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DCJ Meetings: A Parent’s Guide for Child Advocacy

DCJ meetings

Who is DCJ? 

The Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ) is the main government agency in NSW that protects children. You might also know them as FACS or DOCS which was their name previously. 

What happens when someone makes a report to DCJ? 

Anyone who is concerned that your child may be at risk of harm can make a report to the department of communities and justice by calling the Child Protection Helpline. Some professionals such as doctors or teachers are required to report their concerns to DCJ and are called ‘mandatory reporters’. 

If DCJ decide to investigate a report made to the Child Protection Helpline, they may:

  • Contact you directly 
  • Come to your home with or without an appointment 
  • Request that you come to their office to speak with them 
  • Speak with your children at their school or elsewhere
  • Request information from other people such as doctors, hospitals, police, teachers or other relatives.

Will DCJ Remove my Children?

DCJ may not remove your children if they are involved with your family. If DCJ becomes involved with your family, it does not mean your children will automatically be removed from your care. 

DCJ might ask you to do things to keep your children safe such as: 

  • Ask you to engage in an early intervention program or family support service
  • Ask you to go to counseling to speak with someone about some issues you are facing
  • Ask you to not let your partner live with you and your children
  • Ask you to do a drug test drug tests 
  • Ask you to attend drug or alcohol counseling
  • Ask you to take a parenting courses 

If DCJ thinks your children are at risk of significant harm, they may remove your children. If this happens, you will be required to go to the children’s court. DCJ may think your children are at risk of significant for a number of reasons such as:

  • Physical or sexual abuse 
  • Neglect 
  • Exposure to drugs or alcohol by a parent or caregiver 
  • Exposure to domestic violence 

DCJ may consider your children have already been exposed to one or more of these issues or they might believe there is a risk of it happening in the future.

Our Tips top 5 tips for conversations with DCJ:

  1. Seek legal advice as soon as DCJ become involved with your family 
  2. Be polite and try to get on with your case workers, even if you don’t agree with DCJ.
  3. Arrange for a support person to be present when you speak with DCJ if you feel you need one 
  4. Remember nothing you say to DCJ is confidential and may be used in evidence in children’s court proceedings. 
  5. If DCJ requests you do something or gives you a referral, comply with their directions and engage in the services.