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Missed the live webinar? A captioned recording is available to view now


A meaningful connection to family and kin helps children in out-of-home care develop a sense of belonging and hope. Family time is an important way of fostering long-lasting connections by helping children manage the pain of separation from their birth families. It helps them know who they are and feel that they are valued. This webinar focused on how to best support positive and lasting connections for children in care by providing key research insights and by exploring practice approaches that support meaningful family time.

The session was chaired by Dr Jessica Stewart (Executive Director, FACSIAR). Research and practice resources were presented from the Pathways of Care Longitudinal Study (POCLS) and the Fostering Lifelong Connections Study. Representatives from the Office of the Senior Practitioner and Child and Family areas within the Department of Communities and Justice shared their experience and provided policy and practice advice on how to best support family time.


Children’s relationships in out-of-home care (Pathways of Care Longitudinal Study)

Professor Judith Cashmore - Professor of Socio-Legal Research and Policy, Sydney Law School, Professorial Research Fellow, School of Education and Social Work

Download slide pack PDF, 1788.39 KB

Fostering Lifelong Connections: Practice resources for positive relationships between children’s families

Dr Susan Collings - Senior Research Fellow, Research Centre for Children and Families, University of Sydney

Dr Sarah Ciftci - Research Associate, Project Coordinator - Fostering Lifelong Connections, Research Centre for Children and Families, University of Sydney

Download slide pack PDF, 1590.06 KB

Panel members:

  • Rebecca Hinchey – Manager, OOHC Policy and Programs, Child and Family, Strategy, Policy and Commissioning, DCJ
  • Madeline Gill – Senior Project Officer, Practice Strategy and Design, Practice Quality, Office of the Senior Practitioner, DCJ
  • Joel Frost - Casework Specialist, Bateman's Bay & Bega CSC, Office of the Senior Practitioner, DCJ

Additional Resources

Pathways of Care Longitudinal Study (POCLS), Department of Communities and Justice

Research Centre for Children and Families, University of Sydney

Billy Black and Bobby Hendry are engaged as co-researchers by the Research Centre for Children and Families as ‘Experts-by-Experience’.  Billy and Bobby have lived experience in out-of-home care and have authored storybooks to help ease the trauma for children currently in care. Billy Black wrote and illustrated Roar, and Bobby Hendry developed a guide, My Family Time is mine.

  • Hear Billy Black discuss Roar here
  • Hear Billy Black read Roar here
  • Hear Bobby discuss My Family Time is Mine here

Previous FACSIAR Lunch and Learn Webinars with Fostering Lifelong connections study

Office of the Senior Practitioner

Key resources for planning and facilitating family time

  • Use the Child Centred Contact Planning Practice Tool to support your reflections and decision-making about how siblings and carers participate in family time. (DCJ staff only)
  • Caring for Children Guide, Contact with family and kin
  • When talking with a child, choose a setting they are comfortable with, take your time and consider using a conversational tool such as the safety centered practice tools to guide your conversation. Be clear about what family time needs to look like for everyone to be safe, and then give the child options. (DCJ staff only)

Structuring safe and positive family time

When you are working with a family to decide how to structure and plan family time, it is important to think about how this time can nurture the relationships within the family. Consider the child’s developmental and emotional needs, and be prepared to provide coaching and support to parents and other adult family/kin to make the most of their time with the child.

What does ‘coaching’ look like in family time?

  • Modelling playing a game together – encouraging children to take turns and share
  • setting time limits on activities then asking parents/family members to set the time limit on the next activity
  • modelling appropriate boundary setting
  • offering praise
  • highlighting children’s skills, interests and potential
  • asking children about school, friends, hobbies, explaining to parent/s why you are doing this and how the child reacts. Encourage the parent to do this themselves and notice when they do.
  • inviting children to talk about something that went well or made them laugh that week and something they learned.
  • Reflecting with parents/family afterwards about what questions and activities they would like to lead next time.

Partnering for Safety - A strengths-based, solution-focused, family-centred and ​safety-centred approach to child protection practice

Create Foundation - the national consumer body representing the voices of children and young people with an out-of-home care experience

Culturally Appropriate Family Time activities

Any cultural activities should be led by the family. What is culturally appropriate for one family may not be appropriate for another. Talk to the family in advance about what activities they may like to share and enjoy during family time then offer practical support. The child will learn their place as an Aboriginal child within that family through the activities the family choose.

NSW Aboriginal Case Management Policy (ACMP)

NSW Aboriginal Case Management Policy (ACMP)

For more information about the FACSIAR Lunch and Learn webinars please contact:

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Last updated: 30 Jan 2024