminal history check and criminal history statement as required by the National Regulations.

Working with Children Check

this is issued by the Department of Justice and Regulation in accordance with the Working with Children Act 2005.