Spotlight on Australia

Although the name of this agency is the National Family Preservation Network, you may or may not know that we have a strong international presence.  A few months ago, I wrote about our work in the Spanish-speaking world, particularly in Chile, and now I’d like to feature our work in Australia.  Numerous agencies in Australia provide services to preserve and reunify families.  Approximately 90 Australian agencies have acquired our assessment tools (NCFAS-G, NCFAS-G+R, Trauma/Well-Being) since 2007, and many of them are implementing the tools on a widespread basis.  Here are some examples of the great work being done there:

Barwon Child, Youth & Family

The Funding Reform has allowed BCYF services to commence the design of a model that supports integration across the child and family system, allowing practitioners to deliver a more consistent mix, sequence and intensity of services necessary to help children recover from harm and improve family capability.  It enables a more seamless and continuous service system, setting it up to move towards outcomes-focused performance management in the longer term.

This centralised response provides flexibility and increases understanding and collaboration across service provision.  This design enables the skilled, multi-disciplinary practitioners to be assigned to a client throughout the whole process of intake, assessment and intervention.  All practitioners have the skillset and ability to offer brief to intensive support and are able to step up or down the level of support provided to families, as required. 

CatholicCare Hunter Manning

The Brighter Futures program aims to strengthen families so that their vulnerable children can live safely at home, protected from abuse and neglect, and enjoy the best possible start to life.  It is a voluntary, targeted intervention service to families with at least one child under the age of nine living at home or expecting a child who will be at high risk of entering the statutory child protection system.  Brighter Futures is designed to enhance child safety, parenting capacity and family functioning.  It has four integrated service components: structured home visiting, parenting programs, quality children’s services and brokerage funded support.  Brighter Futures service providers refer and assess families and then undertake ongoing case management and coordination of service delivery to those families.

Key Assets Australia

This agency implements the NCFAS-G+R and T/WB Scales into an intensive family engagement program in Tasmania, family preservation and restoration services in Victoria, and a kinship care program in Queensland.  These programs use these tools to assess families by collecting information to support their goals, and then the programs work with families to achieve their goals through their participation in the service.  These programs also use the completed data to measure outcomes of their work and to tell stories of the changes families are able to make in their work with Key Assets.

Uniting

  • Brighter Futures Program:  a program that works with families whose children are between the ages of 0-9 and are at high risk of entering the statutory child protection system, they work with families for up to 18 months.
  • Intensive Family Services:  a program that works with families whose children are at risk of being taken into out-of-home care, they work to keep children at home.  Sometimes children may already be in out-of-home care, so this program works to reunify them.  This is an intensive program that is six months in duration.
  • Permanency Support Program – Family Preservation:  this program works with families whose children are at high risk of entering out-of-home care.  It is intensive and is two years in duration.
  • Newpin:  a therapeutic centre-based program that works with birth parents and their children.  The parents attend the centre multiple times a week and initially work toward having their children return home and then continue to attend the centre once their children return home.

Yerin Aboriginal Health Services

This agency provides over 31 programs including primary health care, social and emotional wellbeing, statutory out-of-home care, and National Disability Insurance Scheme.  They utilise the NCFAS-G+R and T/WB Scales for their family preservation and Adverse Childhood Experiences clients.

I also want to mention that in-person and online training is provided to Australian agencies by Tim Ryan at Ryan & Sons.  He can be reached at tim@ryanandsons.com.au. We also partner with Community Data Solutions that provides web database services in Australia.  If you’d like more information about this, please contact me at director@nfpn.org.

NFPN is very grateful for the opportunity to work with agencies in Australia, and we have plans to enhance these relationships even more in the future.  To our Australian collaborators, we wish to express our heartfelt thanks!

Posted by Michelle Reines, NFPN Executive Director

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