Hot Topics 81: Child care and protection

Hot Topics 81: Child care and protection

Cover image for Hot Topics Child Care and Protection

The online version of Hot Topics 81: Child care and protectionwas updated in February 2015. The update includes changes made to the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998 and the Adoption Act 2000 which came into effect on 29 October 2014.

Responsibility for decisions about a child’s health, schooling and cultural upbringing in Australia generally lies with parents; but when families cannot provide adequate care and protection for their children, the State may intervene in various ways. This issue discusses Australia’s obligations to implement and report under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, as well as parental responsibility, children in out-of home care and initiatives to improve protection for children.

About the author

Associate Professor Judy Cashmore holds a PhD in developmental psychology and a Masters degree in education. She is currently an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Law, University of Sydney (part-time), as well as Adjunct Professor at Southern Cross University. She has experience in research related to children’s involvement in legal proceedings related to child protection, child sexual assault, and family law. In 2010 she was made an Officer of the Order of Australia for her work in child protection and as an advocate for the rights of children, through the development and implementation of social policy and law.

Find out more about Hot Topics.


Chapter one


Limits of parental responsibility - government responsibilities - cases: Commonwealth special welfare powers - UN Convention on the Rights of the Child - UN Convention in Australian law.

Chapter two

Abuse and neglect

Cultural differences - NSW child protection law - objects & guiding principles - Who abuses children? - abuse and neglect in Australia - family circumstances - over-representation of Aboriginal children - past histories of abuse - consequences of abuse.

Chapter three

Reporting abuse and neglect

Who makes reports in NSW? - Child Wellbeing Units - What happens when a report is made? - Magellan - joint investigation response team (JIRT) - reports from the Family Court - Family law definition - asylum-seeking & refugee children.

Chapter four

Responding to child abuse and neglect

Early intervention and support - Family referral services - statutory intervention - what is ADR? - Children's Court hearings - care & protection - Guardians ad litem - care orders - parental responsibility - variations & appeals.

Chapter five

Children in out-of-home care

What is out-of-home care? - How old are children when they enter care? - How long do children stay in care? - How do children fare in out-of-home care? - leaving care.


Hot Topics 81: Child care and protection. Hot Topics is intended as an introductory guide only and should not be interpreted as legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to provide the most accurate and up-to-date information, the Legal Information Access Centre does not assume responsibility for any errors or omissions. The online version was revised and updated in February 2015.

© Library Council of New South Wales 2012. Copyright in Hot Topics is owned by the Library Council of New South Wales. Material contained herein may be copied for the non-commercial purpose of study or research, subject to the provisions of the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth).