- A raft of important changes to NSW child protection laws will come into effect on 2 November under the Child Protection Legislation Amendment Act 2015.
- The Amendment Act is a response to the serious issues highlighted in the first hearing of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and builds on the NSW Government’s Safe Home for Life reforms.
- The changes will have widespread implications for the child protection sector and other related agencies and individuals, including legal practitioners.
A common sense’ approach that better reflects community expectations to managing and addressing risk to children, underpins a raft of recent changes that aim to strengthen child protection laws in NSW.
The Child Protection Legislation Amendment Act 2015 (Amendment Act) builds on the NSW Government’s Safe Home for Life reforms while also responding to serious issues highlighted in the first hearing of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (Royal Commission). In addition, it implements a recommendation of the Royal Commission’s recent ‘Working with Children Checks’ Report..
The Amendment Act makes changes to the:
- Adoption Act 2000 (Adoption Act);
- Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998 (Care Act);
- Child Protection (Working with Children) Act 2012 (WWC Act);
- Ombudsman Act 1974 (Ombudsman Act); and
- Community Services (Complaints, Reviews and Monitoring) Act 1993 (CSCRAM Act).
The important changes, which received bi-partisan support, were assented to on 28 September 2015. The changes will come into operation on 2 November 2015, except the change to section 13 of the WWC Act which commenced on 15 October 2015.
The changes will have widespread implications for the child protection sector, particularly for:
- designated, registered and non-government agencies involved in providing adoption and out of home care services;
- authorised carers and adult household members of authorised carers;
- employers and workers in child related employment;
- legal practitioners;
- child protection workers; and
- departmental staff administering the relevant legislation.
The key changes to the various Acts are summarised below.