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Differences between Family Connect and Support and Family Referral Service

Family Connect and Support (FCS) is built on key features and strengths of the Family Referral Service (FRS) model. The new and improved service has been redesigned based on data from the Stronger Communities Investment Unit - Insights Report, evidence review and extensive sector consultation and input.

Key Differences

  • What’s new

    Better support for families

    We’ve introduced new service features to help families maintain safe home environments for their children. These include:

    • Family Group Conferencing – encourages families to make the most of their informal supports and resources and increase family empowerment.
    • Increased focus on outreach into universal settings such as schools, child care centres and hospitals. This will support referral pathways and decrease barriers to service access.
    • Increased focus on innovation and flexible service delivery to respond to large scale disasters and emergencies and to reach isolated families.

    New program features for referrers and service provider to be aware of:

    We’ve introduced a raft of program-wide features that apply consistency across the state and streamline the access to services for families. These include:

    • A new Common Assessment Framework, universal referral forms, universal case plans and practice tools will be co-designed with FCS providers to increase consistency across the FCS program.
    • A new, easy to use FCS website will allow for quick and simple referrals to any FCS provider in NSW.
    • FCS service delivery and outcomes based reporting are now aligned to the domains of the Human Services Outcomes Framework (Safety, Economic, Empowerment, Social and Community, Education and Skills, Home and Health). This will ensure the FCS model is having a positive impact of the lives of vulnerable families.
    • FCS services will be delivered under a Human Service Agreement.
    • The FCS funding and resource allocation model, service targets, compliance and accountability measures have all been updated to reflect current demographics and community need.
  • What we’ve enhanced

    Where service features were working well in FRS, we’ve looked at how these can be improved in FCS:

    • Active holding has an increased focus in the FCS model and used to keep families engaged and connected when there are service gaps or blockages. Active holding can include providing practical support, home visits and active follow up with outbound referral agencies.
    • Referrals for families assessed at ROSH (less than 10 days) can be made by DCJ to the FCS across all DCJ districts in NSW. The FCS service model introduces a 30% limit on inbound referrals received from DCJ to ensure service delivery remains focused on the prevention and early intervention.
    • Service timeframe has been extended to 16 weeks to ensure family needs are met.
    • Family strengths and needs are holistically assessed in the FCS model to inform case planning and coordination.
    • Cross agency and sector governance group including representation from key sector stakeholders, meet regularly to discuss issues that impact of the wellbeing of vulnerable children, young people and families and identify key strategic issues that would be benefit from a multi-agency response.
    • Community of practice and local leadership groups made up of FCS representatives, meet regularly to support operational aspects and promotes good practice.

    Enhanced program features for referrers and service provider to be aware of:

    • Cross agency and sector governance group including representation from key sector stakeholders, meet regularly to discuss issues that impact of the wellbeing of vulnerable children, young people and families and identify key strategic issues that would be benefit from a multi-agency response.
    • Community of practice and local leadership groups made up of FCS representatives, meet regularly to support operational aspects and promotes good practice.
  • Family Referral Service features we’ve kept in Family Connect and Support

    Evidence and consultations have told us the following FRS features are effective in helping families and so we have kept them as part of the FCS:

    • Family strengths and needs are assessed to inform service response.
    • Information and advice is provided to help navigate the service system.
    • Families are connected to services through warm referrals that link them with appropriate support services in their local area.
    • Referrals are followed up to ensure they are appropriate and sustainable.
    • Timely and comprehensive feedback is provided to referrers about the outcome of their referral to the program.
    • Brokerage funds are used flexibly to address immediate family needs.
    • Assertive outreach methods including home visiting and cold calling to reach isolated families.
    • A voluntary program delivered state-wide to any family in NSW experiencing vulnerability.
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Last updated: 18 Nov 2020