Information sharing under Chapter 16A

Exchanging information relating to the safety, welfare and wellbeing of children attending early childhood education and care services in NSW.

Chapter 16A of the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998 allows certain government and non-government agencies – referred to as ‘prescribed bodies’ – to proactively exchange information that relates to the safety, welfare or wellbeing of a child or young person. Chapter 16A facilitates collaboration and simplifies information sharing between prescribed bodies, allowing them to support children’s safety and wellbeing more effectively.

What is a prescribed body?

A prescribed body is an agency or organisation that has responsibility for providing or facilitating the delivery of services for children and young people. Agencies identified as a ‘prescribed body’ under Chapter 16A and section 248(6) of the Act include but are not limited to:

  • NSW Government agencies and authorities, including the Department of Education and Department of Communities and Justice
  • NSW Police Force
  • public and private schools, and TAFE establishments
  • early childhood education and care (ECEC) services
  • public health organisations and private hospitals.

Certain health professionals – including nurses, registered psychologists and speech pathologists – are also considered prescribed bodies for the purposes of Chapter 16A.

About the NSW Regulatory Authority

The NSW Department of Education is the regulatory authority (NSW Regulatory Authority) for the ECEC sector in NSW and is a prescribed body per Chapter 16A. ECEC services include long day care, preschool, family day care, outside school hours care, occasional care, and mobile education and care services.

The NSW Regulatory Authority regulates, monitors and supports more than 6,000 ECEC services across the state. It shares a commitment with other prescribed bodies to prevent and respond effectively to risks of harm to children attending ECEC services in NSW.

The NSW Regulatory Authority has the power to:

  • immediately suspend the operation of an ECEC service if there is an immediate risk to the health, safety and wellbeing of children attending the service
  • enforce compliance with the Children (Education and Care Services) National Law and Education and Care Services National Regulations (National Law and Regulations), including investigating serious incidents involving children, that occur while in care at an ECEC services, such as injuries, assaults or death
  • direct an approved provider to exclude an individual from an ECEC service premises if there are concerns about that individual
  • issue a prohibition notice that prohibits an individual from being engaged in ECEC services, including working as an educator
  • enter a service without consent to search and inspect the premises (sections 199, 200A and 201 National Law)
  • require an individual at a premise to provide evidence that may support an investigation.

Learn more about our role.

What information can be exchanged under Chapter 16A?

A prescribed body can provide (section 245C of the Act) or request (section 245D) information from another prescribed body that relates to the safety, welfare or wellbeing of a child or young person.

Information exchanged between prescribed bodies must be used for child protection purposes, for example to:

  • support decision-making, an assessment or plan
  • understand, assess and manage risks to children
  • initiate or inform an investigation
  • assist with coordinated service planning and delivery.

Information shared between prescribed bodies under Chapter 16A must not be shared with an organisation that is not a prescribed body.

Information sharing with the NSW Regulatory Authority

Information relating to the safety, welfare or wellbeing of children attending ECEC services can be requested from or released to the NSW Regulatory Authority using the provisions under Chapter 16A.

All information received by the NSW Regulatory Authority via Chapter 16A is reviewed, triaged and allocated for the most appropriate action. This may include further investigation by an authorised officer, who is delegated responsibility under the National Law.

When to share or request information

The NSW Police Force may ask the NSW Regulatory Authority to share information when investigating an individual involved in the ECEC sector.

The NSW Regulatory Authority may be able to support the investigation and remove immediate risks to children. For example, the NSW Regulatory Authority can issue a Prohibitions or Direction to exclude an employee deemed a risk to children from the service premises.

Prescribed bodies can share information requested by the NSW Regulatory Authority under Chapter 16A in support of an investigation or compliance activity.

The NSW Regulatory Authority will request information deemed necessary to inform further enquiries to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of children attending ECEC services. Delays in provision of information can potentially increase the risk of harm to children.

Prescribed bodies may seek or share information with the NSW Regulatory Authority relating to an incident at an ECEC service, or about an individual who is employed by, owns or is actively involved in the provision of education and care.

Sharing this information will assist the NSW Regulatory Authority to manage any risk to children and to initiate or conduct an investigation where required.

Prescribed bodies can share concerns about activities, incidents or events at a location where education and care is provided. This includes concerns identified:

  • during the execution of a search warrant or arrest
  • attendance due to domestic violence at a location that is identified as an ECEC service, including family day care residences.

Refusing a request for information

There are certain situations where prescribed bodies can refuse to provide information requested under Chapter 16A. This includes when a prescribed body reasonably believes the information requested would prejudice care proceedings or endanger a person’s life or physical safety (section 245D (4) of the Act).

Any prescribed body that refuses to provide information requested under Chapter 16A must notify the requesting agency in writing its reasons for refusing the request (section 245D (5)).

Contact us

To release or request information under Chapter 16A, please email

For all other enquiries, please contact the Early Childhood Education and Care Information and Enquiries Team on 1800 619 113 (toll free) or email

More information


  • Early childhood education

Business Unit:

  • NSW ECEC Regulatory Authority
Return to top of page Back to top