Questions and Answers (Q&As)

Responses to a range of Questions and Answers are provided here. Please email TEIReform@facs.nsw.gov.au to pose further questions not answered here.

Targeted Earlier Intervention Program Reform directions – local and client centred

The way we commission services will change gradually, with the timing of the change determined by local collaborative planning processes with services.

The change will be driven by the needs of clients. This gradual change will be informed by the targeted earlier intervention (TEI) outcomes framework, and will involve a transition to evidence-informed practice over time, whilst also supporting innovation.

This will ensure greater equity and transparency in the way TEI services are commissioned.

Districts will work with services locally to design, plan and transition to the new TEI system. The local collaborative planning process is designed to transition services to the new system. There may be instances, where for some services, negotiated transition is unsuccessful. On these occasions, local tendering of funding may arise, and Districts will adopt various tendering models to suit local conditions.

FACS will develop a TEI outcomes framework. This framework, over time, will help to inform how we move towards outcome based contracting.

FACS will apply a mix of outcome-based and output-based contracting with longer contract duration, and a flexible performance framework that accommodates a more holistic set of performance criteria relevant to service streams. Peak agencies have previously undertaken some work in measuring outcomes.

Yes. One of the aims of the TEI reform is to focus decision-making on the design and delivery of local services within the broad reform directions framework.

An evidence-informed support plan will be developed and ideally this will be designed with service providers, clients and may be informed by current pilots and co-design processes.

Districts will undertake planning with services to suit local conditions and needs. District planning will be guided by clear parameters of the new program structure, the TEI outcomes framework, district budgets, and local data.

The consultation process told us that, while TEI reform could be effective at a local level, central leadership will be important to driving a common agenda and achieving reform outcomes. A range of formal governance arrangements will be developed, which will include a central governance group as well as local governance groups for better system integration.

Over time, common processes, structures and system enablers will be developed across all agencies working with children, young people and families. Tools such as standard assessment frameworks, referral pathways, data collection and infrastructure will be considered.

Service systems will be enhanced to streamline reporting and information-gathering and information-sharing. Practitioner capacity will be built through training, professional development and support.

The TEI will continue to focus on the important role of community strengthening activities to provide a continuum of services for communities, children young people and families.

In the short to medium-term we will deliver the commissioning of services within current District TEI budgets so that Districts can better target services to client needs. In the long term we will develop more extensive resource allocation methods.

New approaches are needed to improve access, to and awareness of, services for priority ‘at risk’ groups, including Aboriginal children, young people and families.

Aboriginal communities are best placed to understand their own needs and shape their own futures in collaboration with government and other services. Districts will be required to ensure Aboriginal people are adequately represented and empowered in the design, delivery and evaluation of services.

An Aboriginal Services Strategy is being developed and will be embedded into each element of the reform process to ensure each element delivers improved outcomes for Aboriginal children, young people, families and communities, and ensure growth in the capacity of Aboriginal organisations.

On 7 July 2016, the FACS Secretary announced changes to the management of FACS Districts and state-wide services that will take place over the next year.

Existing district boundaries will remain but will be grouped together from later this year. TEI planning and design will be undertaken at the local level, including ensuring that current district boundaries and the needs of people within those boundaries are recognised.

1. Funding

Answer: No. Targeted earlier intervention program funding of approximately $131 million will not be reduced as a result of the reform process.

Answer: We are not deciding future funding distribution until the shape of reform is determined and Districts have undertaken local consultation and planning. The first stage in the Targeted Earlier Intervention Program Reform is to work with stakeholders to examine strengths and potential areas for improvement in the current system.

2. Model

Answer: Yes, community development is an important element in breaking the cycles of disadvantage. One of the aims of the reform is to ensure community programs can better support the most disadvantaged families and communities.

Answer: The Targeted Earlier Intervention Program Reform is revisiting programs and funding parameters within the present context to design a contemporary service system that reflects current demographics and evidence. There is much good work in the sector but our efforts can be better coordinated, more consistent and directed to those most in need. Through consultation we have been seeking information about what is working and what we could do more of, in addition to what we could be doing better.

Answer: Service providers have been encouraged to provide feedback through the consultation process about what they would like to see in a more flexible and less standardised approach should look like in a contemporary service system.

