Every year in New South Wales, 30,000 children and their families who need support, are ignored. They are children and young people who are assessed by FACS as being at risk of significant harm and their cases are closed before anyone has contacted the child or family.
Fams is committed to ensuring these children are heard.
To this end, Fams has undertaken to lead a piece of work that will help us better communicate to Government and others the importance of working with children and families. Initially partnering with Social Ventures Australia to deliver this project we are now making recommendations to government based on the outcomes of this work.
The work began in early February 2018 where SVA led a Theory of Change workshop with a small number of our NGO partners to develop a theory of change (hypothesis) of how work with families leads to positive outcomes for children and families, and avoids negative outcomes, including children being placed in out of home care. Developing this theory of change was an important step in being able to clearly communicate the value of the work Fams members and others do with families. It will also act as a guide to the evidence we need to gather to prove that the theory is true, or to amend the theory.
Following the release of the Investing in Children and their Families paper in June 2018, Fams has continued discussions with NSW elected representatives, FACS, family and children’s services providers across the state. Through this consultation we have developed a clear series of steps that the government must take to ensure genuine and long-lasting reform of the sector working to keep children, young people and families safe.
Significant government and community investment is being made into supporting children and families, yet the focus remains on crisis care, not on supporting families with evidence-informed interventions at the first sign of concern.
Only 17 per cent of this government investment is set aside for early intervention. Early intervention and prevention services offer critical support to children and families experiencing vulnerability. They have the expertise and knowledge to positively change the trajectory of those they work with but require adequate investment to reach the demand in community.
Fams looks forward to working effectively with government, service providers and families to create these changes with one outcome in mind: improving the lives of the thousands of vulnerable children who deserve better.