New safety regulations for children’s workforce

  • Anne Tolley
Social Development

Social Development Minister Anne Tolley says that new mandatory safety checking requirements for people who work with children will provide greater protection for our youngest New Zealanders.

The new regulations, which come into effect on 1 July for all new core children’s workers, include a Police vet, a full identity check, comprehensive reference checking, candidate interviews and a risk assessment before they commence employment or contract work.

The checks must be applied by all employers in government agencies and organisations funded by the government and are a key part of the Vulnerable Children Act and the Children’s Action Plan.

“We must do everything we can to keep our children safe from abuse, and the new regulations provide the most consistent and comprehensive mandatory checks that have ever been in place for children’s workers,” says Mrs Tolley.

“The vast majority of the children’s workforce are safe and do an excellent job, and the new checks will help identify any potential predators before they have a chance of coming into contact with kids.

“By introducing mandatory regulations for employers, supported by advice and guidance, we are giving them the support they need to ensure our children are safe and protected.”

The checks, beginning on 1 July, will initially cover core employees starting a new job such as doctors, teachers, nurses, paediatricians and social workers, who work alone with or have core responsibility over children.

The changes represent the first phase of safety check requirements for state-funded children’s workers, which are being gradually introduced and also include:

  • 1 July 2016 - new non-core workers starting a job or contract
  • 1 July 2018 - core workers currently employed
  • 1 July 2019 - non-core workers currently employed

“The phasing in of the changes will allow employers to carefully implement the regulations over the next few years,” says Mrs Tolley.

“The regulations were developed following considerable consultation and feedback from the health, education and social service sectors and I want to thank them all for their support and hard work.”

The regulations and further information can be found at: