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Working or volunteering with children

To work or volunteer with children in Queensland, you need to have a blue card. However, if you do not need a blue card, you can’t apply for one.

Before you can apply, you need to have an agreement to work or volunteer with an organisation and your work needs to fit a category of employment in the Working with Children (Risk Management and Screening) Act 2000. These categories are explained below.

This page briefly explains who doesn’t need a blue card, and then explains when you will need a blue card in the following workplaces—and identifies if there are exemptions.

This list does not include all situations where you may need a blue card. If your work does not fit one category, it may fit another.

If you are unsure, you can contact us about whether you need a blue card.

Who doesn’t need a blue card

In certain circumstances, you won’t need a blue card, including:

Working with a colleague who is under 18

You don’t need a blue card if you are:

  • working alongside a person who is under 18 (e.g. if you supervise a 17-year-old colleague)
  • involved in a team, club or group activity that also has members under 18 (e.g. if you participate in an under-20s sports group with a member who is 17)
  • supervising a student while they do work experience (including school students).

One-off or infrequent work

You don’t need a blue card if you are a paid employee and your work is less than:

  • 8 consecutive days
  • once a week, each week, over 4 weeks
  • once a fortnight, each fortnight, over 8 weeks

or

  • once a month, each month, over 6 months.

This does not apply if you are a volunteer, student or running your own business—you may need a blue card.

Guest speakers

You don’t need a blue card if you are a volunteer and are unlikely to be alone with a child at either:

  • a state or national event organised by a school or recognised body that occurs no more than twice a year and is attended by 100 people or more (and is for a period or periods that are each 10 days or less)
  • a school or recognised body and are only observing or supplying information to 10 people or more no more than twice a year (and is for a period or periods that are each 10 days or less).

Registered health practitioners

You don’t need a blue card if you are a registered health practitioner and you are working within your professional capacity.

For example, in your work as a doctor, nurse, midwife, paramedic, psychologist or dentist, you do not need a blue card. You will only need a blue card if you do other work with children—a nurse who charges money for children's piano lessons would need a blue card under the ‘Private teaching, coaching or tutoring’ category, because that does not relate to their work as a registered health practitioner.

Corrective Services officers

You don’t need a blue card if you are working within your professional capacity as a Queensland Corrective Services employee.

For example, if you are a prison guard at a youth detention centre, you do not need a blue card. You will only need a blue card if you do other work with children—a Corrective Services officer who charges money for children's piano lessons would need a blue card under the ‘Private teaching, coaching or tutoring’ category, because that does not relate to their work as a Queensland Corrective Services employee.

Ambulance Service officers

You don’t need a blue card if you are working within your professional capacity as a Queensland Ambulance Service employee.

For example, if you are an Ambulance Service officer and provide medical assistance to a child, you do not need a blue card. You will only need a blue card if you do other work with children—an Ambulance Service officer who charges money for children's piano lessons would need a blue card under the ‘Private teaching, coaching or tutoring’ category, because that does not relate to their work as a Queensland Ambulance Service employee.

Working for the Queensland Police Service (QPS)

Police officers

You don’t need a card if you are working within your professional capacity as a sworn police officer.

You only need to apply if you do other work with children—police officers doing other work with children need to apply for an exemption card, not a blue card.

For example, you will only need an exemption card if you do other work with children—a police officer who charges money for children's piano lessons would need a blue card under the ‘Private teaching, coaching or tutoring’ category, because that does not relate to their work as a police officer.

Other QPS employees

You don't need a blue card if you are working within your professional capacity as a QPS employee.

For example, if you are a Police Liaison Officer and work with children, you do not need a blue card. You will only need a blue card if you do other work with children—a QPS employee who charges money for children's piano lessons would need a blue card under the ‘Private teaching, coaching or tutoring’ category, because that does not relate to their work as a QPS employee.

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Residential facilities

You will need a blue card if you will be doing any work in:

Exemptions

You do not need a blue card for work at a licensed care service.

As per the Child Protection Act 1999, a licensed care service is a service that provides care for children under the chief executive’s custody or guardianship, and which is licensed to do so.

School boarding facilities

You will need a blue card if your usual work is in a boarding facility at a school.

Exemptions

You do not need a blue card if you are a teacher registered with the Queensland College of Teachers (QCT).

Schools

You will need a blue card if your work is at a school and includes:

  • providing services to children
  • conducting activities with children.

People who need a blue card include:

  • a person doing work with children at a school, including school excursions and school camps
  • a teacher aide
  • a person doing other work at a school, such as a cleaner (including employees of the school and of other companies)
  • a student doing a practical placement in a school.

Exemptions

These people do not need a blue card to work at a school:

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Education and care services

You will need a blue card if you will be doing any work in an education and care service premises while children are present.

In general, an education and care service is a service other than a school that provides regular education and care to children under 13—although there are other exemptions. Learn more about education and care services .

This means a blue card is required for:

  • a person who
    • provides education or assistance in an education and care service
    • works or volunteers at an education and care service while children are present
    • lives in a home where an education and care service is provided—including people who are not normally in the home while children are present
    • supervises a student’s practical placement in an education and care service premises (e.g. assessing a student’s work while they are doing a placement).
  • a tradesperson whose usual work is performed while children are present (including entering the education and care service premises to consult with staff before doing any work)
  • a student doing a practical placement in an education and care service.

Exemptions

These people do not need a blue card to work at an education and care service:

  • a parent volunteering at their child’s education and care service
  • a person doing work outside the operating hours at the education and care service premises (e.g. a tradesperson who only does work at night or on the weekend, and does not enter the premises while children are present).

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Child care services

You will need a blue card if you will be providing child care as part of a commercial service.

