Changing the Working with Children screening in Queensland

 

Hi there, today I want to write about a cause that has become apparent to me that I feel is unacceptable. It is in relation to the safety of children in the state of Queensland Australia and the manner in which checks are conducted to allow people to work with children in regulated settings (transport, child care, nursery etc). For further information, please check out the Change.org petition on this matter.

Currently people with history with the Department of Communities (Child Safety) can legitimately apply for a Blue Card and receive it due to a loophole in Blue Card screening procedures.

The concern that this petition addresses is that there is currently no mandatory check of Child Protection history when a Blue Card is issued meaning that people who may have been subject to Child Protection matters are able to seek employment in child related work.The reason behind this is that Child Protection matters are heard by the Children’s or Family Court and as a result do not appear on a person’s criminal history. Due to a difference in the balance of evidence required to substantiate claims a person could have their children removed due to direct child abuse, or due to serious concerns, however these claims may not then meet criteria under the Criminal Code. Blue Card checks only currently check convicted Criminal history.

If a person does have a child protection history, this must be notified to the Commision for Children, Young People and Child Guardian (CCYPCG) before they can act on it. In saying this, CCYPCG can only take action on this information if the applicant themselves approves Child Safety of releasing this information. If the applicant does not release the information the Blue Card can continue to be processed based on the ‘information available’. According to this procedure, a person may have had their children removed from their care, however be able to work in regulated child based employment as long as they do not have a criminal history in relation to children.

The concern with this procedure is that it potentially places children in daycare, schools and others industry in contact with people who may have their own child protection history.

The information that I have presented here has been given to me through conversations with staff at the CCYPCG and also through Child Safety, and are by no means spurious accussations about how this process works, this petition is based on the facts of how these cards are processed. So please, if you feel as strongly about this matter as I do, please sign the petition at Change.org

Cheers

Cameron

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