Children's Act 2014 – early learning sector requirements

Your early learning service must comply with safety checking and child protection policy requirements.

Level of complianceMain audienceOther


  • All Early Learning Services
  • Service Managers
  • Parents, Caregivers and Whānau
  • Educators, Teachers and Kaiako

Early learning services must have child protection policies and safety checks for children’s workers, as stated in the Children’s Act 2014 and the licensing and certification criteria.

Guide to the Children's Act 2014

We have created a guide which explains what the Children's Act 2014 means for you.

The guide brings together a range of information and resources already published. It complements the advice and guidelines produced by the Children’s Action Plan. We recommend that you use the guide in conjunction with the other resources and the licensing criteria and guidance, which are outlined below.

Child protection policy

All early learning services must have a child protection policy in place.

The policy must:

  • contain provisions on the identification and reporting of child neglect and abuse
  • be written
  • be reviewed every three years.

The child protection policy licensing criteria provide detailed information on how to meet this requirement.

The Safer Organisations, Safer Children [PDF, 1.1 MB] guidelines also provide information about child protection policies.

Safety checking

All children’s workers must be safety checked according to the standards set out in the Children's Act 2014 and safety checking regulations.

This requirement is associated with a workforce restriction – anyone convicted of a specified offence cannot be employed or engaged as a core children’s worker, unless they have an exemption.

The safety checking licensing criteria provide detailed information on how to meet these requirements.

The Ministry has prepared flow charts which explain the checks that must be completed on adults in specific roles.

The Safer Recruitment, Safer Children [PDF, 1.1 MB] guidelines also provide information about safe recruitment practices. The publication Children’s worker safety checking under the Vulnerable Children Act 2014 (external link) provides advice for interpreting and applying the safety checking regulations.

Screening service for early learning service owner operators who are children’s workers

A screening service is available to undertake safety checks for specified groups of children’s workers.

This service has been established to provide third party safety checks for children’s workers in the health, education and social development sectors who are self-employed or sole-practitioners.

In the education sector, this screening service has been approved for early learning service owner-operators.

  • Anyone who works with children must be safety checked.
  • You may choose to use this approved screening service, but you are not obliged to do so. You can conduct your checks through another service.

There is a cost to applicants for this service. To find out more, go to CV Check(external link).

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