Family services

Family Services promotes the safety, stability and development of vulnerable children, young people and their families, with a focus on building capacity and resilience for children, families and communities.

Family Services targets vulnerable young people and their families who are:

  • Likely to experience greater challenges – as the child/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.

What we provide

  • A strengths based approach, including a 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. 

When we intervene

Interventions are determined by both an assessment of need, and the development of a child and family action plan. This plan determines the goals of intervention for the child and family, and details the interventions to be undertaken.

Intervention approaches may include:

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

The aim being to enhance parenting capacity and skills, parent-child relationships, child development, and social connectedness.

Child and Family Information Referral and Support Teams (Child FIRST)

Child FIRST are located in each of the 24 Child First catchments across Victoria. They provide a community-based referral point into Family Services and other appropriate support services.

Policy and guidelines

The following policy and program guidelines support the planning and delivery of quality services across the integrated child and family services system.