As a church community, CoroUniting takes the safety of the children in our care very seriously. The new Working with Children Checks that need to be undertaken for anyone in a role of responsibility with children are an important part of this.
Working with Children Checks
Working with Children Checks (WWCCs) are a government assessment to check whether or not an individual is safe to work with children.
See our Working with Children Checks resource page for further information.
Responding to Child Abuse and Neglect
Any person who works or volunteers in a church is obliged by law to notify the Department for Child Protection (formerly Families SA) if they suspect on reasonable grounds that a child or young person has been or is being abused or neglected and the suspicion is formed in the course of the person's work (whether paid or voluntary) or in carrying out official duties.
Notification to the Child Abuse Report Line (13 14 78) must be made as soon as practicable after the person forms the suspicion. See below for more information.
Safe Environments Training
Part of the church's ongoing best practices is to provide training opportunities for people to understand their legal responsibility for Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect. We offer the “Safe Environments – Through their eyes” training course. This is the standard accredited package with all trainers approved by the department to deliver this content, however please note that this is not the DECD RAN version of the course. This educative awareness training is for anyone who has contact with children and vulnerable people and covers:
More information, including training dates can be found on the SA Synod Safe Church Training Courses web page.
CoroUniting church will cover the cost of anyone working or volunteering with children within the church who would like to undergo this course. Please contact our Safe Church Congregation Liaison (Sue Laycock) to make the necessary arrangements.
Reporting concerns and matters of abuse
Current situations: If you believe a child or adult is in immediate danger please call SA Police on 000.
If the concern relates to a child at risk of harm or potentially at risk call the Child Abuse Report Line (CARL) on 13 14 78.
If any of the above involves any person in a leadership / role of responsibility within the church please notify the Safe Church Committee by telephoning (08) 8236 4268 or by email.
Can't find your ID?
If you have a current, valid Uniting Church Screening Check (ie. the old 'Police Check') and you can't find your ID you can recover this via this online portal.
Additional Screening Checks and further resources
Certain roles within the life of the church require additional Screening Checks as detailed on our Duty of Care at CoroUniting resource page.
See the linked documents and website for further details including links to:
Throughout 2019 a number of us read the Bible together as a part of our desire to be a people focused on Jesus. This was a part of a three year Bible Reading Plan and 2020 will be year 2. It has been really helpful and fun for those of us who followed this in 2019. We encourage everyone, even if you missed out last year, to join with us this year and be encouraged as we encounter God through the Bible readings each week.
We've got a few options on how you can join us below. Developing a Bible reading habit can be challenging so let’s do it together. By doing so, not only will you read the Bible (either by yourself or in groups) but you have the opportunity to share with others the insights you are gaining from the readings and be encouraged to keep going.
We are following Tim Chester’s 3-year Bible Reading Plan which will take us through the Old Testament once and the New Testament twice (see the back of this flyer). It’s in weekly chunks so there is no pressure if you happen to miss a day. It’s flexible and manageable.
There are a range of ways you could join us:
- Read the set readings on your own and prayerfully journal your thoughts.
- Read the readings, journal your thoughts and have a weekly catch up with two others (a reflection triplet) in person over a cuppa or over the phone or skype. Sign up on the church website/app or [email the Church Office](mailto:%email@example.com).
- Join the WhatsApp group by texting Cat Patrick on 0425 752 140 and share your thoughts with a group of us.
- Get your Life Group involved and use the readings as the basis of your sharing each week.
- Join Simon 9am Saturdays from 1 February in the chapel for shared reading.
[See here for the 2019 reading list](https://www.corouniting.org/news/2019-bible-reading-plan)
What different Screening Checks are there?
There are several different Screening Checks that may be required for people who volunteer or work in the Uniting Church. The most common of these are:
- [Working with Children Checks](https://screening.sa.gov.au/types-of-check/new-working-with-children-checks) (WWCCs)
- [General Employment Probity Checks](https://screening.sa.gov.au/types-of-check/general-employment)
- [Vulnerable Person Related Employment Checks](https://screening.sa.gov.au/types-of-check/vulnerable-people)
How do I know which Screening Check I need?
The [Information on the Screening and Authority Process](https://sa.uca.org.au/documents/safe-church/screening/Information-on-the-screening-and-authority-process.pdf) sheet includes details about which Screening Checks are needed when. This information is summarised below:
Working with Children Check (WWCC) - valid for 5 years (portable)
See our [Working with Children Check](https://www.corouniting.org/resources/working-with-children-checks) resource page for information or continue reading to apply for one.
