New legislation

Extended family sitting outdoors smiling

The legislation for the Keep Them Safe reforms passed through Parliament and was assented to on 7 April 2009. A staged approach to commencement of the Children Legislation Amendment (Wood Inquiry Recommendations) Act 2009 has been taken to ensure that training and support tools are in place before the legislation takes effect.

Provisions proclaimed in June/July 2009:

  • establish the position and functions of the new President of the Children's Court
  • change the reviewable deaths definition and the Ombudsman's reporting period, implementing two specific Wood recommendations.

Provisions proclaimed on 30 October 2009:

  • establish a scheme for the exchange of information between government agencies and non-government organisations involved in the safety, welfare or wellbeing of children and young people.

Provisions proclaimed on 24 January 2010:

  • raise the mandatory threshold for reporting to Community Services from "risk of harm" to "risk of significant harm"
  • include two new grounds that indicate a child may be at risk of significant harm: 1) parents or carers have not made proper arrangements and are unable or unwilling for their child to receive an education; and 2) a series of acts or omissions that when viewed together may establish a pattern of risk of significant harm (cumulative impact)
  • set up an alternative reporting process for mandatory reporters in major government reporting agencies (establishing Child Wellbeing Units in the agencies that the Wood Special Commission of Inquiry into Child Protection Services in NSW found made over 60 per cent of all reports) and remove penalties for not reporting
  • allow disclosure of reporter identity to a law enforcement agency investigating a serious offence against a child or young person, in limited circumstances
  • simplify and streamline the Children's Court process, making it more user-friendly
  • clarify the Court's role regarding children in out-of-home care
  • establish a new approach to out-of-home care based on children being in statutory, supported, and voluntary out-of-home care.

Provisions proclaimed on 31 March 2010:

  • expand the categories of people subject to "working with children" background checks.

A small number of remaining provisions will be proclaimed over time.