Family support

We fund a suite of services to support families with various levels of need.

Family and Child Connect

The Family and Child Connect services are an entry point for information and support advice for vulnerable families. The role of Family and Child Connect is to assess the needs of a family and help that family link to local services that best meet their needs. Families, community members and professionals seeking assistance can all contact Family and Child Connect to discuss their concerns about a family and what supports are available.

Family and Child Connect may be able to help in a single session, or by taking more time getting to know the family's situation then connecting them to the right services that can help. Family and Child Connect are available to help a family over the phone, or they can visit the family in their home or at place that the family thinks is a safe place to talk.

The service can be accessed by calling 13FAMILY (13 32 64) or by visiting the Family and child connect website.

Intensive Family Support

The Intensive Family Support services responds to vulnerable families with children and young people (unborn to 18) who are at risk of involvement in the statutory child protection system. Intensive Family Support is a consent based program providing case management for clients who agree to engage with the service.

All individuals who identify as being family members of the referred child and consent to engage are eligible for a service. Case managers work collaboratively with families to identify and prioritise their presenting needs and provide intensive support interventions and engagement with specialist services.

Secondary Family Support

Secondary Family Support services are required to reduce harm or risk of harm to children and young people, prevent crises or problems within families from arising or escalating and stabilise or maintain family wellbeing.

It is expected that Secondary Family Supports services will:

  • improve the wellbeing and safety of children, young people and their families
  • build the capacity of families to care for and protect their children
  • provide linkages to local universal support services and community groups that enable families to access the resources they need to build their capacity, solve problems and make positive choices/changes
  • prevent entry or re-entry to the statutory child protection system.

Families are supported by a lead case manager.

Targeted Family Support

The target group for Targeted Family Support services is children, young people (unborn to 18 years) and their families who find themselves in vulnerable situations but are not currently subject to statutory child protection intervention. These services are targeted to a particular cohort or deliver a specific type of intervention.

Services funded under this initiative may work with family members, those who are parenting, whole families and community groups in relation to families with children and young people (unborn to 18 years) who find themselves in vulnerable situations.

It is expected that Targeted Family Support services will:

  • improve the wellbeing and safety of children, young people and their families
  • build the capacity of families to care for and protect their children
  • prevent entry or re-entry to the statutory child protection system.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Family Support

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Family Support services are all run and managed by Indigenous community-controlled organisations. The role of the intensive family support service is to reduce or divert Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families away from the need for ongoing departmental intervention and, for some children, avoiding extended placement in out-of-home care.

The intensive family support programs aim to build on the existing parenting strengths within families through practical support such as budgeting, running a household, improving the attachment between child and parent and reducing risks within the family home and environment.

In addition to delivering an early intervention and prevention service for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families, support is also available for the reunification of children with their families following a period of time in an out-of-home care placement, where this has been assessed as safe and in the best interests of the child.

Safe Haven

The Safe Haven Initiative was established to provide culturally appropriate services to respond to the safety needs of children, young people and their families experiencing or witnessing domestic and family violence in the following communities - Mornington Island, Cherbourg and Palm Island.

Safe Haven services provide a range of services within their community including family support, family counselling, youth work and community capacity building.

Family Intervention Services

The aim of Family Intervention Services is to support clients of Child Safety Service Centres (CSSC) where ongoing intervention by the department is required with a family because of safety concerns.

The principal aims of the funding program are: to preserve families where a child remains living at home under ongoing intervention and monitoring by the CSSC; and to assist in the reunification of the child with their family from out-of-home care where it is determined by the department to be in the best interests of the child.

Family Intervention Services aim to increase the protective factors for the child by improving the overall attachment between the child and parent. The Family Intervention Services response also results in the family either exiting the child protection system with improved skills and parenting ability, or the child feeling and experiencing greater security and stability, including a reduction in safety concerns.

Family Intervention Services also aim to prevent families from re-entering the child protection system by strengthening the caring and parenting skills of the caregiver and their positive participation in family and community life.

National Data Collection

Family Intervention Services participate in an annual data collection of tertiary intensive family support services on behalf of the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and the Australian Productivity Commission.

Participation in the collection of this data is compulsory for all Family Intervention Services and the data collection takes place during August and September.

Each Family Intervention Service will be contacted by the department by email when this data is due with instructions, contact details and the data tables to be completed.