General Employment Probity Check - valid for 3 years (non-portable) and required for:
- Ministry Agents in active service (eg. Ministers and Pastors) and employees in the church
- Church Council members and office bearers
- Anyone who is rostered or requested by a church leader to drive members to/from church activities
- Anyone who deals with or handles money
Vulnerable Person Related Employment Check - valid for 3 years (portable) and required for:
- Ministry Agents in active service (eg. Ministers and Pastors) and employees in the church
- Anyone who undertakes intentional pastoral care on behalf of the congregation
- Anyone who leads or assists with worship services in aged care facilities or hospitals
- Anyone who works with refugees or migrants
- Anyone offering social support services (eg. counselling, financial support, soup kitchen)
So, how do I apply for these Screening Checks?
Screening Check requests are facilitated by the SA Synod via an application made on the [Safe Church Screening](https://sa.uca.org.au/safechurch/screening) page. Information collected from this application will initiate a Screening Check with the DHS.
Use [this flowchart](https://www.corouniting.org/d/FaeybjdxhLl5IZu5i6ip5N86g) (which refers to the below two information sheets) to follow the process through.
- [Information on the Screening and Authority Process](https://sa.uca.org.au/documents/safe-church/screening/Information-on-the-screening-and-authority-process.pdf)
- [Process for Screening Checks](https://sa.uca.org.au/documents/safe-church/screening/process-for-screening-checks.pdf)
If you have any queries, please contact our [Safe Church Congregation Liaison](mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org) (Sue Laycock).
* Note that if you are under 18 you will still need to go through the first part of this process, however you will be unable to verify your ID online and will need to complete a 100 point check via the DHS website.
* Note that if you don't have an Australian driver's licence and an Australian passport (acceptable even if expired for up to two years) or a numbered Australian birth certificate or a numbered Australian citizenship certificate, you will need to complete this [100 Point Identity Verification Check](https://sa.uca.org.au/documents/safe-church/screening/100-point-form.pdf) instead of using the online DHS process.
What is a Working with Children Check, and do I need one?
A [Working with Children Check](https://screening.sa.gov.au/types-of-check/new-working-with-children-checks) (WWCC) is a government assessment to check whether or not an individual is safe to work with children.
A WWCC is needed for all people who work or volunteer with children, however given the definition of 'child related work' in South Australia (see [here](https://sa.uca.org.au/safechurch/screening) for details), the Uniting Church has decided that everyone in a role of responsibility within the church (ie. all leaders and helpers aged 14+) must have a valid WWCC.
What about the existing Police Check forms?
The new WWCCs were introduced on 1 July 2019 and are stronger, more effective and more transparent than the previous Uniting Church Screening Checks ('Police Checks').
From now until 30 June 2020 we are in a transition period as the new WWCC process is established. During this time:
- DHS/DCSI child-related employment screening clearances that are current and valid will be recognised as WWCCs under the law, until they expire, however note below process to register this clearance with the church;
- Uniting Church Screening Checks (ie. the previous 'Police Checks') that are current and valid will be recognised as WWCCs under the law until 1 July 2020 (unless they expire earlier). If you hold an existing check with an expiry date after 1 July 2020, you will need to apply for a new WWCC before May 2020 (to ensure sufficient processing time).
I already have a valid DHS/DCSI clearance... do I need to do anything?
Yes - you need to do two things:
- Inform our [Safe Church Congregation Liaison](mailto:email@example.com) (Sue Laycock) who will make a record of the number.
- Complete [this online form](https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=r0DtqNz2okaIje65rSzlomtw-plBPQ1ItEpJ2qPlNsFUQUpENlNBOTNGWkJUUUlVTVpRVkM2WEtFTCQlQCN0PWcu), entering the number of your valid clearance at Question 13 and continuing to see whether further [Screening Checks](https://www.corouniting.org/resources/screening-checks) are required. This enables the Uniting Church to register an interest in your valid DHS/DCSI clearance.
What's the difference between the old and new checks?
There are several differences, including:
- The new checks are portable, in other words WWCCs from another organisation are now able to be recognised by the Uniting Church, ie. there is no longer a need to complete a specific Uniting Church check if you already have a valid WWCC through another organisation (eg. via the Education Department)
- The new checks are valid for 5 years (previously 3 years) and are now continuously monitored
The new checks remain free for all volunteers. For more FAQs see pp.5-6 of the [Information on the Screening and Authority Process](https://sa.uca.org.au/documents/safe-church/screening/Information-on-the-screening-and-authority-process.pdf) information sheet.
I think I may need a new WWCC... what do I need to do?
Make yourself a cup of tea and head over to our [Screening Checks](https://www.corouniting.org/resources/screening-checks) resource page for further information.