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Queensland practitioners require blue card to work with children.

The Queensland Commission for Children and Young People and Child Guardian has been established to protect the rights, interests and wellbeing of children and young people. The Commission's statutory authority is underpinned by the Commission for Children and Young People and Child Guardian Act 2000.

The Act requires that certain people working with children under 18 years, must undergo a detailed national criminal history check known as the Working with Children Check. This check includes any charges, convictions and prohibition orders brought against an applicant. The purpose of the check is to determine a person's eligibility to work with children. Persons deemed eligible are issued with a blue card. The Commission's blue card only has legislative currency in Queensland.

Relevance To ATMS Members

The Commission for Children and Young People and Child Guardian Act 2000 is important to ATMS Queensland members, and members living in NSW and working in Queensland. This legislative instrument stipulates that persons offering health services must undergo the Working with Children Check. Section 5 of Schedule 1 of the Act defines a health service as including naturopathy, acupuncture, massage or any other complementary medicine practice. The definition also extends to massage for relaxation purposes. Whether Queensland ATMS members are self-employed or work for a wage, a Working with Children Check is now a legal requirement.

Blue Card Requirements

Where ATMS members work for a wage, a blue card is required if over a 12 month period, a practitioner provides or is likely to provide a health service to children on at least eight consecutive days, or once a week over four weeks, or once a fortnight over eight weeks, or once a month over six months. However, all self-employed practitioners need a blue card.

A blue card is valid for two years from the date it is issued. The blue card fee is $40 (GST exempt) and takes about 28 days to process. Practitioners who lose their blue card must notify the Commission within 14 days or face a penalty of $750. If practitioners changes their address, they have 14 days to notify the Commission or be fined $750. When a blue card is due for renewal, the Commission will write to practitioners around four months before it expires, to advise how to renew the card. The letter will contain the username and password needed to download the correct renewal form from the Commission's website. Further information can be gained from the Commission's website at http://www.

The Commission for Children and Young People and Child Guardian Act 2000 does not apply to all healthcare services. Healthcare practitioners registered by statute are exempt from the Act, and do not need a blue card ie chiropractors, dentists, medical practitioners, occupational therapists, optometrists, osteopaths, pharmacists, physiotherapists, psychologists and speech pathologists.

Risk Management Strategies

In addition to the blue card, the Act requires that practitioners have a written risk management strategy complying with the minimum requirements of the Commission for Children and Young People Amendment Regulation (No. 1) 2006.

The purpose of the risk management strategy is for clinics to identify and assess possible sources of harm to children and young people. The risk management strategy must include evidence of procedures, processes and documents describing a clinic's commitment to the safety and wellbeing of children and young people.

In order to comply with risk management strategy requirements, the Commission requires:

* a policy containing a statement of commitment to the safety and wellbeing of children and the protection of children from harm

* a Code of Conduct for interacting with children and young people

* recruitment, training and management procedures

* reporting guidelines and directions for handling disclosures and suspicions of harm

* a policy for managing breaches of the risk management strategy

* policies and procedures for compliance with blue card legislation

* risk management plans for high risk activities and special events, and

* strategies for communication and support such as information sheets for staff, volunteers and parents about policies; procedures and codes of conduct; and training materials.

Further information about the risk management strategy can be found at SLS/2006/06SL102.pdf.
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Article Details
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Author:Khoury, Raymond
Publication:Journal of the Australian Traditional-Medicine Society
Geographic Code:8AUST
Date:Jun 1, 2008
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