Getting them right!
About the Blue Card system
The Blue Card system:
- is a key prevention and monitoring system of people working with children and young people in Queensland
- aims to minimise the risks of harm to children and young people by contributing to the creation of safe and supportive environments, and
- is founded on the principle that all children have a fundamental right to be protected from harm.
Some points to note:
Make sure your policies are up to date in terms of how to keep children safe. Emotionally, physically and otherwise. Accidents, sexual harassment and molestation are part of this and it is important to have risk management strategies in place.
How you as a business owner / organisation with staff, a board and volunteers engage with children may have an impact on whether and what kind of blue card you need for these individuals. Check this on the Blue Card “working with children website” – it is comprehensive and you will be able to find out who needs a card and who doesn’t.
- When you apply for a blue card for a paid employee – these employees can start straight away working with children.
- When you apply for a blue card for an volunteer – you need to wait until the card is issued, which is when you receive the ‘Issue of Blue Card and positive notice letter’. It takes about a month from application to issue and perhaps a little longer in peak times, e.g. in March when all sorts of sports and student placements start up.
- When you have a teacher or police officer working with children but not in a teaching or policing capacity, you need to apply for an ‘Exemption Card’. Look up other roles and professions to see if a blue card is required.
- When someone who already has a blue card comes and works for you – link them to your organisation – via a form available on the website.
- When someone with a blue card ceases to work with you – unlink them from your organisation.
- Out of state people with their state equivalent of a blue card, need to get a Queensland one. Interstate cards are not valid in Queensland. So if you have a student placement from interstate, apply about 2 months in advance to be sure that they have a blue card.
- Filling out a Blue card application can be now done online. Here is the link: Blue card and exemption card application. You will still need to print them, sign them, scan them etc. but it ensures that all the boxes are ticked and information is provided (except for the signing etc of course). This reduces the chance of incomplete forms being returned to you, which causes the application to be delayed.
- Keep a register of who works for your organisation and blue card details, including the blue card number, expiry date, application date, issue date, whether they are linked and put in your calendar when you need to apply for a new card for individuals – about 6 weeks out from the expiry date – reminders from the Department work, but it’s up to you to stay on the ball.
- When applying for a blue card, make sure that your organisation’s representative sights proof of ID understands that it is an offence to provide a false or misleading statement.
The Department of Justice, which manages the Working with Children Blue Card system, looks at the past (assessment of police and disciplinary information), the present (monitoring and compliance) and the future (child and youth risk management strategies)
The Child and Youth Risk Management Strategy lists 8 mandatory requirements that you must meet, including a statement of commitment, a code of conduct, a recruitment, selection, training and management strategy, how to report disclosures and suspicions of harm, how to manage breaches, risk management plans for high risk activities, how to manage compliance with the blue card system and how to communicate and provide support.
Have a look at the range of resources available for child and youth risk management strategy. All resources can be found on the Resources page of the Blue Card Services website.
There is an online suite of online videos (YouTube), including resources for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to assist completing the blue card application process.
The Child and Youth Risk Management Strategy Toolkit is designed to assist with the development and implementation of appropriate child and youth risk management strategies, and to provide information and guidance on the eight mandatory requirements.
On 12 June 2018, the Queensland Government announced that they will provide additional funding over the next three years to further strengthen the blue card system by introducing a ‘No Card, No Start’ approach. This will mean that all people working with children will require a blue card before they can start child-related work.
For further information, please call Blue Card Services on 1800 113 611 or 07 3211 6999 or visit the website at www.bluecard.qld.gov.au.