NOT-FOR-PROFITS – PROTECTION OF VULNERABLE CHILDREN – A NEW COMPLIANCE ISSUE

Vulnerable Children Act 2014 imposes burdens on community organisations The requirements under the Vulnerable Children Act 2014 have added significantly to the burdens placed on community organisations. Writing (and, now, revising) this article has not been easy, and if a lawyer finds it challenging to explain legislation it is probably fair to say that many (most?) community organisations struggle to understand and comply with their obligations. For the purposes of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014: A “child” is defined as a person under the age of 18 who is not married or in a civil union, while “vulnerable children” are defined as “children of the kind or kinds (that may be or, as the case requires, have been and are currently) identified as vulnerable in the setting of Government priorities under section 7” of the Act. “Work” means “paid work” or “unpaid work that is undertaken as part of an educational or vocational training course,” which “takes place without a parent or guardian of the child, or of each child, being present” (and a “worker” is defined similarly in section 23 of the Act).   Managing risks associated with children – a balancing act No-one wants children to be at risk, but minimising that risk creates an administrative nightmare for not-for-profits. According to an early Departmental publication (“Children’s worker safety checking under the Vulnerable Children Act 2014” available at Children’s Action Plan:   The Government’s Children’s Action Plan includes a commitment to implement legislation for the vetting and screening of the children’s workforce – these “children’s worker safety checks” became law in the Vulnerable Children Act 2014 (the VCA),...