Family preservation recommissioning
Creating a new single program structure will help us provide services to families in need to make the biggest difference.
Family preservation recommissioning
A new approach for family preservation
The new family preservation program will help increase the safety and well-being of children by providing evidence-based treatment to address trauma, and intensive family support to promote parenting skills and child development.
By integrating current family preservation programs into a single continuum of care, our hope is that vulnerable families can access the right supports at the right time, and the system can respond to the range of needs across all areas of safety and wellbeing.
A new program structure
We will bring existing programs together into a single program structure. The new system will have three program streams:
- Family preservation
- Intensive family preservation
- Aboriginal family preservation
This integrated system will better meet the needs of vulnerable families who need different timing, intensity and frequency of services as their circumstances change. There will be less restrictive program eligibility with all programs delivering services to children and young people 0-17 years.
It will also mean simpler contracts for providers that offer multiple programs.
Changes will be phased in over time
Recommissioning will occur in stages.
The first stage will be completed by 30 June 2021. It will re-contract and bring together the current suite of programs into a single system – establishing a foundation for further change.
The second stage will be completed by 30 June 2024 to fully implement the system vision.
Possible longer-term changes include:
- an outcomes-based program logic
- integrated data collection and reporting systems
- consistent referral mechanisms
- greater flexibility of supports for families.
We are committed to a streamlined process to minimise disruption to providers and families. System changes will be phased in incrementally via partnership with the sector. We will be talking with providers throughout the change process.
We will recommission all existing programs
Current services to be recommissioned include those delivered under the following programs:
- Brighter Futures (including SafeCare and Voices and Choices trial sites)
- Youth Hope
- Intensive Family Preservation
- Intensive Family Based Services
- Non-placement Services
- Nabu (Aboriginal Early Intervention)
- Resilient Families.
Permanency Support Program Family Preservation Packages will not be recommissioned through this process. Licensed and/or trial programs (MST-CAN®, FFT-CW®, Resilient Families and Nabu) will retain their current names and licensing/fidelity requirements.
The new program will be comprehensive
Over time, the family preservation program will deliver tiered levels of intensive supports that can be selected and staged to meet the changing needs of families.
It will offer standard core program components so that families who need these interventions can access them no matter where they live in NSW. These core components are:
- case management
- parent and family support
- therapeutic support
- child-focused support.
A variety of program activities can be delivered under each core program component, and can be tailored to the assessed needs of families.
The benefits to families include greater access to case management and the kinds of supports known to reduce the risks of abuse and neglect.
Core program components may be delivered through multiple providers or a single provider. Opportunities for licenced programs to offer core program components will also be explored.
We will focus on outcomes
Over time, the new family preservation program will focus on delivering clear wellbeing and permanency outcomes. This will help us better respond to shifting local client and community needs. As the evidence base grows, we will adapt service delivery to reflect what we know works.
We will develop a program logic and a minimum data set that tracks how core program components contribute to achieving client outcomes.
Providers will collect consistent data to ensure services are operating effectively. We will help providers to move away from cumbersome manualised processes towards a simpler way of collecting and reporting on outcomes data once these new systems are developed.
We will build better evidence
Improving the way we collect data and measure outcomes will help us produce more and better evidence of the right, cost-effective interventions that actually work for vulnerable children and families.
We will focus on developing evidence about the specific components and activities that work best for different families and different needs. As the evidence base grows, we will adapt service delivery to reflect what we know works for families.
We will focus on culturally-safe services
The new family preservation program will prioritise meeting the needs of Aboriginal families.
Over time, we will increase Aboriginal service delivery and opportunities to shift funding to the Aboriginal family preservation stream.
We will begin targeted consultation with Aboriginal providers and stakeholders to see what opportunities there are to expand the market for culturally-safe services.
We will resource services equitably
From 1 July 2024, resources will be allocated according to local need. Local planning will help us identify where and who we need to focus on in each community. We will look at:
- local priority groups – who needs the services?
- location – where are the services needed?
- service type – what services are needed?
Discussions will begin on resourcing changes. Any possible initial changes that can be implemented earlier than 2024 will be determined in partnership with providers and DCJ.
Service delivery for some funded service providers will remain the same and some may change. We will support service providers who are asked to consider making changes.
What you need to know about the new contracts
Following the last State budget, the overall family preservation budget has been stabilised, and recommissioning will occur within this budget.
Contract end dates are now the same across all family preservation services.
Family preservation funded services will be recommissioned under the NSW Government Human Services Agreement (HSA) from 1 July 2021.
Commissioning will be via direct negotiation with existing providers. There will not be an open market re-tender for the contract from 1 July 2021.
New contracts will reflect changes to service specifications to create the single system structure. Milestones will be included in new contracts. Providers will agree to the broad vision for change and longer-term improvements.
The contract terms will be three years. Providers might be offered shorter initial contracts (one year contact, followed by a two year contract) to give enough time to make changes.
Following contracting, providers will work in partnership with DCJ to develop Service Change Plans for implementing these changes over time.
18 March 2021
Information sessions for family preservation providers about recommissioning
March – April 2021
Key recommissioning information available to family preservation service providers, including:
- draft family preservation program specifications (for consultation)
- outline of proposed vision for change and longer-term improvements.
April – May 2021
Direct negotiations with service providers for three year contracts and milestone agreements.
Providers agree to broad vision for change.
Finalisation of contract negotiations.
New contracts commence 1 July 2021 and first quarterly payment released.
Consultation begins between Districts and service providers on developing Service Change Plans.
How we will support you
DCJ district staff will start contract negotiations with all existing family preservation service providers from April 2021.
All the information you will need to prepare for the new contracts on 1 July 2021, will be provided to you.
We understand negotiations are a process and may require multiple conversations before landing on an agreed position. We will offer support to service providers to transition to changed service delivery, if required
We will continue to provide updates on the DCJ website and make key documents available to the sector.
We will also keep you informed through regular email updates.
Please contact your local DCJ contract manager if you have any questions.
You can raise any issues and sign up for updates by emailing email@example.com.