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Child protection screening dropped for parent volunteers

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Parents and guardians volunteering at schools and preschools will no longer have to be screened, under child protection policy changes in place from today.

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The State Government says the lifting of relevant history screening for working with children will make it easier for parents and guardians to volunteer their time at the child’s school and preschool activities.

Sporting and community groups using school facilities can now determine if screening is required and what type may be needed, in line with current legislation.

Education and Child Development Minister Susan Close said screening was removed to reduce confusion and simplify the process for school communities.

“We want to make it easier for parents and guardians to help out at school, but not at the expense of protecting our children,” Close said.

New Education Minister Susan Close.

Education Minister Susan Close.

“Our schools greatly value the time that parents and guardians give up voluntarily to support their child’s education, and the changes will ensure there are no unnecessary barriers to them volunteering.

“Where possible with our current legislation, we have aligned amendments to be consistent with recommendations in the Working with Children Checks Report.”

Screening will still apply to all DECD employees, volunteers working with Families SA or children with disabilities, and anyone, including parents or guardians, attending overnight camps and school sleepovers.

Close said the changes also removed the DCSI child-related employment screening for some governing council members.

“We know that screening is one measure that can deter people with recorded child protection concerns from volunteering or working at schools or with children but it is not foolproof.

“I remind anyone who works with children that we must always be vigilant in watching over and protecting children in our care.”

Volunteers who are not parents or guardians, such as community members, contractors and third-party providersm will still require a child-related employment screening.

The changes were made following recommendations outlined in the Working with Children Checks Report of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

 

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