Print

Working or volunteering with children

To work or volunteer with children in Queensland, you may need to have a blue card.

You can also apply for a blue card if you are a job seeker so you can be job-ready to work in industries regulated by the blue card system.

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.

Activities that require a blue card

The categories of employment in the Working with Children (Risk Management and Screening) Act 2000 are explained on this page. They are:

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 have another state’s working with children card, you cannot use it for regulated work in Queensland.

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

People who don't need a blue card

In certain activities involving children, 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).

Volunteers who are under 18

You don't need a blue card if you are a volunteer who is under 18.

If you will continue your volunteer work after you turn 18, you will need to apply for a blue card. We can accept your application 6 months before you turn 18. If it is approved, your card will be issued on your 18th birthday.

You will need a blue card if you are paid for your work or if you are a student enrolled in a tertiary course (including certificate, TAFE and university courses) and need to do a practical placement.

A restricted person cannot rely on this exemption.

Working with children for no more than 7 days in a calendar year

You don’t need a blue card if you are a paid employee, volunteer or student and you work for no more than 7 days in a calendar year.

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

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.

So, 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.

For example, 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/volunteering with children that is not part of your work with Queensland Corrective Services.

Ambulance service officers

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

A paramedic who is registered with AHPRA and is employed as a paramedic with St John’s Ambulance Service also does not require a blue card to work in their professional capacity.

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 that is not part of your work with Queensland Ambulance Service.

Working for the Queensland Police Service (QPS)

Police officers

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

If you do other work with children, you need to apply for an exemption card, not a blue card. You will only need an exemption card if you do work with children outside your 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 in this role, you do not need a blue card. You will only need a blue card if you do other work with children that is outside your work as a QPS employee, such as coaching children or young people at the local football club.

Back to top

People who need to have a blue card

Residential facilities

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

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 provides care for children under the chief executive’s custody or guardianship, and 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.

However, 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.

This includes:

  • 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.

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

  • a parent who is volunteering at their child’s school (unless they are a restricted person, who cannot rely on this exemption)
  • a teacher registered with the Queensland College of Teachers (QCT).

Back to top

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.

You will need a blue card if you are:

  • someone who provides education or assistance in an education and care service
  • someone who works or volunteers at an education and care service while children are present
  • an adult who 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
  • someone who 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.

These people do not need a blue card:

  • a parent volunteering at their child’s education and care service (unless they are a restricted person, who cannot rely on this exemption)

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).

Back to top

Child care services

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

You will need a blue card if you are:

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

You will not need a blue card if you are a parent volunteering where your child attends in any of the above areas (but restricted persons cannot rely on this exemption).

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, or youth group
  • with a children’s sports team
  • with an organisation that provides guided tours to children.

You may not need a blue card if you are a parent who volunteers where your child attends these activities at a church, club, association or similar (unless you are a restricted person, who cannot rely on this exemption). This decision is up to the organisation, so you should check with the relevant church, club or association about their blue card requirements.

Back to top

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 facility’s services 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 if it 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 you need a blue card if you provide:

  • 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, even as part of a sport
  • counselling to a child one-on-one in person
  • counselling to a child over the phone or online
  • a support service to a child one-on-one in person
  • a support service to a child over the phone or online
  • massage therapy to children
  • speech pathology to children.

You will not need a blue card if you are:

Back to top

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.

You do not need a blue card for private teaching, coaching or tutoring if you are:

  • a volunteer—a person who does not receive a payment or reward
  • 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.

A person will usually need a blue card if they deliver 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).

Specifically, this relates to these sections of the Education (General Provisions) Act 2006:

  • 182 and 183—Flexible arrangements (state or non-state school)
  • 284, 294 and 301—Continuing education during suspension
  • 304 and 310—Continuing education during exclusion of certain student(s)

However, a person does not need a blue card if they are 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 Queensland)—that is, if they are outlined in section 232 of the Education (General Provisions) Act.

Back to top

Child accommodation services, including homestays

You will need a blue card if you will be providing a child accommodation service (including homestay) on more than 7 days in a calendar year. 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.

You do not need a blue card for offering child accommodation services if you are:

  • 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 as a religious representative
  • conducting activities with children as a religious representative.

For example, these people will need a blue card:

a religious leader such as a priest, chaplain, minister or rabbi whose role includes (or may include) providing religious instruction to children or conducting activities as a religious representative

an employee of a religious organisation and the organisation runs children's activities (e.g. if you are a youth leader who runs children's worship groups and Sunday school activities)

an employee of a business promoting spiritual beliefs and guidance to children, even if you don't consider yourself to be part of an organised religion.

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.

Back to top

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.

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.

These people will not need a blue card:

  • a parent volunteering at the same place their child is participating in the activities (unless they are a restricted person, who cannot rely on this exemption).
  • 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.

A restricted person cannot rely on this exemption.

Back to top

Emergency services cadet program

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

School crossing supervisors

You will need a blue card if your work includes supervising a road crossing at a school, for example, a lollipop 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 providing care to a child by a licensed care service.

Back to top