Parents and caseworkers are outraged the state government will abolish two specialist services that provide after-hours support for marginalised teenagers in Kings Cross and Cabramatta.
The services operate seven days a week and after hours to divert teenagers from crime and help reconnect them with their families.
The NSW government has confirmed it will disband the two units and absorb resources into seven units spread across the state.
Caseworkers who spoke to Fairfax Media said resources would be spread too thinly under the new arrangements and they would no longer be able to spend time building relationships and supporting young people and families.
One case worker who spoke on the condition of anonymity said the Cabramatta and Kings Cross adolescent units provided invaluable support for vulnerable young people.
"There are vulnerable teenagers in these areas who won't get a service now," the caseworker said.
"We work with them and their families to help keep them at home and keep them off the street and get them back into education.
"The new service will be spread too thin."
Another caseworker said under the new arrangements, caseworkers would only have time to assess young people. There would be no time for building relationships and providing after hours care.
"It is just ticking the boxes and very short sighted breaking up an established service," the caseworker said.
"The new system will provide a higher turnover, with no time to spend on support or follow up.
"There will be no after hours service - we see people until 9pm. The new service will be nine to five."
The caseworker said removal of the adolescent units in Kings Cross and Cabramatta would also put greater strain on education and juvenile justice services.
"I just can't believe they don't think they need adolescent service to stop kids congregating in gangs," the caseworker said.
"This is a very specialised service for the most marginalised kids".
One Sydney parent, Jamal Ammoun, said the Cabramatta adolescent unit had helped keep his daughter at home. He said she was being encouraged by her peers at school to leave home. But the intervention of the service has helped resolved the problem.
Mr Ammoun said his daughter had attention deficit disorder and related behaviour problems.
"It is a good service because they came to my house. Her schoolmates would tell her what to do and she would follow them," Mr Ammoun said.
"She is a lot better. It was a good service for her.
"She doesn't think about leaving home any more.
"I am so sad to hear they are closing this office."
The Public Service Association of NSW called an emergency forum on Thursday to protest against the plans to disband the Kings Cross and Cabramatta street teams.
Assistant Secretary Steve Turner said the department of family and community services had confirmed the unit's specialist team would be split up, despite its success.
“The break up of the Kings Cross Adolescent Unit clearly shows the government has no effective plan for tackling the serious issue of youth at risk on the streets of the Cross,” Mr Turner said today.
“For 27 years, the specialist team has reached out to tens of thousands of vulnerable kids and removed them from the danger of Kings Cross, including drugs, alcohol and prostitution.
“These caseworkers can't tackle serious teen issues by working regular office hours or remotely – they need to be out on the streets at night speaking with vulnerable teens and offering assistance."
The Public Service Association has urged the government to guarantee the Kings Cross Adolescent Unit can continue work as a dedicated unit.
Opposition spokeswoman for Family and Community Services Linda Burney said the government has also abolished mental health services for adolescents.
She said caseworkers had told her that from July 1, the mental health service will only be available to children under 12.
"This is another frontline service cut reducing early intervention and prevention programs for vulnerable adolescents," she said.
"It is short-sighted and the long-term implications of cuts like these will mean more children being caught up in out of home care."
"Street teams are particularly effective because they can provide a rapid response in a crisis, which is exactly what's needed in areas like Kings Cross and Cabramatta," she said.
"This is yet another crazy decision that will put children and young people in these communities at greater risk".
Ms Burney also said frontline staff vacancies were becoming chronic in many locations including Brewarrina and Bourke where child protection problems are chronic.
A spokesman for Family and Community Services minister Pru Goward said the adolescent unit would be expanded from two to seven teams serving the whole state.
He said the new service would reach adolescents in places including Parramatta, Albury, Wagga Wagga, the Central Coast and Dubbo.
"Over recent years, there has been a steady reduction in the number of child protection reports referred to the Kings Cross Team," he said.
"The former Government failed to review where services were needed most."
He said the number of caseworkers would increase from 16 in two teams to 61 across seven. Annual funding for the teams would increase from $1.9 million a year for two teams to $8 million a year for seven.
Jim Moore, director general for the Department of Family and Community Services, has written to the PSA and said the expertise of the Cabramatta Street team will be "shared across the region."
"Staff have been offered opportunities to move to other adolescent teams," he said.
"There is significant need for a child protection adolescent response in areas across the metro central region, rather than focussed within the Kings Cross and Central Sydney area.
"For example, Sutherland, Chatswood, Epping, St George and Lakemba community services centres all receive more reports involving adolescents than eastern Sydney and central Sydney.
"Non-government services also undertake outreach work aimed at supporting young people in the Kings Cross and Central Sydney area, and this has reduced the need for the out-of-ours services provided by the unit."
However, Laurie Matthews, the chief executive officer of Caretakers Cottage youth refuge, based in Bondi, said without the Kings Cross and Cabrammatta street teams, teenagers would have no clear point of contact with the Department of Family Services for support.
"The adolescent team form relationships with young people and young people come to them because they are the human face of the department," he said.
"They work every night talking with kids, but that is probably not paying enough dividends for the government because it is not sexy enough and easy to dispose.
"The street teams are the last point of access to the department for an adolescent. It is the best bet a young person has got of getting external supervision other than by getting arrested to get a juvenile justice worker to give them support.
"This is just cost cutting."