Department of Human Services

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Safe Start (formerly CFARNs)

Safe Start (formerly Child and Family Assessment and Referral Networks (CFARNs)) refers to multiple agencies working together to support families at risk of having their infants (aged 0 to 2) placed in out-of-home care.

Safe Start work with families who are experiencing complex issues.

The key objective of Safe Start is to contact at-risk women before their children are born and strengthen their parenting capacity. The network builds on each woman’s level of protectiveness and understanding, and on her connection to kinship and community.

Safe Start also support families with infants who are living with:

  • disability
  • complex needs, and
  • child protection concerns.

The network helps these families to access the right services.

Interventions by Safe Start are:

  • coordinated
  • targeted, and
  • culturally responsive.

This improves each family’s:

  • safety,
  • health,
  • development, and
  • wellbeing.

How Safe Start (formerly CFARNs) work with families

Safe Start is culturally responsive. They ensure that Aboriginal people, families, and communities are supported by services that believe in self-determination and true partnership.

Likewise, Safe Start ensures that Cultural and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) families are supported in ways that acknowledge and recognise cultural diversity and practices.

Safe Start delivers services with openness, honesty, and transparency. They have difficult and challenging conversations with families about child protection risks. They create assessments and referrals to service providers when required. These service providers then support families to improve their safety and wellbeing, using tailored, high-quality services.

Page last updated : 31 Mar 2022

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