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Before I make a report
To help reporters decide whether a case needs to be reported to the Child Protection Helpline, reporters can use the online Mandatory Reporter Guide.
Mandatory reporters are advised to use the Mandatory Reporter Guide (MRG) to identify whether a child is at suspected Risk of Significant Harm and whether they need to contact the Child Protection Helpline on 132 111.
The Guide works by posing specific questions that help reporters work systematically through the issues relating to concerns they have about a child or young person.
At the end of the process, a decision report will guide the reporter as to what action to take.
If the concern does not reach the threshold for contacting the Helpline mandatory reporters can consult their manager or professional network. They can also seek assistance from their local Family Referral Service.
Mandatory reporters from NSW Health, NSW Police Force and Department of Education and Training can also contact their Child Wellbeing Unit for advice.
Information needed for a Helpline report
Helpful information for Family and Community Services includes:
- full name, date of birth (or approximate age), address and phone number of the child/ren or young person/people you are concerned about
- full name (including any known aliases), approximate age, address and phone number of the parents or carers
- a description of the child or young person and their current whereabouts
- why you suspect the child or young person is at risk of significant harm (what you have seen, heard or been told)
- whether a language or sign interpreter may be required, whether support is required for a person with a disability or an Aboriginal agency is involved
- your name and contact details.
Sometimes you may not have all of this information. As a minimum, Family and Community Services needs to be able to identify and locate the child or young person. Information that assists this, such as the child or young person's school or childcare centre, is also helpful.
Chapter 16A of the NSW Children and Young Person (Care and Protection) Act 1998 provides for the exchange of information and cooperation between prescribed bodies, if the information relates to the safety, welfare or wellbeing of a child or young person.
Section 248 of the Act authorises Family and Community Services to provide information about the safety, welfare or wellbeing of a child or young person to other child protection agencies.
For more information, see the Child Wellbeing & Child Protection - NSW Interagency Guidelines chapter on Information Exchange.