Working with children

Vulnerable Children Act requirements

The Vulnerable Children Act 2014 was part of a series of comprehensive measures brought in to protect and improve the wellbeing of vulnerable children.

Here you'll find information and resources for employers, organisations and individuals relating to the act. 

about the act trampoline

The Vulnerable Children Act 2014 made sweeping changes to protect vulnerable children and help them thrive, achieve and belong.

The legislation includes:

  • one new stand-alone Act, the Vulnerable Children Act 2014
  • amendments to the Children, Young Persons, and Their Families Act 1989

The heads of six government departments are now accountable for protecting and improving the lives of vulnerable children. NZ Police, the Ministries of Health, Education, Justice, and Social Development and the Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Oranga Tamariki have new, legislated responsibilities.

Child protection policies have been adopted as standard by the agencies above along with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (Housing), District Health Boards and school Boards of Trustees.

Safety checking (screening and vetting) of every person in both central and local government children’s workforce has now been introduced and people with serious convictions are prohibited from working closely with children, unless they are granted an exemption.

These changes are about creating a better life for the most vulnerable children in New Zealand.

Sector specific guidance

Agencies have prepared extra advice about the children’s workforce changes:

Education sector
The Ministry of Education has produced guides and FAQs for providers in both the early childhood and schooling sectors:
Early childhood education (ECE) sector FAQ
Schooling sector FAQ 

The Education Council of Aotearoa New Zealand has also produced an FAQ for registered teachers and those seeking registration status:
Teacher registration FAQ

Health sector
The Ministry of Health has provided guidance and FAQs for health sector providers:
Health sector providers FAQ 

Justice sector
Information for the justice sector:
Ministry of Justice 

Tertiary Education Organisations
Vocational trainees and placement students working with children need to be safety checked under the Vulnerable Children Act 2014. This includes nurses, social workers, doctors, paediatricians, youth counsellors and teachers.

Both the Tertiary Education Commission and Universities NZ have developed guidance for safety checking, including an implementation framework.

Information is available on the TEC and Universities New Zealand websites:
TEC
Universities New Zealand