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New South Wales - Legislation

Children (Care and Protection) Act 1987 (1987 - 2010)

  • Children (Care and Protection) Act 1987

    Children (Care and Protection) Act 1987, courtesy of Parliamentary Counsel's Office, New South Wales Government.

Principal Act

The Children (Care and Protection) Act 1987 (58/1987) was introduced to cover children in need of care and protection, including children in institutions, foster care and state wards. It was introduced alongside the Community Welfare Act 1987 and the Children's Court Act 1987. This Act was amended many times. In 1995 the Children (Care and Protection) Amendment Act created the Child Deaths Review Team, which examined child death and the deaths of children in 'care' or detention. The Act was to be repealed by the Children and Young Persons Legislation (Repeal and Amendment) Act 1998 but was repealed by the Children Legislation Amendment (Wood Inquiry Recommendations) Act 2009 in 2010.


According to 'To Remove and Protect', this Act defined a child in need of care as: being in a situation where provision is not being made for the child's care; the child is being or is likely to be abused; or there has been an irretrievable breakdown in the relationship between the child and parents. The concept of 'neglect' was replaced by 'behaviour that harms the child'.

The Aboriginal Child Placement Principle was introduced and outlined a preference to place Aboriginal children with Aboriginal people when they are placed outside their families.

The Children (Care and Protection) (Personal and Family Violence) Amendment Act 1987, dealt with interviewing children subjected to child abuse, neglect and serious assaults. The Children (Care and Protection) (Disability Services and Guardianship) Amendment Act 1987 had to do with medical and dental procedures on children who did not have parents or guardians who could give consent. The Children (Care and Protection) (Prostitution) Amendment Act 1988 amended the Crimes Act to include offences relating to child prostitution and child pornography.


 1866 - 1901 Destitute Children Act 1866
 1869 - 1901 Reformatory Schools Act 1866
       1881 - 1901 State Children Relief Act 1881
       1892 - 1902 Children's Protection Act 1892
       1901 - 1905 Reformatory and Industrial Schools Act 1901
             1849 - 1901 Infant Convicts Act 1849
             1901 - 1923 State Children Relief Act 1901
             1902 - 1923 Children's Protection Act 1902
             1904 - 1923 Infant Protection Act 1904
             1905 - 1923 Neglected Children and Juvenile Offenders Act 1905
                   1901 - 1939 Infant Convicts Adoption Act 1901
                   1923 - 1939 Child Welfare Act 1923
                         1939 - 1987 Child Welfare Act 1939
                               1987 - 2010 Children (Care and Protection) Act 1987
                                     1998 - Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998


Online Resources


Children (Care and Protection) Act 1987
Children (Care and Protection) Act 1987
Parliamentary Counsel's Office, New South Wales Government


Sources used to compile this entry: Blackmore, Rod, 'History of Children's Legislation in New South Wales - The Children's Court', in History of the Children's Court, Lawlink, Lawlink NSW, 2012,'s%20Legislation%20in%20NSW.pdf; Thinee, Kristy and Bradford, Tracy, Connecting Kin: Guide to Records, A guide to help people separated from their families search for their records [completed in 1998], New South Wales Department of Community Services, Sydney, New South Wales, 1998,; To Remove and Protect, New South Wales: Legislation, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies,

Prepared by: Liam Hogan and Naomi Parry