Family Services Program

The aim of Family Services is to promote the safety, stability and development of vulnerable children, young people and their families, and to build capacity and resilience for children, families and communities.

The target group for Family Services is vulnerable young people and their families who are:

  • likely to experience greater challenges as the child or young person's development has been affected by the experience of risk factors and/or cumulative harm, and/or
  • at risk of concerns escalating and becoming involved with Child Protection if problems are not addressed.

The intention is to provide services to the target group earlier, to protect children and young people and improve family functioning.

Child FIRST (Child and Family Information Referral and Support Teams) are located in each of the 24 ChildFirst catchments across Victoria, to provide a community-based referral point into Family Services and other appropriate support services.

Family Services provide a comprehensive range of services and approaches. These include:

  • a strengths based approach and comprehensive needs and risk assessment
  • identification of pathways and key transition points that focus on earlier intervention, prevention and diversion
  • capacity to provide intensive, multidisciplinary responses
  • authorisation to consult with or make reports to Child Protection when a child is believed to be in need of protection.

Family Services are delivered within a casework framework and interventions are determined by an assessment of need and development of a child and family action plan to address the needs identified. This plan determines the goals of intervention for the child and family, and details the interventions to be undertaken.

Intervention ways and approaches to enhance parenting capacity and skills; parent-child relationships; child development; and social connectedness may include:

  • Outreach
  • In home support
  • Family decision making/family group conferencing
  • Group work
  • Counselling
  • Brokerage
  • Accessing universal services
  • Secondary consultations.

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