Answer: SThe new TEI program structure is divided into two service streams:

  • Wellbeing and Safety of Children, Young People and Families
  • Community Strengthening.

Clients within these streams will have access to five flexible service options based on their vulnerability.  The continuum of community or client vulnerabilities is split into three tiers to allow flexible service options to match protective factors and vulnerability levels. For more information on the new TEI program, please refer to the TEI Program Structure Fact Sheet or TEI Program Guidelines.

Answer: The Wellbeing and Safety of Children, Young People and Families stream has two flexible service options designed for individual children, young people and their families.  This stream acknowledges that vulnerabilities are not static and aims to provide services for individuals and families for those that may not have an obvious vulnerability but are potentially vulnerable, to those who have a number of known vulnerabilities causing the client to be experiencing crisis. Vulnerabilities include intergenerational disadvantage or unemployment or chronic health, families experiencing domestic violence, financial stress, housing instability, food security issues, mental health or emotional functioning issues, substance or alcohol abuse or family involvement with the child protection system.

Answer: No. The target group for the TEI program is vulnerable children, young people, families and their communities in NSW.  Within this broad target group, the TEI program has identified three state-wide priority groups:

  • children aged 0-3
  • young parents
  • Aboriginal children, young people and their families.

These priority groups are not mutually exclusive. Districts, through their local planning, will also have identified other local priority groups.

Answer: One of the key reform directions of the TEI reform is to target resources to those with the greatest needs. This will involve re-alignment of service delivery and investment within districts to better address priorities and needs identified through TEI local planning. This re-alignment of service delivery and investment will occur only with districts and not across districts.

3. Reform

Answer: The aim of the reform is to provide a better service system, based on local feedback combined with evidence about what works from around the world. We have no predetermined ideas about the number and size of services needed.

Answer: Ultimately, it is disadvantaged children, young people, families, and their communities who will be affected by the reform. They will have better, more flexible services that will help them before they reach crisis point. Service providers funded under FACS’ targeted earlier intervention programs will be impacted, whether through participation in the planning and design stage, a reorientation of current services or a redesign of the local service system.

Answer: The overall reform timeframe will depend on district planning; transition and implementation approaches that may be undertaken; and transition readiness. A broad timeline includes:

Initial consultation Consolidation and feedback Policy directions and service design Service system design planning in districts Transition planning and implementation
August – December 2015 November 2015 – March 2016 March – September 2016 October 2016 – June 2017 commences July 2017

Answer: The scope of what is being considered as part of the reform process will depend on feedback throughout the consultation process. Service providers are encouraged to raise these types of issues and make suggestions about a preferred approach.

Answer: One of the aims of reform stated in the Sector Consultation paper is the creation of a service system continuum grounded in evidence-based best practice and focused on client needs. We expect to have a broad range of service offerings available within a redesigned TEI system. However the services available within each community will depend on local need.

Answer: Programs considered under the current Targeted Earlier Intervention program include:

  • Child, Youth and Family Support
  • Community Builders
  • Families NSW
  • Aboriginal Child Youth and Family Strategy
  • Getting It Together
  • Triple P, an activity provided via a number of programs, was also considered.

Answer: The ‘What you told us’ report will help to inform the policy directions taken. Existing data as well as research on effective evidence-based practice, analysis of evaluation reports and reviews of service systems in other local and international jurisdictions, will also be used to inform the directions.

Answer: As part of the reform reporting will be streamlined, we will be exploring new systems for collecting and analysing data and will provide training in these systems.

Answer: Any decisions made around resourcing models will take into consideration reporting requirements.

Answer: FACS is committed to becoming a commissioning organisation to ensure it better delivers positive outcomes for vulnerable families, young people, children and their communities.  FACS has taken a commissioning approach to the TEI program reform, with collaborative local planning with service providers a key feature. The TEI planning process has commenced in all districts, with all TEI service providers invited to participate. The local planning process will require service provider’s to actively participate in meetings, such as planning workshops and design sessions, with FACS districts. The aim of local planning is to assess community needs and identify local priorities, agree on outcomes for clients, and design responses and services.

Following the service system re-design phase of local planning, FACS districts will finalise their district transition plan. This district plan will then inform negotiations with service providers to develop individual transition plans. Depending on the outcome of local planning, transition plans may require service providers to change where services are delivered, to whom they are delivering services, or to the types of services they are delivering.

