SA to spend $6.5m to keep tabs on teachers, carers

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SA to spend $6.5m to keep tabs on teachers, carers

Steps up approach to working with children checks.

The South Australian government will spend $6.5 million to build a new system that allows the state’s employers to continuously monitor the criminal history of workers that come into contact with children and other vulnerable members of the community.

The Department of Communities and Social Inclusion will be put in charge of setting up the new capability, which will cost $1.4 million a year to operate once it is up and running.

It will draw data out of the national CrimTrac database and Families SA records.

At present, working with children checks are renewed once every three years in the state, creating a long window for risky employees to slip between the updates in the screening process.

The announcement comes in response to the recommendations of the royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse, which has called for the continuous monitoring of national police records on a coordinated, Australia-wide basis.

At present most states and territories can only check against their own criminal records on an ongoing basis, which blocks a national visibility of individuals that could pose a child safety threat.

Communities and Social Inclusion Minister Zoe Bettinson said the new system should be finished by mid 2017.

Employers, volunteer groups and student organisations will be able to access the updated status of the checks via a secure online register.

“Once implemented, South Australia will have the most comprehensive screening process in Australia because we will be the only jurisdiction with continuous monitoring of both criminal history and child protection information,” she said.

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