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  3. 10. General
  4. 10.14 Referring to Family and Child Connect or intensive family support services for early intervention
  5. Key steps
  6. 1. Roles and functions of Family and Child Connect

1. Roles and functions of Family and Child Connect

Family and Child Connect are funded non-government community-based intake and referral services that provide an additional pathway for referring concerns about the wellbeing of children and their families. Family and Child Connect support vulnerable families by assessing their needs and referring them to the most appropriate support service/s.

Family and Child Connect is part of a sustainable support service system providing children and families with secondary services to meet their needs and assist to prevent their escalation into the tertiary child protection system. 

The purpose of Family and Child Connect, as the key service response of the community-based intake and referral initiative, is to deliver timely advice and effective referral pathways to services and support for vulnerable families and children.  The benefits being sought from this initiative are: 

  1. More efficient child and family support services, including a reduction in unnecessary reports to Child Safety
  2. Improved outcomes for families and children at risk, including an increase in referrals to secondary support services, and increased access to and utilisation of services that meet their needs
  3. A reduction in children in need of protection and in out-of-home care.

This referral pathway enables Child Safety to focus on the delivery of services to children who require statutory intervention to meet their protective needs.

Anyone, including families and children, can contact Family and Child Connect for information and advice about any child and family wellbeing issue.  Family and Child Connect will assess the information provided by the referrer and, considering the family’s circumstances, provide resources, information and advice regarding appropriate support service options.  This includes, where a child or family is eligible, accepting the family as a referral for active engagement.

Where the referral criteria for active engagement is met, Family and Child Connect will make direct contact with the family to assess their needs and seek their consent to undertake a supported referral process to services that can meet those needs (also known as ‘warm transfer’).  The goal of this intervention is to enable families to receive the right services at the right time, before the issues escalate.

With the family’s consent, anyone can refer a family for active engagement.  This includes self-referrals.

Particular prescribed entities (section 159M, Child Protection Act 1999), including Child Safety, can make a referral to Family and Child Connect for active engagement without the family’s consent, in order for support to be offered to the family to prevent a child from becoming in need of protection.

Family and Child Connect can partner with professional referrers to engage with the family. This has two key benefits, firstly to best support the family in engaging with Family and Child Connect through the use of a professional with an existing connection with the family and secondly to increase the skills and knowledge of the professional referrer in accessing support services for children and their families.

In some circumstances, Family and Child Connect can access brokerage funds to secure a service for the family.

Family and Child Connect do not provide direct service delivery or case management to a family. They are a service which enables assessment of a family’s needs and refers families on to appropriate support services and interventions.