The Child Safety (Prohibited Persons) Act 2016 (SA) and Child Safety (Prohibited Persons) Regulations 2019 (SA) came into force on 1 July 2019. Under this legislation, it is an offence for a person to work with children in South Australia without having obtained a working with children check in the last 5 years [see Child Safety (Prohibited Persons) Act 2016 (SA) s 16]. The maximum penalty for a first or second offence is a fine of $20,000 and for a third or subsequent offence, a fine of $50,000 or imprisonment for one year.

Those who work with children and as of 1 July have not yet had a national police check screening conducted by their organisation, or a working with children check conducted by the screening unit in the last 3 years (see What if a person has already had a screening check?), and are not excluded from the requirement to have a check (see Who is excluded from the requirement to have a check?), should apply for a working with children check without delay. A person cannot legally work with children while waiting for a working with children check to be processed*, which may take up to six weeks. *A temporary exemption was made on 3 February 2022, and applies until 3 February 2023, if certain criteria can be met (see Can I work whilst my application for working with children check is pending?).

If a person is in doubt about whether they require a working with children check or whether they are otherwise prohibited from working with children (See Who is prohibited from working with children?), they should have a look at the website of the Department of Human Services Screening Unit (opens new window) or seek legal advice.

The information in this section applies from 1 July 2019.