Child protection and wellbeing
We are committed to protecting the safety of children and young people, minimising the impacts of harm and improving their well-being.
Referrals and consultations can be made by contacting the hospital or Unit direct during business hours and speaking to the intake worker.
Referrals are triaged in relation to the forensic and medical urgency and on the crisis psychosocial needs of the child and family.
An 24 hour after-hours on call service staffed by medical and social workers is available for crisis situations. The intake worker should be contacted for an appointment time both in and out of hours.
Child Protection Unit
The Children's Hospital at Westmead
- Phone: 02 9845 2434
- After hours: 02 9845 0000
- Fax: 02 9845 2495
Sydney Children's Hospital, Randwick
- Phone: 02 9382 1412
- After hours: 02 9382 1111
- Fax: 02 9382 1410
Protecting children is everyone’s business
The Sydney Children’s Hospital Network is committed to promoting the health and well-being of children who may be at risk of harm due to neglect, physical, sexual and emotional abuse, and domestic violence through excellence and leadership in assessment, treatment, prevention, education, advocacy, and research.
The Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network provides a number of specialty services to respond to the safety, welfare and wellbeing needs of children and young people and to support health & other workers in fulfilling their child protection and wellbeing responsibilities.
Child Protection Units
There are two Child Protection Units located in the Children’s Hospitals at Westmead and Randwick. They provide forensic, medical and counseling health services for children, young people and their families following allegations of child abuse and neglect. These multi-disciplinary teams include specialist medical and psycho-social health professionals. The CPU’s incorporate NSW Health Sexual Assault Services. They work within and interagency framework in partnership and with shared responsibility with Community Services, Joint Investigation Response Teams (JIRT) and the Police.
Services are provided for children and young people 0-16 years of age.
- Forensic, medical and psycho-social assessments following allegations of child abuse and neglect.
- Medical investigations and treatment.
- Support and crisis counseling to children, young people and their families where there has been an allegation of abuse and neglect.
- Ongoing counseling to children, young people and their families where sexual abuse has been investigated and confirmed by Community Services, Joint Investigation Response Teams or the Police.
- Advocacy and case management.
- Expert court testimony
- Group work for children and young people who have experienced sexual abuse and for their non-offending caregivers.
- Assessment and counseling to children under 10 years with problematic sexualized behaviour.
- Groups for children in out of home care and their carers.
- Health screening services to children in out-of-home-care with complex needs and or via specific referral pathways from Community Services
- Court preparation and court support programs
- Professional education and training programs
- Support and consultation to professionals across NSW
Health Child Wellbeing Unit
The Health Child Wellbeing Unit (CWU), managed under the auspice of the Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network, is a telephone advisory service staffed by child protection professionals.
The Unit can be contacted by any medical practitioner in NSW, or by any public health professional for advice and assistance on a range of matters concerning the safety, welfare and wellbeing of children and young people.
This includes advice about:
- whether or not concerns constitute suspected risk of significant harm
- use of the Mandatory Reporter Guide
- who else a Health worker may need to talk with about providing support and services to a child, young person or family available referral options
- developing a plan and interventions to address child wellbeing or child protection concerns
- conversations Health workers could have with clients to achieve better outcomes for children and young people.
The CWU will confirm over the phone and /or by email your contact with the CWU, provide a summary of agreed actions and any additional information about service providers or options.
Aboriginal workers are available at the CWU to assist in providing a culturally appropriate response for Aboriginal clients.
Workers can ask whether an Aboriginal Assessment Officer is available when they ring the CWU.
NSW Health Child Wellbeing Units
To contact a NSW Health Child Wellbeing Unit call 1300 480 420 business hours.
Health workers can provide initial information about their concerns, via email or telephone messaging which will be followed up on the next business day.
Health worker responsibilities
All health workers have professional and legal responsibilities to promote the health, safety, welfare and well-being of children and young people, working collaboratively in the shared system of child protection in NSW.
It is important for all Health workers to be able to recognise child wellbeing or child protection concerns and to know what action to take, to address concerns as early as possible, before issues escalate.
Health workers should also be alert to situations where intervention is required because chronic and complex health care needs of children and young people, (or their parents / carers) are impacting on their safety, welfare and wellbeing.
The key responsibilities of health workers in relation to child wellbeing and child protection are as follows.
- Act on any safety, welfare or wellbeing concern you have.
- Collaborate with other health workers and agencies and share information (16A) to promote the safety, welfare and wellbeing of children or young people. Take reasonable steps to coordinate services provided.
- Meet reporting requirements for children or young people at suspected risk of significant harm (ROSH) to the Child Protection Helpline, or contacting the Child Wellbeing Unit.
- Report unborn children where they may be at suspected ROSH after their birth.
- Respond to the needs of children, young people and families after making a child protection report.
- Respond to Community Services, the Children’s Court or Police requests to provide a health service, including medical examination & treatment, or to assist in Court proceedings.
- Meet requirements re. Working with Children Checks and preventing & responding to ‘reportable conduct’.
- Follow the NSW Health Policies & Procedures including: use of the Mandatory Reporter Guide, responding to High Risk Birth Alerts, escalation of child protection concerns, out of home care health assessments and assumption of care by Community Services.
If you are concerned about a child or young person known to you in your capacity as mandatory reporter who is at suspected risk of significant harm due to abuse or neglect you must make a report to the Community Services Child Protection Helpline.
Call the Community Services Child Protection Helpline on 133627
The Helpline is available 24 hours per day 7 days per week to take reports.