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.
There are a range of independent agencies that oversee and support the work of organisations that provide services within the human services sector. These agencies provide a variety of services, including safeguarding the interests and rights of all children, including those in OOHC.
The Office of the NSW Ombudsman safeguards the community in their dealings with government and NGOs that fall within the Ombudsman’s jurisdiction.
The NSW Ombudsman has responsibility for keeping the following types of organisations under scrutiny:
- Agencies delivering public services - including correctional centres
- Agencies delivering community services - including services for people with disabilities, people who are homeless and elderly people.
The NSW Child Death Review Team (CDRT) within the NSW Ombudsman reviews the deaths of children in NSW. It also undertakes research that aims to prevent and reduce the likelihood of child deaths. The CDRT is required to report to the NSW Parliament about its work and activities.
Office of the Children's Guardian
The Office of the Children’s Guardian (OCG) promotes the interests and rights of children living in OOHC. In July 2020, the creation of the position of Deputy Children’s Guardian for Aboriginal Children and Young People within the OCG was announced as part of the NSW Government response to the Family is Culture review of Aboriginal children and young people in OOHC. The Deputy Children’s Guardian for Aboriginal Children and Young People will elevate the rights and wellbeing of Aboriginal children.
The NSW child safe standards for permanent care 2015 are used by the OCG for the accreditation of agencies that provide statutory OOHC and/or adoption services in NSW.
The OCG is responsible for supporting implementation of the 10 Child Safe Standards recommended by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. The aim of the standards is to achieve and maintain a genuine commitment to child safe culture and practice through incremental and continuous improvement over time. The OCG has produced a Guide to the Child Safe Standards to support organisations working with children to create, maintain and improve their child safe practices.
The OCG’s functions also include the Reportable Conduct Scheme and the Working with Children Check Scheme. The OCG also has responsibilities regarding the employment of children, helping to protect the safety, health and wellbeing of children while they are employed in the entertainment industry.
Office of the Advocate for Children and Young People
The Advocate for Children and Young People (ACYP) is an independent statutory office reporting to the NSW Parliament. The ACYP provides a voice for children and young people to ensure that their rights are respected and their points of view heard by decision makers.
The role of the ACYP is to influence and initiate positive change by:
- making recommendations to Parliament, and government and non-government agencies, on legislation, policies, practices and services that affect children and young people
- promoting children and young people’s participation in activities and decision-making about issues that affect their lives
- conducting research into children’s issues and monitoring children’s wellbeing.
NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission
The Commonwealth NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission is an independent agency established to improve the quality and safety of NDIS supports and services. It regulates the NDIS market, provides national consistency, promotes safety and quality services, and responds to concerns and complaints about NDIS supports and services.
In addition to the OCG requirements, providers of 24/7 support to children with disability must be registered with the NDIS Commission as a condition of their funding.