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Background check backlog lets criminals work with kids

Children are being exposed to criminals and potential sex predators due to a backlog of Working with Children checks, with some taking up to year.

A Government review said there was "some risk to the community" from at least 40 people with criminal records who were able to work with children while waiting for their assessment.

There are countless others working with children - whose applications are stuck in a backlog of almost 10,000 - which have not yet been checked for a criminal history.

The review found the backlog could be exposing children to harm: "This backlog represents a risk to the effective operation of the (Working with Children) Act, as applicants are able to work with a receipt following the lodgement of applications."

Community and Public Sector Union secretary Toni Walkington said thousands of children were at risk because screening staff were struggling with an overload of cases.

"The Barnett Government needs to recognise that under-resourcing of this vital service has put the community's faith in Working with Children Checks in jeopardy," Ms Walkington said.

"It potentially puts children at risk, particularly with up to 17 per cent of applicants having some form of criminal record.''

Read more via perthnow.com.au

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