Answer: All TEI service providers have been funded for a three year funding from 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2020. This three years funding arrangement provides funding certainty for service providers and ensures ongoing service delivery for clients, whilst allowing time for completion of the TEI reform planning phase and implementation of the locally developed service model.
A condition of the three year funding arrangements is that service providers continue to participate in the TEI commissioning, planning and transition processes.

Answer: Yes. A new TEI program data collection and online portal is under development. This will replace existing FACS TEI program data collections and platforms. The new data collection infrastructure is expected to support the TEI program using cloud-based technology with functions of client management, performance data, population indicators, and user-friendly client surveys. It is anticipated that the new TEI data collection system will be ready for launch by 1 July 2018.
However, from 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2018 service providers will continue to collect data and report through their current existing programs.

Answer: The New TEI program will commence 1 July 2018. All TEI service providers will be expected to move across onto a TEI Program Level Agreement from this date.

4. Consultation

Answer: Yes. Twelve consultation sessions have been held specifically with Aboriginal stakeholders across the state and Aboriginal client feedback has been a priority focus in client surveys and consultation sessions.

Answer: The Minister will consider and approve the summary paper based on the feedback from the consultation process. This paper will include key issues and suggestions for improvement. FACS provides regular updates to the Minister on the reform, reports and feedback.

Answer: Yes. There is regular communication between peak bodies and FACS, including:

  • The Aboriginal Child, Family and Community Care State Secretariat (AbSec)
  • Association of Children’s Welfare Agencies (ACWA)
  • NSW Family Services (FamS)
  • Local Community Services Association (LCSA)
  • NSW Council of Social Service (NCOSS)
  • Youth Action

Answer: Consultation with the Commonwealth is occurring at both the central office and local levels. Our commonwealth colleagues will be key partners in the local planning processes.

Answer: We consulted extensively with key stakeholders - service providers, clients, Aboriginal stakeholders, FACS staff, state and local government and other related organisations.

We received:

  • 508 written submissions
  • Feedback from over 1800 clients

We ran 37 focus groups attended by over 1,200 participants, including 11 focus groups with Aboriginal stakeholders.

Answer: All feedback was taken into consideration. Common themes were taken into account and consolidated into the final report.

5. Planning

Answer: Each district will make decisions about local planning processes based on a state wide framework. This framework cannot be finalised until the scope and direction of the reforms have been determined.

Answer: TEI reform will centre around local decision making. Local planning will be done in partnership with local stakeholders to build on local assets and strengths, and avoid duplication.

Answer: No. FACS districts will be required to have their district plan endorsed by FACS Central Office before they negotiate individual service provider transition plans, where required. Individual service provider transition plans will need to be finalised by 30 June 2018.

Answer: Service providers will have eighteen months, from 1 July 2018 to 30 December 2019 to implement their transition plans, where required.

Answer: The TEI Sector Assistance Strategy will soon be available to support service providers in transitioning through the reform, including engagement with the TEI commissioning process, involving activities like local planning, contracting, and transition planning and implementation under TEI. The Strategy is currently being finalised. FACS district staff will also be available to support service providers.

6. Communication

Answer: All key stakeholders were invited to respond to the online survey. The FACS website will be updated with information throughout the reform process. FACS district staff will continue to play an important role in keeping local stakeholders informed.

7. Definition

Answer: FACS’ vision for localisation includes:

  • a client-centred approach
  • empowered local staff to deliver the best outcomes for clients
  • local leadership with a strong connection to the front line
  • working more effectively with local partners and the community to provide flexible and responsive services.

Answer: The review of the research and practice for prevention and early intervention undertaken by ARACY defined ‘early intervention’ as activities, programs and services designed to alter behaviour or development of individuals who show signs of an identified problem, or who exhibit risk factors or vulnerabilities, by providing resources and skills necessary to combat the identified risks. ‘Prevention’ refers to activities, programs and services designed to prevent those identified risks emerging in the first place.

Answer: Targeted approaches cater for individuals or families experiencing or at significantly heightened risk of specific issues (in contrast to universal or primary approaches offered to all individuals and families that are general preventative in nature).

8. Sector Capacity Building

Answer: We will consider the need for training and professional development once the scope of reform has been determined and may vary according to the design of each local system. This is part of the implementation stage of the reform process.