Understanding roles and responsibilities in the sector
Child wellbeing and safety is everyone’s responsibility, which means everyone works together to keep children safe and well.
Child Wellbeing Units
Child Wellbeing Units (CWUs) are located in the three key agencies employing mandatory reporters: the NSW Department of Education, the Ministry of Health and NSW Police. The purpose of CWUs is to support their workforce and build capacity, in order to support mandatory reporters to better respond to concerns relating to the safety, welfare and wellbeing of children and young people.
Mandatory reporters from any of the three agencies should contact their relevant CWU if they suspect a child or young person may be at ROSH. This will assist with effective application of the mandatory reporter guide. The CWU Assessment Officer will then be able to support the mandatory reporter in the following ways:
- Advise mandatory reporters on whether a report should be made to the Child Protection Helpline as it is likely to meet ROSH
- Where a report does not meet the reportable threshold for ROSH, assist with referrals to early intervention and other non-statutory services most suited to the child and/or their family.
In doing so CWUs and mandatory reporters ensure children at ROSH are reported to the Child Protection Helpline. Where the risk does not reach the ROSH threshold, those children and families are provided with appropriate responses by schools, health services, police and non-government child and family service providers.
The NSW Department of Education promotes the use of the Mandatory Reporter Guide (MRG) each year in its annual child protection training, which is mandatory for all staff. All contacts about safety, welfare or wellbeing concerns received by the Department’s Child Wellbeing Unit are asked whether they have used the MRG. Assessment officers will run through the MRG with callers who have not used the MRG, and its use is strongly encouraged.
NOTE: CWUs function as alternative reporting pathways as outlined in Section 27A of the Care Act. As such, mandatory reporting responsibility can be fulfilled by workers within each agency by reporting concerns to their relevant CWU. CWUs have the same confidentiality requirements on any contact as the Child Protection Helpline.
For more information on mandatory reporting see Reporting and responding to child wellbeing and safety concerns
More information on CWUs across the agencies can be found at: