Social Work at The Children's Hospital at Westmead

Contact details

Mon-Fri 8:00am -4:30pm

Ph: 9845 2641 or 9845 2642

A social worker is on call for emergencies at all times.

Located on Level 1, near the end of the ramp.

Here at the Department of Social Work, we're concerned with the emotional and social wellbeing of the children and families who come to the Hospital.

Join us for Remembrance Day 2019

Because "love is a moment that lasts forever", every year we invite parents and families to join with us to remember the lives their loved ones who have been patients at the Hospital and have passed away.

Our interfaith memorial service is on Saturday 12 October at 2pm. Please join us. 

You are most welcome to bring flowers with you to place them in memory of your child.

The service will be held in The Children’s Garden, Level one.

Free parking is made available in The Children’s Hospital at Westmead staff carpark. Entrance via Redbank Road, Northmead.

We invite everyone to stay and share refreshments with us after the service. 

If you'd like to come, please RSVP by Wednesday 2 October

Like more information?

Our mission

Here at the Department of Social Work, we're concerned with the emotional and social wellbeing of the children and families who come to the Hospital.

We aim to minimise the impact of illness and hospital treatment on children and families, promote health outcomes, and link children and families with appropriate support services in their community.

Social workers are bound by a code of profession conduct and ethics. We complete post-graduate education and are eligible for professional membership with the Australian Association of Social Workers.

Read more about Social Work.

How we can help

Having a child in hospital can be a stressful time. Having someone outside of the family who is aware of the impact that illness and hospitalisation can have on children and their families can help.

We're here to talk with you about:

  • adjusting to illness and injury
  • coping with stress
  • grief and loss
  • safety and crisis intervention
  • using the hospital and community services
  • concerns about your child’s development or behaviour

Our services

Social Workers work within clinical teams to provide a range of support services to children, parents and families. We coordinate information and support groups and maintain links with community organisations.

We can provide:

  • assessments for support
  • counselling and therapy
  • education and support groups
  • information and assistance in accessing services

Travel and accommodation

Travel and Accommodation Assistance 

IPTAAS is the Isolated Patients Travel and Accommodation Assistance Scheme. It provides financial assistance towards travel and accommodation costs when patients need to travel long distances for treatment that is not available locally.

Eligible patients must:

  • Live 100kms or more from the treating hospital, or travel at least 200kms in one week by making multiple trips to and from treatment
  • Be enrolled with Medicare
  • Be referred for treatment at their nearest health service or local GP

 For more information regarding IPTAAS, please follow the links below.


There is a range of accommodation options during your child's treatment at The Children's Hospital at Westmead. Although you can't pre-book accommodation at the Hospital, you can phone the Accommodation Coordinator on (02) 9845 2958 to discuss parent and carer accommodation options and costs before you arrive.

Alternatively, you can contact Tori Cochrane in the Social Work Department on (02) 9845 2642, for a list of accommodation options for Westmead and surrounding areas.


There are plenty of options when choosing how to get to The Children's Hospital at Westmead

By Train

Westmead Station is just a 10-minute walk from the Hospital.

There are direct bus and train services, and connecting bus, train and ferry services from the city, Parramatta, Strathfield, Penrith and the North Shore.

For easy, free, live timetables and updates for Sydney trains, you can download the TripView App to plan your train trips.

By Bus

There is a bus stop directly out the front of the Hospital's front entrance that can take you to and from Parramatta shopping, the train station and close by grocery stores.

Buses can be accessed by use of OPAL Cards which can be ordered online, or purchased at any Newsagency. 

Bus timetables can be found at the Transport NSW website.

Bereavement Group

The support group is for parents, grandparents, and siblings of children who were patients at our Hospital and have sadly died.

It provides an opportunity to meet other families in similar situations and share experiences. 

The sibling's program allows children to meet with other siblings, share stories and experiences in a creative way. 

Face to Face Groups

You are invited to attend either one or both of these sessions if you wish.

  • Who: Grandparents, Parents, Carers and Siblings
  • Date: Wednesday 17 July 2019
  • Time: 10:30 am - 12:30 am
  • Location: Groups will be held at The Children’s Hospital Westmead

Interested in coming along?

Register now

Like more information?

 Email us or call Denise Potter on (02) 98452642.

Sibling's Day 2019

This year’s Sibling's Day is for brothers and sisters in primary school (6-12 years old) who have a sibling with a long-term medical condition or disability. The day provides an opportunity for brothers and sisters to share experiences with other siblings and enhance their understanding of what happens in the hospital.

It's a fun day that includes visiting some interesting places within the hospital, playing games, talking in groups and meeting hospital staff.

We want everyone to go home with lots of ways to feel less worried about their brother or sister.

Come along; lunch is free!

  • Who: Primary school-aged brothers and sisters of patients with a long-term medical condition or disability.
  • Where: Hospital high school classrooms on Level 1 (past Hunter Baillie Ward, turn right)

Ready to register?

Need more information?

Call Tori Cochrane on 9845 2641 or email us.

Social Work Symposium 

This year's Symposium has been postponed. We have moved the event to 2020 and will let you know when our plans are in place.

The event will showcase innovative and collaborative clinical practice within a range of specialties, and include presentations and workshops.

Attendance will be possible both onsite and via webinar.

Grief and loss resources

Dealing with grief and loss is hard enough for adults. Explaining and supporting grief to children can be challenging especially if the child is pre-verbal or has medical issues of their own. Very often children express grief and loss through their behaviour. We have several booklets which provide information about managing and supporting children through troubling times.

Hospital-based resources

External support agencies

The following support services may be useful to families of the Hospital:

 Social Work Students

The Social Work Department supports the professional development of social work students by offering a range of placement opportunities each year. We are only able to accept students undertaking placement as part of an AASW accredited degree in social work and can not accept volunteers or work experience students.

We have placement agreements with a wide range of universities and all NSW Health placements are booked by the student’s university via a centralised booking system (ClinConnect). Students should not contact the Department to request a placement, please speak with your Universities Field Education staff. NSW Health Policy requires students to undertake a range of checks prior to placement.

Placement is an important part of Social Work education and students gain a sense of their professional role and learn to put what they have been taught at university into practice. We offer indirect (research/ quality improvement/project work) placements for students completing their first placement and direct and/or indirect placements to final placement students.

The placement and on-going work of students within the hospital is coordinated and monitored by the Social Work Student Educator, Jenny Rose, who can be contacted if hospital staff have any feedback about social work students within the hospital.

Students who have been on placement in the hospital have reported a valuable and enriching learning experience and the on-going encouragement of social work students by patients, families and the hospital is appreciated by the Social Work Department.

Want to be a Social Worker?

Social Worker is a four-year undergraduate or two year masters (qualifying) degree offered by a range of universities in Australia. Further information about studying social work can be found on the Australian Association of Social Workers website.