The NSW Government fully supports the eight principles set down by Justice Wood in the final report of the Special Commission of Inquiry into Child Protection Services in NSW. These principles are:
- Child protection is the collective responsibility of whole-of-government and the community.
- Primary responsibility for rearing and supporting children should rest with families and communities, with government providing support where needed, either directly or through the funded non-government sector.
- The child protection system should be child-focused, with the child's or young person's safety, welfare, and wellbeing of paramount concern, while recognising that supporting parents is usually in the best interests of the child or young person.
- Positive outcomes for children and families are achieved through development of a relationship with the family that recognises their strengths and needs.
- Child safety, attachment, wellbeing, and permanency should guide child protection practice.
- Support services should be available to ensure that all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young persons are safe and connected to family, community, and culture.
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should participate in decision making concerning the care and protection of their children and young people with as much self-determination as possible, and steps should be taken to empower local communities to that end.
- Assessments and interventions should be evidence-based, monitored, and evaluated.
The government is using these principles to build an integrated system that supports vulnerable children, young people, and their families. This system will include new reporting and referral arrangements that provide alternative ways for children and families to access the support services they need.
In cases where statutory intervention is needed to protect children and young people, the Keep Them Safe reforms aim to improve the response of the NSW Government, the courts, and non-government organisations.