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Keep Them Safe

Keep Them Safe: A shared approach to child wellbeing was the NSW Government's five-year (2009-14) plan to reshape the way family and community services were delivered in NSW.

The Keep Them Safe: A shared approach to child wellbeing action plan was published in 2009.

Wood Special Commission of Inquiry

Keep Them Safe was the NSW Government's response to the Wood Special Commission of Inquiry into Child Protection Services in NSW, which was established on 14 November 2007.

The New South Wales Governor commissioned the Hon. James Wood, AO, QC to conduct an inquiry to determine what changes within the child protection system were required to cope with future levels of demand.

The Report of the Special Commission of Inquiry into Child Protection Services in NSW was released by the Government on 24 November 2008. The Report can be accessed as three volumes: Volume 1, Volume 2Volume 3. The Executive Summary and Recommendations is also available.

Key changes

The key elements of the government's reform package were:

  • increasing the threshold for reporting children and young people to the Child Protection Helpline from "risk of harm" to "risk of significant harm"
  • establishing Child Wellbeing Units in the four government agencies responsible for the largest number of child protection reports (NSW Health, NSW Police Force, Department of Education, and Department of Family and Community Services).
  • establishing a network of Family Referral Services
  • enhanced service provision, including prevention and early intervention services and acute services
  • increasing the role of non-government organisations in delivering services
  • changes to out-of-home care
  • changes to processes in the Children's Court
  • providing better services to Aboriginal children and young people, with the aim of reducing their over-representation in the child protection system.

New legislation

Legislation for the Keep Them Safe reforms passed through Parliament and was assented to on 7 April 2009. The resultant legislation was the Children Legislation Amendment (Wood Inquiry Recommendations) Act 2009.


The Keep Them Safe: A shared approach to child wellbeing action plan included a commitment to progressively evaluate its implementation and the effects of the new child protection system on outcomes for children, young people, and their families.

Keep Them Safe Annex I: Other strategies and policies are available upon request. Please email the Department of Family and Community Services to obtain a copy.