In a life threatening emergency dial Triple Zero (000)

In a life threatening emergency dial Triple Zero (000)
ACT Public Hospitals

Canberra Hospital

5124 0000

Calvary Hospital

6201 6111

Mental Health

Call Mental Health Triage on

1800 629 354

(free call except from mobiles or public phones) or

6205 1065

Poisons Hotline

For a poison emergency in Australia call


Drug and Alcohol Help Line

The Drug and Alcohol Help Line is available 24-hours, 7 days a week on

5124 9977

Health Protection Service

For after hours urgent public health matters including environmental health, radiation safety, food poisoning and communicable disease management phone:

(02) 6205 1700


24 hour health advice

1800 022 222

ACT State Emergency Service

Emergency help
during flood or storms

132 500

Information Sharing

In this section:

Learn about the information you can expect to receive about the child when they come into your care, what details you can and cannot share about them with different people, and what information birth parents will receive about you.

Information about the child in your care

Before a child comes into your care, you will receive information about them to help you understand their situation and needs. This will give you insight to how best care for them. Your case manager will share this information with you.

Relevant information about the child will be shared with you throughout their time with you. Some of the information you can expect to receive may include:

  • names of the child’s family and other significant people in their life
  • reason for the child coming into care
  • how long the child will be in your care (although this can change)
  • a copy of the child’s current Care Plan, court order or Voluntary Care Agreement
  • information that impacts the child’s (or your) safety and wellbeing
  • the child’s emotional and physical health needs, medical history, and their culture and religion
  • Aboriginality or cultural background
  • contact arrangements with the child’s birth family and other significant people
  • education/childcare details, such as schooling and childcare arrangements
  • routines the child is use to
  • likes, dislikes, hobbies, meal preferences
  • specific behavioural issues
  • contact details for your case manager, ACT Together and CYPS

Sometimes, when the child first comes to stay with you, some of this information is not yet available. We understand the uncertainty of not having all the answers or, for example, not knowing how long the child will be in your care can be hard for everyone and can make planning for the future difficult and sometimes unsettling. But remember, your case manager is there to help, so if you have any questions please contact them.

The information shared with you will be relevant to the care and planning needed for the child. Information that does not impact their care will not be shared with you in respect to other people’s right to privacy. For example, there may be reports about a parent’s personal history that may not be relevant to the care and planning needed for their child, and so this information would not be shared with you.

The child in your care also has a right to information. As appropriate to their age, they will also be provided with information about their care arrangement. This includes information about the members of your family, contact arrangements with their birth parents, siblings, or significant others, as well as contact details for their case manager and when they will visit.

Back to top

Information you can share

The child in your care has a right to confidentiality and privacy. This includes how information about them can be used and who it can be shared with.

As their carer, you have an obligation to protect the privacy of the child and their family – this includes personal information you know about the child’s history.

However, there are situations where it is okay for you to share information about the child in your care. This is when it would support and assist the child, like sharing information with their school to help them understand what may be currently happening in the child’s life. For example, if after a contact visit the child is upset, you may decide to let the teacher know this to give some context and understanding to how the child is behaving.

The Children and Young People Act 2008 allows this type of information sharing to happen when an individual, such as a carer, is performing a function under the Act and it is in the best interests of the child.

As a member of the child’s Declared Care Team (Care Team for short), you can always share information with others in the team. The purpose of the Care Team is to share information, work collaboratively and share decision-making in a confidential manner (this is provided for under the Act). The Care Team is typically formed early after the child enters care, and is made up of people and services specific to the child’s care. The team is usually formed by your case manager, who also manages the communication amongst the team. The membership of the Care Team may change as the needs of the child change.

Everyone who receives information about the child in your care becomes an ‘information holder’ under the Act. All information holders have a legal responsibility to protect the information they receive and can only share it when performing a function under the Act.

When thinking about sharing information with others, consider whether it is necessary for the child’s protection and wellbeing, or to perform your function as a carer.

If you are not sure who you can share information with, talk to your case manager about this. Remember, you can always discuss details about the child in your care, and the child’s family, with your case manager.

Back to top

Information you cannot share

Keeping in mind the information from the previous section, it is important you do not share the fact the child you are caring for is subject to a Care and Protection Order with anyone outside of the child’s Care Team. It is also important you do not share information about the reasons why you are caring for the child – this includes family, friends, colleagues and neighbours. This can be a tricky situation, as people will realise the child is living with you and are likely to ask questions.

For example, you should not tell your family the child is coming to live with you because their parents are drugs users or because they were neglectful. Instead, keep the information general. It is okay to say you are just helping the family out for a while, or the child is staying with you while their family is getting some help. This is often a more natural situation for kinship carers as it is not unusual to help out family or friends. For foster carers, people may ask more questions, but it is important not to share any confidential information.

It is a good idea to have some standard responses to questions ready, for example, ‘They are just staying with me for a few days’, ‘I am just helping the family out for a while’, ‘Sorry that is private’.

Social media is another way many people share information about themselves and those in their life. This is an area you should always discuss with your case manager and it should be decided on an individual basis. However, your initial position should be to not post any photos or comments that could identify the child in your care. Remember, it is a criminal act to identify a child as being subject to a Care and Protection Order or in out of home care. This can stigmatise the child and place their safety, and yours, at risk. See also ‘Internet safety’.

As a carer, you have an obligation to protect the privacy of those involved. If you are unsure, or want some help in how to respond to people’s questions, contact your case manager for advice.

Back to top

Information birth parents know about you

As a carer, your privacy is important. Any information provided to the child’s birth parents by CYPS or ACT Together is required to be treated by them with the utmost confidence.

If the child you are caring for is on a Voluntary Care Agreement, their birth parents will generally be given your name, address and phone number.

However, if the child you are caring for is on a Care and Protection Order, their birth parents will only be provided your information with your permission if the level of risk to the child, you and your family is low. It is possible though, if you are a kinship carer, that the birth parents already know you very well because of your family connection. This is likely to include your contact details and where you live.

Back to top

Back to top

Forward to next section