Child Protection


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NSW Context

Keep Them Safe is the NSW Government's five-year Action Plan (2009-1014) that aims to re-shape the way family and community services are delivered in NSW to improve the safety, welfare and wellbeing of children and young people.


Keep Them Safe is focused on shared responsibility and intends to build on the strengths of the current child protection system. It includes actions to enhance the universal service system, improve early intervention services, better protect children at risk, support Aboriginal children and families, and strengthen partnerships with non-government organisations (NGOs) in the delivery of community services.


The main legislative changes include:

  • creating a new position of President of the Children's Court
  • changing the reviewable deaths definition and the Ombudsman's
    reporting period
  • establishing a scheme for the information exchange between the
    government and non-government sectors
  • raising the mandatory reporting threshold
  • including two new grounds that indicate a child may be at risk:
    cumulative impact and inadequate educational arrangements
  • setting up Child Wellbeing Units in the four government agencies
    responsible for 60 per cent of all reports
  • removing penalties for not reporting
  • allowing disclosure of reporter identity to a law enforcement
    agency investigating a serious offence against a child or young person
  • simplifying and streamlining the Children's Court process
  • clarifying the Court's role regarding children in out-of-home care
  • establishing a new approach to out-of-home care based on children
    being in statutory, supported and voluntary out-of-home care.

Further details on the legislative changes are available in the new legislation section of the Keep Them Safe website.


New threshold of risk of significant harm has come into effect:

Mandatory reporters employed in government agencies (NSW Health, Department of Education and Communities, and NSW Police Force) that have a Child Wellbeing Unit (CWU) in their agency can call their CWU for help in identifying whether a case meets the new threshold of risk of significant harm; however, if the Mandatory Reporter Guide indicates there is risk of significant harm, they should contact the Child Protection Helpline directly.

Mandatory reporters employed by non-government organisations (NGOs) or by government agencies without a CWU will still report matters where they believe a child is at risk of significant harm to the Child Protection Helpline on 133 627.

The general public will continue to make reports to the Child Protection Helpline by calling 132 111.


The Child Wellbeing and Child Protection – NSW Interagency Guidelines provide information and guidance to organisations involved in the delivery of child wellbeing and child protection services in NSW. They are intended to enhance consistency and promote best practice service delivery to vulnerable children, young people, and families. The guidelines are one of the Keep Them Safe mechanisms that support collaborative practice and are applicable to both government agencies and NGOs.


A number of factsheets have been published to help inform and educate mandatory reporters in government agencies, non-government organisations, and the public about Keep Them Safe.   Click here


Further information is available on the Keep Them Safe website:




Qualifications and Pathways

Child Protection units of competency from the Community Services Training Package (CHC) are included in qualifications across many industry sectors either as compulsory or elective units.

The units of competency are:


CHCPRT001  Identify and respond to children and young people at risk  

CHCPRT002  Support the rights and safety of children and young people

CHCPRT003  Work collaboratively to maintain an environment safe for children and young people

CHCPRT004  Work effectively in child protection to support children, young people and families




Recognition of prior learning (RPL) is a significant pathway for candidates to attain a national training package qualification.  There has been strong support from Commonwealth and NSW governments for RTOs to find innovative and accessible RPL strategies and approaches. 


NSW Department of Education and Training is actively assisting this quest for improved RPL pathways and has worked in partnership across many industry sectors to pilot best practice models of recognition and develop supporting resources.   Some of the innovation recognition pathways trialled included group, project and workplace based models. 


Resources and further details are available at State Training Services  




The Vocational Training Board establishes traineeships in NSW.  Through a consultative process between peak industry groups, employers and unions, facilitated by the ITAB, qualifications are identified that meet industry requirements and have appropriate award arrangements.  This information is submitted to the Board for the declaration of a vocational training order in accordance with NSW legislation.


 As qualifications have a vocational training order established, they are posted on the NSW DET Commissioner’s Bulletin.  Further advice is available from NSW DET  

Child protection units of competency are found in qualfications across a number of qualifications in CHC08 Community Services Training Package.


VET in Schools

Child protection competencies are delivered in some VET in School pathways. 

For more information about VET in Schools in NSW visit:

The NSW Board of Studies is responsible for the inclusion of training package qualifications in the HSC studies. Further information is available at .




Peak Bodies and Key Stakeholders

NSW Commission for Children and Young People

The Commission is an independent organisation that works with others to make NSW a better place for children and young people.  The Commission reports directly to the NSW Parliament, and the Committee on Children and Young People oversees their work.

The Commission administers the Commission for Children and Young People Act 1998.


NSW Human Services Community Services

Community Services (formerly DoCS) is the leading NSW Government agency responsible for community services.

They promote the safety and wellbeing of children and young people and work to build stronger families and communities.

They work to protect children and young people from risk of harm and to provide care for children and young people who are not able to live with their families.


NSW Health

NSW Health has a network of Sexual Assault Services (SAS) and Physical Abuse and Neglect of Children Services (PANOC) across rural and metropolitan NSW. There are specialist programs for sexualised behaviour and for some offenders of sexual assault. Children, young people and their families or carers can be referred to these services.


Joint Investigative Response Teams

Joint Investigation Response Teams (JIRTs) are made up of Community Services, NSW Police and NSW Health professionals who undertake joint investigation of child protection matters. Joint investigations link the risk assessment and protective interventions of Community Services with the criminal investigation conducted by Police. Community Services and Police have an equal partnership and share responsibility for the operation of JIRTs.


NSW Family Services Inc

NSW Family Services Inc support non-government organisations in New South Wales that are providing services to families experiencing stress. They encourage and help these organisations to provide quality support services.


Association of Children’s Welfare Agencies (ACWA)

ACWA is the NSW non-government peak body representing the voice of community organisations working with vulnerable children, young people and their families. They work with their members, partners, government and non-government agencies and other peak bodies to bring about positive systemic reform that will deliver better outcomes to the lives of children and young people, including those living in out-of-home care.


NSW Aboriginal Child, Family and Community Care State Secretariat (AbSec)

This organisation is primarily funded by the NSW Human Services Community Services, and is recognised as the peak NSW Aboriginal body  providing child protection and out-of-home care (OOHC) policy advice to the government and non government sector on issues affecting Aboriginal families involved in child protection and OOHC system. AbSec also advises on funding decisions related to service provision by local Aboriginal community controlled organisations who provide or seek to provide Aboriginal child protection and associated services.


NSW Children’s Guardian

The NSW Children's Guardian is a government department set up to promote the best interests and rights of children and young people in out-of-home care in NSW.




The Keep Them Safe website provides information for mandatory reporters in government agencies and non-government organisations about the new child protection system, including resources, training materials, and an email newsletter.




Please contact NSW Community Services and Health ITAB regarding training and assessment resource needs for child protection units of competency.


Other resources may be available from industry peaks, National Training Information Service (NTIS), Registered Training Organisations and Community Services and Health Industry Skills Council.