Child protection in early childhood: privacy and information sharing

The Victorian Government has created information sharing and family violence reforms to improve the wellbeing and safety of Victorian children and reduce family violence.

Sharing information to support child wellbeing and safety

The Victorian Government has created information sharing and family violence reforms to improve the wellbeing and safety of Victorian children and reduce family violence.

The Child Information Sharing Scheme (CISS), the Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme (FVISS) and the Family violence Multi-Agency Risk Assessment and Management (MARAM) Framework includes a range of Victorian education and early childhood workforces.

Many organisations already work together to improve the wellbeing and safety of Victorian children, and now many Victorian early childhood workforces will become part of a system of sharing, requesting and using information about child wellbeing or safety.

It allows professionals working with children to gain a complete view of the children they work with, making it easier to identify wellbeing or safety needs earlier, and to act on them sooner.

A range of resources are available to ensure that Victorian early childhood education and care workforces have the knowledge and information needed to work consistently and collaboratively to identify and respond to child wellbeing and safety needs.


The following resources are for:

  • centre-based education and care services
  • government, Catholic and independent schools
  • system and statutory bodies
  • education health, wellbeing and inclusion workforces.

They are designed to help organisations prepare their workplaces for implementation and provide guidance on how to share information confidently, safely and appropriately under these new reforms to improve children’s wellbeing and safety.

These resources complement the delivery of Information Sharing and Family Violence Reforms briefings and online modules for education and care workforces. They should be adapted and used as appropriate in line with existing organisational requirements and procedures.

For more information on training, resources and guidance, visit Information Sharing and MARAM.

Following a report to Department of Families, Fairness and Housing (DFFH) Child Protection, Victoria Police, or ChildFIRST you should:

  • consult with your approved provider before disclosing information in the report about the child and their family to anyone (except to verified Victoria Police and DFFH Child Protection workers in urgent situations or if the information is required to protect the safety of that child)
  • seek consent from the child or their parents or carers before disclosing information in the report about the child and their family to anyone other than authorities and service staff members (providing this does not place the child or another person at risk).

This section provides detail on the specific information sharing requirements between:

  • early childhood service staff
  • maternal child health staff
  • Family services (DFFH)
  • Victoria Police
  • community

Privacy laws allow staff to share a child's personal and health information to enable services to:

  • provide and support the education of the child, plan for individual needs and address any barriers to learning
  • support the social and emotional wellbeing and health of the child
  • fulfil duty of care obligations to the child, other children, staff and visitors
  • make reasonable adjustments if the child has a disability, including a medical condition or mental illness
  • provide a safe and secure workplace.

Information sharing between Early Childhood staff

Service staff can legally share certain information about a child with other staff members, without the consent of a parent or carer to allow them to support a child who has been affected, or suspected to have been affected, by child abuse.

Circumstances where it is appropriate to share information about a child who is impacted, or suspected to be impacted by child abuse, may include informing service staff:

  • that a child is in a difficult situation
  • that a child should be monitored and may need support
  • details about what to do if the child seems distressed or how the child can be supported
  • of the management plans and strategies that have been put in place
  • of any potential risks to other children
  • of a contact person if any additional concerns or observations are made about the child or their family.

Maternal Child Health staff

To support you to meet your privacy and information sharing requirements, refer to Maternal Child Health Service Practice Guidelines (PDF, 791KB).

Information sharing with DFFH and Victoria Police

If you receive a request from an officer from DFFH Child Protection or Victoria Police, for information relating to a child who has been impacted (or is suspected to have been impacted) by child abuse, you should:

  • first check the authority and credentials of the person identifying themselves as an officer from the DFFH or Victoria Police
  • provide the information, if the information requested will assist in protecting the child Your approved provider should maintain contact with Victoria Police and DFFH Child Protection as necessary to protect the safety and wellbeing of the children involved.

Information sharing with Family Services

Family Services are Information Sharing Entities (ISE) and can therefore share information with other Information Sharing Entities under both CISS and FVISS.

For more information refer to Information sharing - DFFH Service Providers.

To support you to meet your Family Services privacy and information guidelines you can also refer to Family service.

Information sharing with the community

Planning and care should be taken before providing any information about child abuse to the community. You should be aware that even confirming the existence of an allegation can lead to the identification of a victim. This may be a breach of privacy laws and other legal obligations.

Privacy laws

Reporting suspected child abuse to DFFH Child Protection or Victoria Police does not constitute a breach of Victorian privacy laws. Staff are allowed to disclose personal or health information in cases where this disclosure is authorised or permitted by law.

For example, mandatory reporters can report a child in need of protection from physical abuse or sexual abuse to DFFH Child Protection or the Victoria Police as it is expressly permitted and authorised in the Children Youth and Families Act 2005.

Staff cannot be sued or suffer formal adverse consequences in their work because they have made a report to Victoria Police or DFFH Child Protection. The identity of reporters and referrer's will be protected, unless they consent to its disclosure, or disclosure is required by law.

Disclosure of information to DFFH Child Protection does not constitute unprofessional conduct or a breach of professional ethics if it is done in good faith.