Supplementary Order Paper No 437

No 437

House of Representatives

Supplementary Order Paper

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Vulnerable Children Bill

Proposed amendments

Dr Rajen Prasad, in Committee, to move the following amendments:

Part 3, new subpart 3

After Part 3, subpart 2 (page 96, after line 2), insert:

Subpart 3Amendments to Social Workers Registration Act 2003

142 Principal Act
  • This subpart amends the Social Workers Registration Act 2003 (the principal Act).

143 Commencement
  • This subpart comes into force on the day that is 5 years after the date this Act receives the Royal assent.

144 New cross heading and section 5A inserted
  • After the Part 2 heading, insert:

    Registration and practising certificates compulsory

    5A Social work requires registration and practising certificate
    • No person may practise social work unless he or she—

      • (a) is a registered social worker; and

      • (b) holds a current practising certificate.

145 Section 148 amended (Offences)
  • Replace section 148(3) with:

    • (3) Every person commits an offence, and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 months or a fine not exceeding $10,000, or both, who holds himself or herself out as a social worker when he or she—

      • (a) is not a registered social worker; or

      • (b) is a registered social worker—

        • (i) whose registration is suspended; or

        • (ii) who does not hold a current practising certificate; or

        • (iii) who holds a current practising certificate that is suspended.

Explanatory note

This Bill sets out a number of provisions to protect vulnerable children from abuse and neglect. It requires social work practitioners in particular to make judgements based on their professional training and competence. Their analysis and reflection will have a far reaching impact, for example, on the decisions made at family group conferences and on the future of children born to parents who have previously had children removed from them. Currently, there is no legislative requirement that social workers be professionally trained and accountable to a professional body. Social workers currently have an option to register as a social worker and be held accountable to the professional body for social work. Currently there are a significant number of social workers in state sector agencies who are not professionally trained and are not registered social workers under the Social Workers Registration Board. This Supplementary Order Paper amends the Bill to require those who practise as social workers to be registered within 5 years of the passing of this Bill. This allows ample time to achieve the goal of allowing registered social workers only to work with vulnerable children and individuals.