Working with children requirements

Working With Children Check

Employers have legal obligations around working with children. It is against the law to engage anyone who is 18 years or above in child-related work without a current Working With Children Check (the Child Protection (Working with Children) Act 2012).

Services should ensure that they have systems in place to regularly check the currency and validity of Working With Children Checks for educators, volunteers, students and other staff. For family day care (FDC) services, the approved provider must also ensure Working with Children Checks for FDC assistants and people aged 18 years or over who reside at an FDC residence (regulation 163). Keep accurate records to ensure you continue to meet your obligations.

Information and resources can be found on the Office of the Children’s Guardian website. Other helpful information might include:

A Working With Children Check is the assessment of a person’s ability to work safely with children based on any known incidents that indicate the person poses a risk of harm. It is important services implement child safe practices in addition to adhering with Working With Children Check requirements to ensure the safety of children.

Staff, volunteers or students under the age of 18

Individuals under 18 years old are exempt from holding a Working With Children Check. This means there is no restriction on engaging a staff member, volunteer or student who is under 18 years old in a service.

Under the Education and Care Services National Regulations, educators under the age of 18 must not work alone at a service and must be adequately supervised by an educator over the age of 18 at all times (regulation 120). Persons in day-to-day charge, nominated supervisors and family day care educators and assistants must be at least 18 years old (regulation 117B, 117C and 119).

Additional child safe strategies to consider if engaging someone under 18 might include:

  • providing clear expectations about staff interactions with children
  • review of onboarding and induction processes, and providing additional training and guidance for new staff as required
  • organisations can undertake a police check if needed (a guardian is required to sign on behalf of the person under 18).

Child protection training

Child protection training is an important way for educators to develop skills and knowledge to support and protect children who are at risk of harm, address educators’ duty of care requirements, and promote children’s rights and safety.

In NSW, nominated supervisors and persons in day-to-day charge must complete a child protection course approved by the NSW Regulatory Authority (section 162A of the National Law). Services also have ongoing responsibilities to ensure that the nominated supervisor, staff members, volunteers and students at the service maintain up-to-date knowledge of child protection law and their obligations under this law (regulation 84 of the National Regulations).

For more information, see the department’s guidance on Child protection training requirements. This includes information on services’ child protection training and awareness requirements, approved courses refresher training, and considerations under the National Quality Standard.

In addition to the information on working with children requirements provided on this page, there are minimum qualification requirements for staff working in services. More information on qualification requirements can be found on ACECQA’s website.


  • Early childhood education

Business Unit:

  • NSW ECEC Regulatory Authority
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