Working with NSW Department of Communities and Justice  

The NSW Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ) is the government agency responsible for child protection in New South Wales

The Department has the legal power to remove children from the care of their families but only if they are at risk of significant harm. They must have their decisions looked at by a court.

Your rights


Your rights as a parent while your child is in care

“I have been able to work collaboratively with the carer and agencies in making decisions regarding my child. We have been able to get to a point where we have achieved unsupervised visits, which is important to maintain my connection with my child. The carer and I both have my child’s best interests at heart” (Parent)

It can be very challenging to work with the Department, especially when you are stressed and worried about what will happen with your child. Here are some tips and ideas that other parents have found helpful when working with the Department, other agencies, caseworkers and case managers:

  • Get legal advice as early as possible.
  • Go to all appointments and meetings and be on time.
  • Have a support person with you to help you in your interactions with the Department. This can be a worker, a friend or anyone you trust. It is OK to have a support person with you and it is also OK for you to ask for this person to speak on your behalf if you are feeling very upset. When someone talks on your behalf they are often called an This means they may ask for services and outcomes that you feel you need and that are good for your kids.
  • Keep records of all your communications and interactions with the Department. This includes phone calls, emails., letters and meetings. Use a journal to record verbal conversations and ask all decisions to be given to you in writing.
  • Ask about meetings and other decision-making processes and how you can be involved.
  • Ask for Family Time (contact) with your child as soon as possible.
  • Provide any information that you think the carer needs to know. If your child is being cared for by someone you know they may still need information that only you have about your child. If you can’t contact them, ask the Department to pass it on.
  • If you don’t know who is caring for your child ask the Department to arrange a meeting with them so you can start to get to know one another. They may not agree to this but it is still worth asking. Good relationships between carers and parents lead to better outcomes for kids.
  • If you are having a really stressful day and worry that you might not speak to the Department in a helpful way, write down what you would like to say and phone later when you feel clearer and calmer.

Hunter Valley and Central Coast DCJ contact details:

Charlestown Community Services Centre (CSC)

309 Charlestown Road, Charlestown

Tel: 02 4985 1500

Maitland CSC,

309 Charlestown Road, Charlestown

Tel: 02 4985 1500

Raymond Terrace CSC

29 Port Stephens Street, Raymond Terrace

Tel: 02 4983 4300

Cessnock CSC

6 Charlton Street, Cessnock

Tel: 02 4993 5000

Mayfield CSC

330 Maitland Road, Mayfield

Tel: 02 4904 8600

Taree CSC

42 Victoria Street, Taree

Tel: 02 5594 2000

Wyong CSC

9 Hely Street, Wyong

Tel: 02 4352 6500

Edgeworth CSC

720 Main Road, Edgeworth

Tel: 02 4958 0100

Muswellbrook CSC

6 Market Lane, Muswellbrook

Tel: 02 6542 3444

Gosford CSC

231 – 237 Mann Street, Gosford

Tel: 02 4321 7500

Need to make a complaint?

The Hunter Valley and Central Coast Department contact details are listed above. If you want to make a complaint about DCJ check our making complaints page.