The Working With Children (WWC) Check Team is a generous sponsor of the WA Child Safety Awards night, and play a key role in keeping children safe in Western Australia through the WWC Check screening strategy. The WWC team is part of the Department for Child Protection and Family Support, and are a key player in promoting child safety in Western Australia. They provide a holistic solution to child safety, by informing organizations of their legal obligations towards child safety, ensuring compliance with these obligations, continuously monitoring WWC card-holders to ensure that they are still child-safe, and encouraging child-safe practices within organizations and the wider community.
We caught up with Susan Burton, Community Engagement and Policy Manager at WWC, to learn some more about the great work that they’re doing.
Tell us about the importance of the WWC Check in keeping WA's children safe:
The WWC Check is a compulsory screening strategy in WA that aims to keep children safe by ‘checking’ certain people in ‘child-related work’. Unlike other criminal record screening, the WWC Check includes ongoing checking so if a person is charged with a relevant offence while holding a WWC Card their eligibility to hold a Card is re-assessed.
What are some of the challenges that the WWC team faces?
The WWC team faces many challenges. One of the challenges is educating organisations that the WWC Check is only one of many strategies needed to safeguard children. Not all people working with children require a WWC Check, it is therefore important for organisations to have a range of strategies to create a child-safe and friendly environment.
How do you get the message out to the public about the importance of the WWC Check?
The WWC team travel throughout the state delivering face-to-face workshops about the WWC Check and child safeguarding. This outreach complements our website information and advertising. We also work with partners such as Constable Care and the WA Sports Federation to promote child safeguarding.
Is the WWC team involved in any other initiatives besides the Check?
Yes, the WWC team is involved in promoting child safety in many settings including partnering in the Safe Clubs 4 Kids program and the WA Child Safety Awards.
What are some of the successes in your organization that you're the most proud of?
This year has seen many successes including the WWC Check’s tenth birthday, almost one million WWC Cards issued, the launch of our new online services and the fantastic partnerships with many organisations.
Do you have any tips for organizations to become more child-safe?
Organisations should make sure they choose the right people. Good interviewing, background checking, screening and continued support and training will make sure organisations always have the best person for the job.
What inspired the WWC Check to sponsor the Child Safety Awards?
The WWC team is committed to promoting and creating safer environments for children in WA, sponsoring the Awards was one way to recognise the great contribution made by employees.