Department of Human Services

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The new child and family support system

Many services and programs are playing a role in supporting families to keep children safe and well at home and reduce the need for children to be removed from their families to ensure their safety.

The Child and Family Support System is made up of a spectrum of services are able to respond to different degrees of complexity and safety concerns of children and families. These services span from community capacity building through to intensive case management.

We know that in 2019–20 there were approximately 8,600 families at high risk of continued and escalating contact with the tertiary child protection system. At this stage of the reform, the service system must be strongly focused on these families and be flexible, to enable them to shift between services of varying levels of intensity as their needs change over time.

To support higher levels of complexity and need, we have commissioned new non-government Intensive Family Services and repositioned our government Safer Family Services. Our new approach will ensure our efforts are focused on intervening earlier, and more intensively, to keep children safe in their families and prevent them needing to enter out-of-home care.

Our research has identified four population groups who are likely to experience the most challenges and develop the most complex needs, and therefore require assistance from multiple service systems. As a result, we are focusing our early intervention efforts on these groups and designing services that specifically meet their needs, as we know they have contact with multiple service systems. Prioritising these population groups, particularly at the early stages of parenthood and family formation, is likely to maximise the service impact and disrupt intergenerational vulnerability.

When working effectively with families with multiple and complex needs we must develop and maintain strong connections between the CFSS, DCP, and other key partners in domestic violence, health, education, early childhood and community services.

By working together to strengthen families, and by sharing responsibility for vulnerable children and families, we can ensure the best possible outcomes.

Page last updated : 17 Sep 2021

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