Reporting obligations to other agencies
Reporting child safety issues or child protection concerns
Staff working in early childhood education and outside school hours care services have obligations to report child safety issues or child protection concerns to different agencies, under the following laws:
- NSW Department of Education
Approved providers, nominated supervisors, and educators all play a role in ensuring the department is notified of incidents, complaints and allegations under the Education and Care Services National Regulations.
- NSW Department of Communities and Justice
Mandatory Reporters (for example educators in centre-based and family day care services) must make a notification if they have current concerns about the safety, welfare or wellbeing of a child under the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998.
- Office of the Children's Guardian
The person who is considered the ‘head of a relevant entity’ (for example an approved provider) must notify the Reportable Conduct Scheme of reportable allegations or convictions under the Children’s Guardian Act 2019 (responsibility for the Reportable Conduct Scheme moved from the NSW Ombudsman to OCG from March 2020).
- NSW Police
If you are concerned a child’s immediate safety is compromised, or have concerns about conduct towards a child that could be criminal in nature you must report to the Police, under the Crimes Act 1900. This applies to all adults in NSW.
More information about reporting child safety issues or child protection concerns can be found on the Reporting incidents or concerns page.
Reporting infectious diseases
Under section 88 of the NSW Public Health Act 2010, leaders or managers of early childhood education and care services must, as soon as practicable, notify their local public health unit (PHU) if they:
- become aware that a child enrolled at the service has a vaccine preventable disease, or
- reasonably suspect that a child enrolled at the service has come into contact with a person who has a vaccine preventable disease, and the enrolled child has no evidence of immunisation lodged to show that the child is immunised against, or acquired immunity by infection, from that 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 service to take certain action in relation to the notification, such as to give notice to a parent that the child is not to attend the service for the duration of the outbreak of the disease.
Services are also encouraged to seek advice from their local public health unit (PHU) when they suspect an infectious disease outbreak is affecting their service, eg gastro or respiratory illness.
A gastro outbreak occurs when two or more children or staff have sudden onset of vomiting or diarrhoea in a two day period.
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 the Public Health Unit of your Local Health District to make a notification. Visit the NSW Health website for more information.
Services should also consider whether a notification to the NSW Regulatory Authority is needed following a situation where a child attending the service has contracted a vaccine preventable disease or when there has been an infectious disease outbreak. Services should consider whether the individual circumstances meet the definitions of information to be notified to the regulatory authority under regulation 12 or regulation 175(2)(c).