Keep Them Safe

From 1 January 2013 all inquiries/questions regarding the Keep them Safe Program should be directed to the NSW Government. To visit the Keep them Safe website, please click here

Keep Them Safe


Keep Them Safe: A shared approach to child wellbeing is the NSW Government's five-year plan to fundamentally change the way children and families are supported and protected. Its aim is to improve the safety, welfare and wellbeing of all children and young people in New South Wales.

Note: Summary of changes

The legislation for Keep Them Safe reforms passed through parliament and was assented to on 7 April 2009 raising the mandatory threshold for reporting to Community services from "risk of harm" to "risk of significant harm" as of 24 January 2010.

What is meant by "significant"?

  • Not minor or trivial;
  • May reasonably be expected to produce a substantial and demonstrably adverse impact on the child's or young person's safety, welfare or wellbeing;
  • In the case of an unborn child, may reasonably be expected to produce a substantial and demonstrably adverse impact on the child.

Significant harm circumstances:

  • Neglect
  • Physical abuse and ill treatment
  • Sexual abuse and ill treatment
  • Serious Psychological Harm
  • Cumulative risk
  • Domestic abuse
  • Unborn

Definition of child / young person:

  • Child: the reported victim is under age 16
  • Young person: the reported victim is age 16 or 17

Process For GPs as Mandatory Reporters

GPs should consult the Mandatory Reporter Guide on to determine if a child or young person's risk is above or below the new threshold of significant harm.

  • If significant harm is indicated after following steps in the guide, GPs should contact the Child Protection Helpline on 133 627.
  • If significant harm is not indicated (below the threshold) and the family would benefit from additional services GPs can contact the Family Referral Service in their area.

If a Family Referral Service has not been established in your area, please contact the Keep Them Safe support line 1800 772 479 or the Human Services Network Service Link Directory (HSNET) service link 02 9228 4200.

The keep them safe support line operates 8am to 5pm, Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays).

The Support Line provides assistance in using the new Mandatory Reporter Guide, in determining whether a matter meets the significant harm threshold, and in understanding the changes under Keep Them Safe. It also assists non-government mandatory reporters with referral pathways for cases that fall below the threshold, including providing information about how to access HSNET and details for referral services.

Family Referral Service (FRS)

The FRS is intended to link vulnerable children and young people whose circumstances do not warrant statutory child protection intervention under the new reporting threshold. A GP can refer to, or discuss with a FRS access to the most appropriate support services in their local area.

The NSW Government has committed to a staged state-wide implementation of Family Referral Services over a 3-5 years time period, When the initiative is fully implemented across NSW, it is expected that every Community Service region will have access to a Family Referral Service.

The first three regions that have commenced services are Dubbo, Newcastle & Mt Druitt.