The Queensland Child Protection Commission of Inquiry found that over the last 10 years the number of reports to Child Safety has tripled. Approximately 80% of these reports did not actually require a statutory child protection response and many of these families would have likely benefited from support services.

The Inquiry recommended the implementation of a community based intake model as one way of reducing the high volume of matters referred to Child Safety, and a way of providing support to families earlier. These services, called Family and Child Connect, provide an effective pathway for families to access appropriate support services to help them get back on track, before their problems escalate.

This short video uses animation to provide an introduction to Family and Child Connect. This video was produced by the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services.

This video was updated in December 2017.

Transcript

In 2013, the Queensland Child Protection Commission of Inquiry found that over the previous 10 years the number of reports to Child Safety had tripled. Approximately 80% of these reports did not require a statutory child protection response and many of these families would have likely benefited from access to family support services.

The Inquiry also found that many families found it difficult to access family support services as a result of unclear pathways into services, and because there were not enough family support services to meet demand.

The Inquiry recommended the implementation of a community based intake model as one of the ways of reducing the high volume of matters referred to Child Safety, and a way of providing support to families earlier. These services, called Family and Child Connect, now provide an effective pathway for families to access appropriate support services to help them get back on track, before their problems escalate.

Twenty Family and Child Connect services have been rolled out across Queensland. The key functions of Family and Child Connect are to:
• Support a Local Level Alliance of government and non-government services
to manage service system capacity and identify and respond to gaps in services within the community.
• Provide information, advice and referral to support services.
This means that families, community members and professionals can contact the service for information and advice or assistance with connecting families to support services.
• Provide active engagement, needs identification and referral to support services for families with multiple and complex needs.

Family and Child Connect can engage with referred families to identify their needs and connect the families with the right services, including Intensive Family Support services and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Family Wellbeing services.

A child in need of protection is defined as a child who has suffered, is suffering, or is at unacceptable risk of suffering significant harm, and does not have a parent able and willing to protect them from the harm.

The criteria for referral to a Family and Child Connect service are:
1. The referred family has a child unborn to 18 years of age,
2. The child is not currently in need of protection,
3. Without support the child, young person and family are at risk of entering or re-entering the statutory child protection system,
4. The family has multiple and complex needs,
5. The family would benefit from access to intensive and specialist support services.

Anyone, including parents, a child or young person, can contact the service for information, advice and assistance with accessing support services or accessing information and resources to provide to families that need support.

Professionals from particular prescribed entities can refer a family without their consent to enable support to be offered to the family. This is to ensure that families receive the right services before problems escalate to prevent the child from becoming a child in need of protection.

Family and Child Connect services are supported by strengthened Intensive Family Support services, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Family Wellbeing service workers and family violence prevention and other support services in order to build the capacity of the community to respond to families in need of support.

A Principal Child Protection Practitioner, employed by Child Safety, is based in each Family and Child Connect service to assist with identifying and reporting those concerns that may require intervention by Child Safety. This role also provides support in these matters to Intensive Family Support services and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Family Wellbeing services.

A specialist domestic and family violence worker is also based in each Family and Child Connect service to ensure effective responses to domestic and family violence.

Family and Child Connect is open all year round, excluding public holidays.
Contact with a Family and Child Connect service can be made in person, by email, by telephone, through the 13FAMILY or 13 32 64 number, or by completing the online referral form. The referral form can be accessed from the Family and Child Connect website

To increase accessibility for families, including working parents, telephones will be staffed from 8.30am to 5.30pm on normal business days. Outside these hours, each Family and Child Connect is able to receive recorded voice messages, for response the next working day.

The Family and Child Connect will meet the needs of the community by providing flexible appointment times for families who cannot be contacted or access the service during normal business hours.

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