This means a blue card is required for:

  • a babysitter, nanny or au pair employed by an agency or a family
  • a person providing a child-minding service (e.g. at a gym, hotel, or kid’s club)
  • a person chaperoning children (e.g. looking after child actors on the set of a film or television show).

Exemptions

A parent who is volunteering where their child attends in any of the above areas will not need a blue card.

Churches, clubs and associations

You will need a blue card for work at a church, club, association or similar entity that includes:

  • providing services to children
  • conducting activities with children.

This means a blue card is required for people working or volunteering:

  • in the children’s Sunday school at a church
  • with a children’s sports team.

Exemptions

A parent who volunteers at a church, club, association or similar entity in a role which is similar to the child’s activities may not need a blue card. However, this decision is up to the organisation, so you should check with the relevant church, club or association whether you need a blue card before you apply.

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Health, counselling and support services

You will need a blue card if your work includes providing any of the following services to children:

  • a health service at a health facility if the services provided at the facility are provided only or mainly to children, or if your work involves providing services only or mainly to children
  • a health service at another place that requires physical contact with a child, or that is provided while no-one else is physically present
  • a counselling service or support service, if you are physically present with a child while no-one else is physically present, or if you are not physically present with a child (e.g. a phone counselling service).

You will also need a blue card if you work at a child-related service outlet of a funded non-government service provider or a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) non-government service provider .

This means a blue card is needed for:

  • a person who provides
    • child health screening at a community health facility
    • a health service to a child at a children’s hospital or a paediatric ward
    • first aid to a child or children
    • counselling to children in person, over the phone or online
    • a support service to children in person, over the phone or online
  • a massage therapist, who offers massage therapy to children
  • a speech pathologist who works with children.

Exemptions

These people do not need a blue card for their work in health, counselling and support services:

  • a registered health practitioner working in their professional capacity (e.g. a doctor, nurse, midwife, paramedic, psychologist or dentist)
  • a person doing general work at a hospital, including a children’s hospital (e.g. a cleaner or a tradesperson)
  • an Australian lawyer who is working within their professional capacity (e.g. a lawyer who is providing legal advice or representation to a child or who is a Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) practitioner)
  • a person or relative of a person who receives services at a child-related service outlet of a funded non-government service provider or an NDIS non-government service provider who is also volunteering at the service.

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Private teaching, coaching or tutoring

You will need a blue card if your work includes teaching, coaching or tutoring children on a commercial basis.

For example, these people will need a blue card:

  • a person employed by a private tutoring company to tutor children
  • a personal trainer who offers training to children
  • a driving instructor who offers lessons to children.

Exemptions

These people do not need a blue card for their private teaching, coaching or tutoring:

  • a volunteer—under this category, you must be getting paid for your work
  • a person employed by an education provider, including a registered training organisation (e.g. a person employed by a university or TAFE).

Education programs conducted outside of school

Only very limited people need a blue card under this category. If you are unsure whether this applies to you, you should check with your employer or contact us.

You will need a blue card if your work includes providing an educational program under sections 182, 183, 284, 294, 301, 304 or 310 of the Education (General Provisions) Act 2006.

This means a person who delivers educational programs to school students who can’t attend regular school (e.g. if they have been suspended, have special schooling arrangements or are in an elite education program) will need to have a blue card.

Exemptions

A person who is outlined in section 232 of the Education (General Provisions) Act does not need a blue card. This usually means a person providing education under the banner of a school, registered higher education provider or registered training organisation (e.g. a university or organisation such as TAFE Qld).

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Child accommodation services, including homestays

You will need a blue card if you will be providing a child accommodation service (including homestay) that will occur more than twice in a year and/or for a period or periods that total more than 10 days. You will also need one if you are an adult living in a home where a child accommodation service is provided.

This means a blue card is needed for a person who:

  • provides homestay to children through a school or homestay provider
  • is over 18 and lives in a home where homestay is being provided.

Exemptions

These people do not need a blue card for offering child accommodation services:

  • a relative of a child living in the house where the child accommodation service is being provided
  • a person living in the home who is under 18.

Religious representatives

You will need a blue card if you are a religious representative and your work includes:

  • providing services to children
  • conducting activities with children.

A person who represents their church or other religious entity as a religious representative may apply for a blue card as a business operator instead of as an employee. If you are unsure how to apply, you should contact us.

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Sport and active recreation

You will need a blue card if your work relates to sport or active recreation and includes:

  • providing services to children
  • conducting activities with children.

So people who will need a blue card include:

  • an employee or volunteer of a business that offers training for children (e.g. a person who works or volunteers with children at a martial arts business)
  • a person employed to provide personal training to children.

Exemptions

These people will not need a blue card:

  • a parent volunteering at the same place their child is participating in the activities
  • a person who works at an amusement park (e.g. a person who dresses as a character in a theme park)
  • a person providing these activities as part of a church, club or association.

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Emergency services cadet program

You will need a blue card if your work includes teaching children as an adult member in the cadet program managed by the department responsible for emergency services.

School crossing supervisors

You will need a blue card if your work includes supervising a road crossing at a school. For example, a lollypop person.

Care of children under the Child Protection Act 1999

You will need a blue card if:

  • your work includes providing care for a child as an approved carer (not including as a provisionally approved carer). For example, if you are a foster or kinship carer
  • you are an adult living in a home where care is being provided for a child. For example, living in a home where foster or kinship care is being provided
  • you will be doing any work inside a licensed residential facility
  • you are employed by a licensed care service and your work includes providing support for an approved carer
  • you are responsible for directly managing a licensed care service.
  • you are engaged in relation to the provision of care to a child by a licensed care service.

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