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Background

NSW Legislation

  • The Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998 (the Care Act) establishes the legislative framework providing child protection and out-of-home care services in NSW.
  • Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Regulation 2000 forms part of the framework for providing out-of home care (OOHC) services, particularly the need for providers to be accredited as designated agencies through the NSW Children’s Guardian.
  • Childrens Court Act 1987 establishes roles & responsibilities of the Children’s Court.
  • The Adoption Act 2000 is the legal framework for the adoption of children in NSW and (in conjunction with other legislation) those from overseas.
  • Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 sets out requirements for the collection, storage, access and accuracy, use and disclosure of personal information.
  • Health Records and Information Privacy Act 2002 sets out requirements of collection, storage, access and accuracy, use and disclosure of personal health information.
  • Community Services (Complaints, Reviews and Monitoring) Act 1993 provides the Ombudsman with the power to conduct systemic reviews of the deaths of children at risk of harm or those in OOHC.
  • Ombudsman Act 1974 sets out the role of the Ombudsman in monitoring and reviewing the provision of community services, oversighting allegations of reportable conduct and complaint handling.
  • Guardianship Act 1987 sets out responsibilities, functions, orders and principles applied by Guardianship Tribunal to appointing guardians for people with disabilities, including young people aged 16–17.
  • Crimes Act 1900 defines criminal conduct.
  • Coroners Act 1980 requires the Coroner or the Deputy Coroner to examine certain child deaths, including those of a child in OOHC and a child in respect of whom a report was made under Part 2 of Chapter 3 of the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998.
  • Victims Rights Act 1996 and Victims Support and Rehabilitation Act 1996. A child who has experienced abuse may be eligible for compensation. Victims Services New South Wales runs the scheme, which also helps victims in other ways, such as with counselling, support and information.
  • Commission for Children and Young People Act 1998 which provides for conducting the Working with Children Check and also administering the Child Sex Offender Counsellor Accreditation Scheme.

Commonwealth legislation

  • Privacy Act 1998 sets out the requirements for the collection, use and disclosure of personal information (including non-government agencies).
  • Family Law Act 1975 (section 69ZK) gives the Family Court of Australia and Federal Magistrates Court power to make decisions and make orders in respect of children; and covers disputes between persons with an interest in a child’s care (usually parents) where the child is not necessarily ‘at risk’.

Frameworks

  • NSW Practice Framework – A framework that supports and guides the way in which  Family and Community Services (FACS) work with, and makes decisions about children, their parents and families/kin.
  • Funded Contract Management (FCM) Framework – describes the way in which FACS and external service providers manage their contractual relationship. It ensures that governance, financial management and service delivery mechanisms are in place so that services are delivered effectively and efficiently.
  • Human Services Outcomes Framework – provides a common set of population-level wellbeing outcomes and indicators for NSW government and non-government agencies.
  • NSW Therapeutic Care Framework – A framework that guides service provision and works towards improving outcomes for children in statutory OOHC.

Policies and Instruments

  • NSW Charter of Rights for Children and Young People in Care – outlines the general rights and responsibilities of every child and young person in OOHC. These rights reflect those of any child. The Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998 requires that these rights are supported by carers and caseworkers.
  • Caring for Kids – A carer guide with basic information about which decisions are made by the carer and which need to be made by the agency.
  • Guidelines for managing the interface between Early Intervention, Child Protection and OOHC with the NDIS.

Standards

  • Care and Protection Practice Standards – Key expectations of FACS practitioners and leaders in their work with children, their parents and families/kin.
  • NSW Child Safe Standards for Permanent Care.

Tools

ToolDescription
Mandatory Reported Guide (MRG)

The NSW Mandatory Reporter Guide (MRG) is a Structured Decision Making (®SDM) tool intended to complement mandatory reporters' professional judgment and critical thinking. Access the tool here.

Screening and Response Priority Tool (SCRPT) Screening and Response Priority is a Structured Decision Making (®SDM) tool used by FACS Child Protection Helpline to assess child protection concerns regarding risk of significant harm
Safety and Risk Assessment (SARA) tools The Safety and Risk Assessment tools are Structured Decision Making (®SDM) tools that helps casework practitioners in assessing safety and risk in relation to children, their parents and families/kin they visit. There are three components to the SARA tool that casework practitioners complete at specific periods in time for a family: a safety assessment, risk assessment and risk reassessment.
Restoration Assessment tool Restoration Assessment tool is a Structured Decision Making (®SDM) tool that supports decision making regarding restoration of children in OOHC.
Child Assessment Tool (CAT) The Child Assessment Tool (CAT) is based on the Cleveland Child Assessment Tool customised for NSW in partnership the developers. The CAT is a tool used for all new out-of-home care (OOHC) placements, cases re-entering care, placement changes and transition of carers (and the children in their care) from Community Services to agencies. It has been designed to identify the most appropriate level of care for a child, based on assessment of their behaviour, and health and development needs. The tool improves transparency and consistency of placement decisions and focuses on the needs of the child.