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NSW Legislation

The Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection Act) Act 1998 (Care Act) establishes the legislative framework providing child protection and out-of-home care services in NSW.

Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Regulation 2012 forms part of the framework for providing OOHC services, particularly the need for providers to be accredited as designated agencies through the NSW Children’s Guardian.

Children’s Court Act 1987 establishes roles and responsibilities of the Children’s Court.

The Adoption Act 2000 is the legal framework for the adoption of children in NSW and (in conjunction with other legislation) those from overseas.

Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 sets out requirements for the collection, storage, access and accuracy, use and disclosure of personal information.

Health Records and Information Privacy Act 2002 sets out requirements of collection, storage, access and accuracy, use and disclosure of personal health information.

Community Services (Complaints, Review and Monitoring) Act 1993 provides the Ombudsman with the power to conduct systemic reviews of the deaths of children at risk of harm or those in OOHC.

Ombudsman Act 1974 sets out the role of the Ombudsman in monitoring and reviewing the provision of community services, oversighting allegations of reportable conduct and complaint handling.

Guardianship Act 1987 sets out responsibilities, functions, orders and principles applied by the Guardianship Tribunal to appointing guardians for people with disabilities, including young people aged 16-17.

Crimes Act 1990 defines criminal conduct.

Coroners Act 1980 requires the Coroner or the Deputy Coroner to examine certain child deaths, including those of a child in OOHC and a child in respect of whom a report was made under Part 2 of Chapter 3 of the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998.

Victims Rights Act 1996 and Victims Support and Rehabilitation Act 1996. A child who has experienced abuse may be eligible for compensation. Victims Services NSW runs the scheme, which also helps victims in other ways, such as with counselling, support and information.

Commissioning for Children and Young People Act 1998 which provides for conducting the Working with Children Check and also administering the Child Sex Offender Counsellor Accreditation Scheme.

Commonwealth Legislation

Privacy Act 1998 sets out the requirements for the collection, use and disclosure of personal information (including non-government agencies).

Family Law Act 1975 (section 69ZK) gives the Family Court of Australia and Federal Magistrates Court power to make decisions and make orders in respect of children; and covers disputes between persons with an interest in a child’s care (usually parents) where the child is not necessarily ‘at risk’.


NSW Practice Framework – A framework that supports and guides the way in which DCJ work with, and makes decision about children, their parents and families/kin.

NSW Quality Assurance Framework – A framework that provides caseworkers with access to reliable and comprehensive information in relation to outcomes for children in statutory OOHC.

Funded Contract Management (FCM) Framework – describes the way in which DCJ and funded service providers and other service providers manage their contractual relationship. It ensures that governance, financial management and service delivery mechanisms are in place so that services are delivered effectively and efficiently.

Guiding Principles for Strengthening the Participation of Local Aboriginal Community in Child Protection Decision Making – guide the partnership between local Aboriginal communities and DCJ to improve participation in decision making, developed by Grandmother’s Against Removals and other stakeholders.

Human Services Outcomes Framework – provides a common set of population-level wellbeing outcomes and indicators for NSW Government and non-government agencies.

NSW Therapeutic Care Framework – A framework that guides service provision and works towards improving outcomes for children in statutory OOHC.

Polices and Instruments

Creating Cultural Connections for Aboriginal Children and Young People – A reference guide for caseworkers in cultural planning, keeping Aboriginal children connected to their families, communities, culture and Country.

Creating Meaningful Aboriginal Connections Guide – a reference guide for caseworkers to consistently, effectively and sensitively work with Aboriginal children, families and communities, embedding principles of self-determination and participation through a cultural lens.

NSW Charter of Rights for Children and Young People in Care – outlines the general rights and responsibilities of every child and young person in OOHC. These rights reflect those of any child. The Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998 requires that these rights are supported by carers and caseworkers.

Caring for Kids – A carer guide with basic information about which decisions are made by the carer and which need to be made by the agency.

NDIS interface – guidelines for managing the interface between Early Intervention, Child Protection and OOHC with the NDIS.


Practice Framework Standards – Key expectations of DCJ caseworkers and leaders in their work with children, their parents and families/kin.

NSW Child Safe Standards for Permanent Care – standards which support a dual accreditation process for agencies providing statutory OOHC and adoption services.


Last updated:

13 Feb 2023

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We acknowledge Aboriginal people as the First Nations Peoples of NSW and pay our respects to Elders past, present, and future. 

Informed by lessons of the past, Department of Communities and Justice is improving how we work with Aboriginal people and communities. We listen and learn from the knowledge, strength and resilience of Stolen Generations Survivors, Aboriginal Elders and Aboriginal communities.

You can access our apology to the Stolen Generations.

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