Audit Identifies Volunteers Who Posed Risk to Children

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An audit conducted by New South Wales’ Auditor General has found that fourteen people employed as volunteers for children’s organizations had dangerous criminal pasts that posed a significant risk to children.   According to the Auditor General, the Children’s Commission, the organization that oversees the health and well-being of children in New South Wales, can only stop the employment of volunteers if they are found to have serious child-related offenses in their past.

Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but I would consider many different crimes unrelated to children to be a basis to deny employment to someone looking to work with children. 

1.  Murder

2.  Assault (with or without a weapon)

3. Drug Related Offenses or Use

4.  DUI (if the position requires transporting children)

5.  Sexually related offenses (against adults)

I could go on but I think you catch my drift.  NSW and the Children’s Commission better get on the ball and plug these holes in their background check process before somebody gets hurt.

Background checks leave kids vulnerable

At least 14 people known to pose a significant risk to children were employed to work with young people in New South Wales last financial year, the state’s Auditor-General has found.

ABC News Australia – February 24, 2010

An audit by Peter Achterstraat has found the process used to check people who work with children in NSW does not reliably identify everyone who poses a danger to young people.

The audit has also found that people who have been assessed as being a significant risk to children can be employed to work with them.

Releasing the findings this morning, Mr Achterstraat said there were 14 such cases last financial year.

He said the Children’s Commission could only stop people identified as being dangerous from working with children if they had been convicted of a serious child-related offence.

Mr Achterstraat said it was also not known how many volunteer organisation were running Working With Children safety checks.

“Whether we like it or not, there is a danger that perpetrators of child abuse will deliberately target voluntary associations to get access to children…” he said.

“Parents expect that people working with their children would have been checked. There is a safety net but it has got holes in it and those holes need to be mended quick smart.”

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