A key objective of the Children’s Action Plan is to develop a safe and competent children’s workforce who can better identify, support and protect vulnerable children. The Vulnerable Children Act 2014 (the Act) introduced measures that will ensure that children can be better protected from abuse and neglect both in their homes and in the community.
Under the Act a workforce restriction has been developed preventing people with certain serious convictions from being employed as a core children’s worker, unless they have been granted a Core Worker Exemption. These convictions are specified in Schedule 2 of the Act.
The workforce restriction has applied since 1 July 2015 to people seeking new roles as core children’s workers, prohibiting their employment unless they held an Exemption.
From 1 July 2016 the workforce restriction will apply to those employees and contractors already employed in core workforce roles.
Further information for employers is provided on the Ministry of Health website http://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/health-workforce/childrens-action-plan-childrens-worker-safety-checking-and-child-protection-policies and the Children’s Action Plan website http://childrensactionplan.govt.nz/childrens-workforce/the-workforce-restriction
Information for Employers
When the transition period for existing core workers ends on 1 July 2016, if employers believe that a core worker they employ or engage has a conviction for a specified offence and does not have a Core Worker Exemption then they must apply Section 28 of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014. Section 28 outlines a process of suspension and possible termination that employers or funders must follow http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/2014/0040/latest/DLM5501710.html
Reminder of significant dates for children’s worker safety checking and Core Worker Exemptions
The Vulnerable Children Act 2014 requires all paid employees and contractors who work with children for state-funded organisations to be safety checked over a four year phased period. This phased approach provides organisations with enough time to comply with the new regulations and also prioritises safety checking of their children’s workforce. The key dates for conducting the children’s workforce safety checks, including workforce exemptions, are:
The entire state-funded children’s workforce is required to be safety checked by 1 July 2019 and workers need to be rechecked every three years.
If you require further information or clarity please contact Cory Vessey on firstname.lastname@example.org.