Essential guide to changes in NSW child protection laws in 2018 for child care and youth workers

Essential guide to changes in NSW child protection laws in 2018 for child care and youth workers

If you are a childcare or youth worker, it can be easy to have the latest changes to the law slip past you. Especially since government agencies can change laws one by one, and seem to manage to hide vital news pages deep on already difficult to digest websites.

For your convenience, we have collated the 2018 legislative changes that affect childcare and youth workers, and at the end, we have collated some useful resources, so don’t forget to bookmark this page for reference.

We also have Child Protection Courses, and Child Protection Refreshers if you would like to get deeper into this vital subject.


Major change – keeping your details up to date.

The NSW government has strengthened the rules around personal information for those cleared to work with children.

It is now an offence for those with clearance not to update their personal details within three months of the changes occurring, with a potential for five penalty units.

Changes to any of the following details must be updated using the form linked below.

  • Full name
  • Address,
  • Contact details,
  • Current employer or proposed employer,
  • Any other information of a kind prescribed by the regulations.

If you’re reading this and you’re details have changed, stop reading and jump in here now! Update NSW Working With Children Check registration details

Phew! Now that’s checked and done, on to the next changes…

Significant change – clarify “Child Related Work”.

The definition of “child-related work” has been clarified, and is now defined as those “having contact with children as a usual part of their work but only those with more than incidental contact”.

For childcare and early education, these are the points that apply the most;

Early education and childcare

  1. Work in education and care services, child care centres, nanny services and other childminding services provided on a commercial basis is child-related work.
  2. Work in providing babysitting services is child-related work unless the services are provided under a private arrangement (whether or not a fee is payable).
  3. Work as an au pair is child-related work if the work involves the provision of childcare.


  1. Work in schools or other educational institutions (other than universities) is child-related work.
  2. Work providing private coaching or tuition to children is child-related work.

Here is more information about what is considered “child-related work”; What is Child-related work

Other miscellaneous changes that may affect childcare and youth work.

  • Working With Children Check regulations have been amended to clarify that work in children’s health services is deemed as requiring a Working With Children Check.
  • It is now an offence for an employer to fail to verify workers in child-related work without a reasonable excuse, and a maximum penalty of 100 penalty units applies in the case of a corporation and 50 penalty units in any other case.
  • Non-government agencies are now required to provide information relevant to an assessment of whether a person poses a risk to the safety of children in response to a request from the Office of the Children’s Guardian.
  • A maximum penalty of 5 penalty units for refusal to comply with an enforcement notice applies.
  • All parents volunteering for overnight camps for children, at an activity in which their child normally participates, are now required to have a Working With Children Check  
  • Definition of risk to the safety of children means a ‘real and appreciable risk to the safety of children’

In parting…

The changes in child protection laws in NSW are meant to heighten the sensitivity towards the welfare, safety and wellbeing of children and youth. All child care and youth workers need to work strictly within the law to protect all children and youths from any form of abuse and neglect.

There are more legislative changes which you can read about here to find out how they impact you, as we’ve only listed the changes that we feel are the most relevant to childcare and youth workers.

Useful links

Kids Guardian website

Child Protection (Working with Children) Amendment (Statutory Review) Act 2018 No 14

List of legislative changes 2018


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