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Protecting our kids

Published 22nd December, 2017

Decrease the percentage of children and young people re-reported at risk of significant harm by 15 per cent by 2020 (based on the 2019 cohort of children)

Why is this important to the people of NSW?

Children and young people deserve to be protected from abuse and neglect, and have the best possible start in life.


There are many reasons why children or young people are at risk of abuse and neglect.

Their parents may: 

  • be experiencing a lot of stress such as unemployment, illness, isolation or loneliness
  • be alcohol dependent or have mental health issues or there may be domestic violence in the household
  • not have experienced good parenting themselves.

Why focus on re-reporting?

Reducing re-reporting tells us the interventions used to protect children at risk of significant harm are working, and these children are living in more stable homes. 

children 2 final

In 2016-17, nearly 120,000 children were reported to the child protection helpline, of which 72 per cent were at risk of significant harm.

How are we tracking?

From December 2015 to December 2016, we helped more than 10,000 children reported at risk of significant harm to achieve case plan goals. However, 39 per cent were re-reported to the child protection helpline within 12 months.

By 2019, 600 more children will be safer because of this initiative. Results will be reported in 2020. 

What are we doing?

Strengthening support for caseworkers and their managers

We are strengthening the work of our frontline caseworkers to better support the vulnerable children and young people in our community by:

  • providing refresher training in key practice tools, policy and case management for caseworkers in metro and regional Community Service Centres. At least 70 per cent of the training will be delivered in regional areas
  • new practice guidelines rolled out statewide offering clearer guidance to caseworkers.

Child protection programs

We have invested in services in regional and metropolitan areas to ensure children and young people are protected from abuse and neglect, and have the best possible lives including:

  • $63 million ($18 million in 2017-18) over four years to increase numbers of frontline staff, including 42 additional caseworkers, 23 additional Helpline casewokers, 10 additional Joint Investigative Response Team caseworkers, and 66 additional support workers to free up caseworker time to spend with children and families in need.
  • $95 million in 2017-18 for targeted early intervention to provide parenting, youth and family support programs.
  • $25 million for new evidence-based models improving family preservation through Multisystemic Therapy for Child Abuse and Neglect and Functional Family Therapy Child Welfare services to help at least 900 children a year in 15 priority locations.
  • $148 million ($30 million in 2017–18) over four years to support children with high needs in out-of-home care.

Community partnerships

We are building partnerships between government, non-government and communities to deliver better quality and long-term support for vulnerable children and families.

See an example of community partnerships on the Central Coast

Case study

Experiences from Elizabeth, FACS Manager Client Services 

  Shining a light on good practice

The Aboriginal Family Planning Circle was developed to help Aboriginal families with complex problems to become safer and stronger for their children. Representatives from Relationships Australia, the Marrin Weejali Aboriginal drug and alcohol service, Aboriginal Health Nurses and Aboriginal elders from the local community participated.

Dorothy was four months pregnant when she attended her first meeting at the Circle with her husband Simon. The couple had five children in care and a history of alcohol abuse and domestic violence.

Dorothy and Simon worked with the Circle to develop an action plan. Dorothy and Simon agreed to try relationship, drug and alcohol counselling. The Circle met monthly to track their progress. Elizabeth, Dorothy and Simon’s FACS case worker attended every meeting of the Circle, and made sure to follow through on everything she said she’d do.

The action plan evolved as Dorothy and Simon’s needs changed. Every step of the way, Dorothy and Simon did everything the Circle asked of them. It was looking more and more likely they’d be able to give their baby safety.

Dorothy gave birth to a healthy baby boy called Noah. On the way home from the hospital, Dorothy drove 40km an hour while Simon sat in the back seat to make sure Noah was okay. Even now, Simon still sits in the back whenever they go out!

Noah is now a healthy seven month old baby boy. He recently spent time with his brothers and sisters in regional NSW, where they are in kinship care. Now that Simon and Dorothy are in a better place, it is hoped they’ll be able to play a bigger role in their other children’s lives as well.

Dorothy and Simon no longer need help from FACS, but they are still attending the Circle. FACS was always just one part of the collective and the family has continued support through their local community and the Circle.

Case study source: Shining a light on good practice in NSW

What can you do?

Are you a parent or carer needing help?

Call Parent Line NSW for general counselling and information on 1300 1300 52. The line is open 9am-9pm Monday-Friday and 4pm-9pm weekends.

Know someone who needs help?

  • Report suspected abuse (physical, sexual or emotional) to the Child Protection Helpline on 132 111 (TTY 1800 212 936)
  • Call the Domestic Violence Line on 1800 656 463. The line is open 24/7.

Are you a young person who needs help?

  • If you are in immediate danger, call 000
  • To talk about anything call the Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800
  • To discuss care arrangements, call the CREATE Foundation on 1800 655 105
  • For legal assistance, call Legal Aid NSW's Youth Hotline on 1800 101 810.

Could you be a foster carer?

Our community relies on your generosity to help raise our most vulnerable children in safe and nurturing environments.

Published 22nd December, 2017
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