Monday, 2 July 2007

Blue Cards Required for Family Dispute Resolution Practitioners in Qld

Compliance with s.60D of the Family Law Regulations 1984 – Queensland working with children legislation and the requirement to obtain a Blue Card


Issue:


Is it necessary for a person who is applying for registration as a family dispute resolution (FDR) provider, and who intends to provide FDR services in Queensland, to have applied for or obtained a blue card?


Response:


In Queensland, certain limited categories of persons who intend to apply for registration as an FDR provider will need to apply for and obtain a ‘blue card’, in order to meet the registration requirement set out in paragraph 60D(1)(d) of the Family Law Regulations 1984 (the Regulations).


As part of the eligibility requirements for registration as an FDR provider, where a person intends to provide FDR services in Queensland, they must have complied with the laws in Queensland relating to employment of persons working with children.


Who is required to obtain a Blue Card?


A person will need a blue card if they propose to work, in a paid or voluntary capacity, or to carry on a business, in a child-related area regulated by the Commission for Children and Young People and Child Guardian Act 2000 (Qld) (the Act).


The Act sets out the categories of people who need a blue card. Unless the Act requires it, a person will not need to apply for or obtain a blue card in order to apply for registration as an FDR practitioner.


The requirements differ for each category of persons and exemptions apply.


Requirements relevant to FDR providers:


A person carrying on a business as a family dispute resolution (FDR) provider in Queensland needs a blue card if they:


provide counselling or a similar support service1 to a child in a situation where:
the person is physically present with the child while no-one else is present; or
the person is not physically present with the child (eg. counselling/guidance provided over the Internet or by telephone)*.
A paid employee who provides FDR in Queensland will need a blue card if, over the course of 12 months, as a usual function of their employment, they:

provide or are likely to provide counselling or a similar support service to a child where:
they will be physically present with a child while no-one else is present; or
they will not be physically present with the child (e.g. they provide the service over the telephone or internet)*,
for at least:
eight consecutive days, or
once a week, each week, over four weeks, or
once a fortnight, each fortnight, over eight weeks, or
once a month, each month over six months.
The paid employee FDR provider will be exempted from the requirement to obtain a blue card if they provide the service in their capacity as an employee of a "government service provider"2 that carries on a business which includes providing counselling or a similar support service.

A volunteer who provides FDR in Queensland will need a blue card if, as a usual function of their employment, they:

are providing or likely to provide counselling or a similar support service to a child where:
they will be physically present with a child while no-one else is present; or
they will not be physically present with the child (e.g. they provide the service over the telephone or internet)*.
The volunteer FDR provider will be exempted from the requirement to obtain a blue card if they are providing the service in their capacity as an employee of a "government service provider" that carries on a business which includes providing counselling or a similar support service.

*Note: persons who provide telephone or web-based counselling or other support services to a child while no-one else is present will need a blue card.


Whether or not a particular FDR provider will satisfy the above requirements will depend on the type of service they provide (eg. child-inclusive practice). It may be unlikely that an FDR provider will require a blue card if the only connection their work has with children is that they are capable of accessing children’s records.


General information about blue card eligibility can be obtained by contacting the Commission for Children and Young People on (07) 3247 5525 or (toll free) 1800 688 275.

Is it necessary to have obtained the blue card before applying for registration as an FDR practitioner?

Not for paid employees, who can commence work pending the outcome of their blue card application.

However, volunteers and persons carrying on a business must have obtained a blue card before they commence volunteering or carrying on business in the relevant field.

What is the Working with Children Check?


When a person applies for a blue card, the Commission conducts a Working with Children Check. The Working with Children Check is a detailed national check of a person’s criminal history, including any charges or convictions.


The Commissioner also considers disciplinary information held by certain professional organisations, as well as information from police investigations into allegations of serious child-related sexual offences.


Further information:


Applications for a blue card can be printed from the website of the Commission at the Blue card website.

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