15.1 Children's Act 2014

15.1 Requirements under the Children's Act 2014

The Children's Act 2014 strengthens the safety of children in New Zealand

Standard - what we'll be assessing on Evidence to provide for assessment

The practice has and applies a child protection policy and safety checking procedure in accordance with the Children’s Act 2014. 

  • A documented child protection policy and safety checking procedure.
  • Documented 3 yearly safety checks, which include police vetting, for all employees and contractors.
  • Training records for all team members.

The Children's Act 2014

The Children's Act 2014 strengthens the safety of children in New Zealand by:

  • ensuring health providers adopt child protection policies
  • making sure the workforce have the core competencies to recognise and act on a child who may be vulnerable to abuse
  • achieving higher quality safety checking across the entire children’s workforce in New Zealand.

Under the Children's Act 2014, specified organisations (which include general practice), are required to conduct safety checks of all team members they employ or engage.

Child protection policy

A child protection policy and safety checking procedure must include:

  • guidance on identifying possible abuse or neglect and responding to suspected abuse or neglect
  • specific instructions on reporting and documentation
  • clear guidelines on how to respond to disclosures by children
  • additional guidance on allegations or concerns about other team members
  • confidentiality and information sharing
  • commitment to appropriate training including induction and safe practice
  • safety checking procedure
  • related documentation and review
  • reporting processes
  • timelines
  • roles and responsibilities in key areas (reporting, safety checking etc)

Safety checking

General practices may conduct their own safety checks as outlined below or engage  CVCheck Ltd, endorsed by the Ministry of Health to as a third party provider of Safety Checking for children’s workers.

The Act has created two categories of children’s workers: core children’s workers and non-core children’s workers. In general practice, core workers are those who work closely with children, such as doctors and nurses. Non-core workers would include receptionists, administrators, health coaches and health care assistants.

Core and non-core workers are further categorised into new or existing and accredited and non-accredited. Accredited refers to those who are registered with a professional health body.
Safety checking must always be done in accordance with existing legal protections such as the Privacy Act 2020 and the Human Rights Act 1993.

The documentation required for each worker category is summarised below. Please refer the Act for more detailed information.

New core workers 

  • ID verification
  • Police vetting
  • Employer/personal reference
  • Employment verification
  • Applicant interview (documented)
  • Professional membership (APC)
  • Risk assessment

New non-core workers

  • ID verification
  • Police vetting
  • Employer/personal reference
  • Employment verification
  • Applicant interview
  • Risk assessment

Existing core workers

  • ID verification
  • Police vetting
  • Professional membership (APC)
  • Risk assessment

Existing non-core workers

  • ID verification
  • Police vetting
  • Risk assessment

The safety checking documentation

Identity confirmation: The confirmation could be done through an electronic identity credential (for example, CVCheck) to establish the uniqueness of the claimed identity. Or by checking:

  • The identity exists by checking an original primary identity document (as listed in Part 1 of the Schedule of the Vulnerable Children [Requirements for Safety Checks of Children’s Workers] Regulations 2015)
  • The identity is a living identity and is used in the community by verifying an original secondary identity document (as listed in Part 2 of the Schedule of the Vulnerable Children [Requirements for Safety Checks of Children’s Workers] Regulations 2015)
  • The identity is linked to the presenter
  • The uniqueness of the identity by searching personnel records

New Zealand Police vet

Individuals need to meet the required criteria and obtain approval from the New Zealand Police. (Ministry of Justice records are not acceptable as evidence.)

Personal referee

Consider the information from more than one referee where possible and ensure it includes information on how the potential team member relates to children. Referees must not be related or be part of the individual’s extended family.
Employment verification: Consider at minimum the previous five years

An interview

It could be face-to-face but may be via telephone or other communications technology. Consider whether to conduct two interviews (to enable follow-up and clarification) and whether to have a small panel of interviewers. Interviewers should be chosen for their experience, knowledge and skill, with at least one having broad child protection knowledge. In addition to role-related questions, the interview could explore the new team member’s view on safe practice.

Questioning should reveal information such as:

  • whether complaints have been made about the worker’s professional practice
  • whether they have been convicted of an offence, and reasons for leaving previous employment
  • how they have dealt with a situation (or what they would do if such a situation arose) where a child or young person disclosed abuse
  • what they think constitutes professional practice when working with children
  • other relationships they have with children outside the working environment
  • the kind of relationships they hope to develop with children and families in the new role.

Professional membership

Seek information from any relevant professional organisation, licensing authority or registration authority, and confirmation that the person is a member of the organisation or registered by the authority.

Risk assessment

Consider whether the (potential) team member poses a risk to the safety of children if employed or engaged by evaluating all the information provided.
Decision making needs to be reasoned, based on evidence, and to put the child at the centre. Decision makers also need to consider whether they need to seek outside expert advice and further referees, and to raise any issues with team members.


Periodic rechecking every three years is required and must cover: confirmation of any changes of an officially recorded name, updating the checks with the relevant professional registration body or licensing authority, a fresh New Zealand Police vet, and a risk assessment based on these checks.

Relying on previous checks or checks done by others

Organisations may rely on checks that meet the standard (i.e. have met or exceeded all of the regulatory requirements) that they conducted up to three years previously (for previous employees or contractors starting in a new role/contract), and on checks done by individuals or organisations on behalf of the specified organisation.


  • Recheck previous employees or contractors if there has been a significant period of absence
  • For all workers, their New Zealand Police vet needs to have been done to the required standard
  • Where relying on a check done by a third party on their behalf, organisations must have a process in place to confirm that the person they are employing or engaging, is the person whom the third party has checked. This needs to include an identity verification process.

Responsibility for safety checking rests with the employing or contracting organisation, who must exercise due diligence when relying on checks undertaken by others.

Safety checking contractors and the self-employed

The Children's Act 2014 applies to some, but not all, self-employed persons or sole practitioners. If a self-employed person or sole practitioner is contracted by a state service, then they will need to be safety checked by that State service.

Similarly, if a self-employed person or sole practitioner is contracted by an organisation or individual that is funded by a State service to provide regulated activities, the funded organisation or individual is required to ensure that a safety check of the practitioner is completed. This situation includes self-employed or sole practitioners who have formed separate legal entities and are employed or engaged by them.


All team members must complete training to decrease the incidence of child abuse and neglect; with as many team members as possible completing the recommended Fundamentals of Child Protection training.

However, training may also be provided in-house by a clinician who has completed the recommended training or an external provider who is suitably qualified or competent. The training must include information on:

  • barriers that may prevent us from helping tamariki in need
  • potential signs of child abuse and neglect
  • how to respond effectively if recognised
  • legal and best practice frameworks which support an organisation to address any concerns
  • dealing with child protection concerns including documentation and reporting.