Referrals are accepted only from Department of Human Services Child Protection where there is a clear and present need for a child or young person to be placed in alternative care owing to the likelihood of serious harm occurring.
Families First Overview:
The program provides three categories of intervention:
- Placement Prevention
- Reunification and
- Innovative Counselling.
The Families First Program together with families and Child Protection practitioners work together towards assisting families to provide a safe nurturing environment, and prevent unnecessary out of home placements for children.
Families First follows the principles of Strengths Based and Solution Focused Practice with emphasis placed on uncovering and reaffirming people’s abilities, talents, survival skills, hopes and aspirations and above all else ensuring the child/ren safety and wellbeing is at the forefront of practice.
Eligibility will be any child or young person up to the age of seventeen (17) years, and for whom an out-of-home placement is imminent, or is planned to take place within three (3) days, or the child or young person is currently in an out-of-home placement for more than three (3) weeks and less than or equal to three (3) months.
Families First Key Features:
- Short term, intensive intervention for a period of six (6) weeks for Placement Prevention , twelve weeks (12) for Reunification and six (6) sessions of Innovative Counselling
- The intervention focuses on family strengths and is solution focused
- Work occurs in the family’s home and within the community (when applicable)
- Collaborative practice with Protective Services, professionals and community agencies
- After Hours On Call availability for families during the period of the intervention.
Intake and Case Management Process for Families First referrals:
- Child Protection team leader or delegated person contacts the delegated Families First intake person at FamilyCare to discuss possible referral, to ascertain vacancy and eligibility and to discuss and mutually agree to clear bottom line standards for the child/ren to remain at home
- Families First worker makes contact with allocated Child Protection worker to go through and sign off the agreement
- Child Protection informs family of referral and ensures family is fully aware of period and intensity of service provision
- Child Protection to arrange for introductory meeting to occur with family whereby Families First worker is introduced and Child Protection inform family of reason for intervention and bottom lines
- Families First and Child Protection are to attend and participate in weekly care plans at FamilyCare to exchange information and provide reciprocal progress updates during the period of the intervention
- Upon case closure a formal written report inclusive of recommendations will be provided to Child Protection.
Shepparton - City of Greater Shepparton and the Shire of Moira.
Seymour - Shires of Mitchell, Strathbogie and Murrindindi.
Contact a Families First Program Leader:
Shepparton 0358 237 000
Seymour 0357 354 600