Children’s Worker’s Safety Checks: How they can help lower NZ’s alarming child abuse statistics

Children’s Worker’s Safety Checks: How they can help lower NZ’s alarming child abuse statistics

During the year ending 30 June 2018, more than 11,000 children in New Zealand were abused across 14,000 individual substantiated incidences.

Children’s Commission Judge Andrew Beacroft said the alarming figures – released by New Zealand’s Oranga Tamariki – Ministry for Children – are a sad insight.

“It presents a national and enduring shame that we should never accept in New Zealand, we are better than that. It is profoundly unacceptable,” he said.

From old care system to Oranga Tamariki

According to government officials early intervention is key to reducing the numbers of abused children in the country.

Oranga Tamariki is a government initiative that was established in 2017 to aid any child in New Zealand whose wellbeing is at significant risk of harm. It replaces the former Child, Youth and Family Services and rebuilds the old state care system. Yet according to Beacroft, the agency is years away from finding its feet.

“This is a once in a life time opportunity… we won’t get a second chance. With children we have to get it right.” 

Legislation in place – Next deadline 1 July 2019

Among the measures bought in to help protect and improve the wellbeing of vulnerable children in the New Zealand community is The Children’s Act 2014.

To comply with the act every person working with children in both central and local government must undergo safety screening – anyone with serious convictions are prohibited from working closely with children, unless granted an exemption.

While safety screening for core children’s workers started in 2015 and non-core workers in 2016, the Act requires the entire state-funded workforce must be checked by 1 July, 2019.

This means any existing non-core children’s workers will also need to have completed and passed stringent screening by the fast-approaching deadline.

What safety checks do workers need?

Under the Children’s Act 2014 it is a legislative requirement that all new and existing paid employees and contractors in a state-funded organisation completes a Children’s Worker Safety Check.

Children’s Worker Safety Checks gather key information about a person and evaluate this information to determine whether they pose a risk to children.

The checks include the following information:

  • identity verification;
  • police vetting;
  • reference checks;
  • employment verification checks;
  • checks with professional registration bodies or licensing authorities,
  • interviews;
  • and a risk assessment that considers the specific child safety related risk.

Where to get your checks?

The ministry has selected CV Check (NZ) Ltd as the exclusive third party provider of Children’s Workers Safety Checks for specific groups of children’s workers from the New Zealand Ministry of Health, New Zealand Ministry of Education and New Zealand Ministry of Social Development. CVCheck have also been Gazetted by the Director-General of Health.

To complete your employee checks, simply login to the CVCheck website, select your employees’ check type and CVCheck can do the rest. If you’re unsure which check type your employee needs, check out this handy guide, call 0800 282 432 or email [email protected] 

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