Reporting obligations to other agencies
Nominated supervisors and persons in day-to-day charge must complete a child protection course approved by the NSW Regulatory Authority (s162A Education and Care Services National Law). For further information visit child protection training requirements.
Educators in centre-based and family day care education and care services are ‘mandatory reporters’ under NSW child protection law. Mandatory reporters must make a report to the Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ) when they have current concerns about the safety, welfare and wellbeing of a child for any of the following reasons:
- the basic physical or psychological needs of the child or young person are not being met (neglect)
- the parents or caregivers have not arranged necessary medical care for the child or young person (unwilling or unable to do so)
- the parents or caregivers have not arranged for the child or young person to receive an education in accordance with the Education Act 1990 (unwilling or unable to do so)
- risk of physical or sexual abuse or ill-treatment
- the parents or caregivers’ behaviour towards the child causes or risks serious psychological harm (emotional abuse)
- incidents of domestic violence are placing a child or young person at risk of serious physical or psychological harm (domestic or family violence)
- the child was the subject in a prenatal report and the birth mother did not engage successfully with support services.
There are two ways mandatory reporters can make a child protection report:
- by calling the Child Protection Helpline on 132 111
- by eReport through the ChildStory Reporter website.
Calling the Child Protection Helpline
Mandatory reporters can call the Child Protection Helpline on 132 111. It is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Reading Mandatory reporters: What to report and when may help you to decide whether you should call or not. The Mandatory Reporters Guide (MRG) is a structured decision-making tool intended to complement mandatory reporters’ professional judgement and critical thinking.
Registering to submit eReports
Mandatory reporters need to register to submit eReports.
Once registered, mandatory reporters:
- can create and submit eReports if the MRG outcome is 'Report to DCJ' or 'Refer to Child Wellbeing Unit'
- will be notified by email when there is a change of status for a report
- can log into the ChildStory Reporter Community website to see the status of any previous reports that have been submitted.
Further information can be found on the Department of Communities and Justice website.
Since 1 March 2020 the Reportable Conduct Scheme has been administered by the Office of the Children’s Guardian under the Children’s Guardian Act 2019.
The scheme monitors how certain organisations (‘relevant entities’) investigate and report on types of conduct ('reportable allegations' or 'reportable convictions') made against their employees, volunteers or certain contractors who provide services to children. Relevant entities include approved education and care services, including family day care educators, that operate under the Children (Education and Care Services) National Law (NSW) or the Children (Education and Care Services) Supplementary Provisions Act 2011. The scheme also covers religious bodies, in response to recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
When the head of a relevant entity becomes aware of a reportable allegation or reportable conviction, the head of that entity must notify the Office of the Children's Guardian within 7 business days and conduct an investigation into the allegations. If the entity’s final report is not ready to submit within 30 calendar days after the head of the entity receiving the report of the reportable allegation or reportable conviction, the head must provide an interim report with information about the progress of the investigation, a reason for not providing the report within 30 days, and an expected timeframe for completion.
If a reportable allegation involves a criminal offence, it will generally require a report to the police. While a police investigation may have priority in these matters, the head of an entity still has to notify the Office of the Children’s Guardian within 7 business days of becoming aware of any reportable allegation or conviction and provide a final entity report or interim/update report within 30 calendar days.
If you have any questions about the scheme, please contact the Reportable Conduct Enquiries Line on (02) 8219 3800 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Further information is available on the Office of the Children’s Guardian website, including:
Under the section 88 of the NSW Public Health Act 2010, directors of a childcare facility must, as soon as practicable, notify the public health officer if they:
- become aware that a child enrolled at the facility has a vaccine preventable disease, or
- reasonably suspect that a child enrolled at the facility who is a child at risk has come into contact with a person who has a vaccine preventable disease.
Examples of vaccine preventable diseases are meningococcal disease, measles and mumps. A full list is available on the NSW Health website
A public health officer may direct the childcare facility to take certain action in relation to the notification, such as to give notice to a parent that a child is not to attend the facility for the duration of the outbreak of the disease.
Directors are also encouraged to seek advice from their local Public Health Unit when they suspect an infectious disease outbreak is affecting their centre, e.g. gastro.
Two or more children with vomiting and/or diarrhoea in a facility constitute a gastroenteritis outbreak and the local public health unit should be notified within 24 hours of each.
For more information on childhood infectious diseases and disease notification see ‘Staying healthy – Preventing infectious diseases in early childhood education and care services’
Call 1300 066 055 to contact with the Public Health Unit of your Local Health District to make a notification.
Any conduct that may meet a criminal threshold should be reported to the NSW Police. Agencies should follow police direction in a criminal matter which may impact upon their own investigative or risk management response.
The NSW Government has recently amended the criminal law to strengthen the protection of children through the introduction of two new offences:
1. Failure to protect a child from child abuse
An adult working in an institution, doing child related work, will commit an offence if they know another adult working there poses a serious risk of abusing a child and they have the power to reduce or remove the risk, and they fail to do so.
2. Failure to report child abuse
An adult is required to report information to police if they know, believe or reasonably ought to know that a child has been abused. Failing to report information to police without a reasonable excuse* is an offence.
*Some reasonable excuses for not reporting include:
- the victim is now an adult and doesn’t want the offence to be reported; or
- the offence has already been reported to the FaCS (Child Story Reporter website or Child Protection Helpline 132 111) or
- if the person fears for their safety or another person’s safety if they report.
For more information please read the following factsheet.
The provision in the crimes legislation can be accessed here.
Links to other resources