National police history checks policy

Follow this policy when applying for a national police history check.
Document ID number 1501, version 5, 5 February 2024.

A national police history check is a check of all Australian police records for disclosable offences committed by a person.

See Undertaking national police history checks for tasks that must be undertaken.


The purpose of a national police history check (police check) is to:

  • fulfil duty of care responsibilities for Child Protection clients
  • support assessment and decision making about:
    • the suitability of prospective kinship carers, foster carers, permanent carers, residential carers and lead tenant carers
    • review of kinship care arrangements
    • contact with a child by members of a carer’s household, visitors and others
  • inform assessment of protective concerns
  • contribute to worker safety planning.

A police check must not be relied upon as the only or primary factor in assessing carers.

Police checks are required before a child can be placed in out-of-home care. For kinship placements see Kinship care.

In cases of kinship care, the police check is undertaken by Child Protection. In all other cases, the police check is undertaken by the CSO or ACCO responsible for the recruitment or selection of the carer.

Child Protection (or Aboriginal Children in Aboriginal Care (ACAC) and CSO or ACCO employees are not permitted to undertake a police check on behalf of any other organisation or individual, nor for any non-business purpose.

A police check must be undertaken on proposed permanent carers and all adult members of their household no more than three months before the application is listed in court.

Police checks must comply with agreed procedures and privacy requirements. The conduct of a police check must be approved by a CPP5 or above or a CSO or ACCO manager.

A placement cannot be considered where a disclosable Category A offence or offences against children arise for a kinship carer. A usual adult household member is not to be substituted where the kinship carer has a disclosable Category A offence as a workaround, nor can one kinship carer be identified as the primary carer.  The Worker Screening Act 2020 (WS Act) does not distinguish between a ‘primary’ or ‘secondary’ carer. Irrespective of whether one carer performs most caring tasks, or whether caring responsibilities are more equally shared. Where adults are living in a domestic arrangement, both adults are deemed to be providing care (and are considered kinship carers) and are required to hold a WWCC to meet their and the department’s obligations under the WS Act.

If a Category A offence is disclosed for a usual adult household member (serious offences, including murder, rape, child pornography as an adult or sexual offences committed as an adult against a child), the placement must not proceed nor be allowed to continue unless the Statewide Principal Practitioner, Child Protection, Office of Professional Practice is consulted and endorses the placement and the Divisional Deputy Secretary endorses the placement.

If a carer, including prospective permanent carer or other usual adult household member has lived overseas for a period of six months or long, it is department policy that an international police history check is also completed. See Undertaking an international police history check for further information.

Procedures under this policy