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Reforming the NSW family preservation service system to improve outcomes for children, young people and families.
From now until June 2024, DCJ will work with our partners and broader stakeholders to improve how we fund and deliver family preservation services.
The NSW Government currently funds a range of family preservation services across the state. Family preservation services are one of our most important levers to reduce risk to children and keep them safe at home. Family preservation services support parents to increase safety for their children, through a combination of case management, parenting education programs, practical support, brokerage, home visiting, and therapeutic interventions.
DCJ recognises there is a need and opportunity to improve family preservation services. We will lead a collaborative recommissioning process that will listen to the voices of communities, providers, and key stakeholders. A critical part of our work will also involve drawing on evaluations and evidence that will help us to understand the needs and views of children, young people and families.
The process will also draw on broader evidence and practice learning from evaluations, research and discussions with stakeholders who are working to design, deliver or manage these services.
Importantly, throughout the recommissioning we are working closely with Aboriginal communities, Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations (ACCOs) and AbSec to ensure that Aboriginal voices are at the centre of services designed for Aboriginal families. We will work with Aboriginal communities to develop culturally safe and responsive family preservation services that support families when and where they need it.
Stay up to date with the recommissioning of family preservation services here [link to section 6 “Stay up to date”].
Current family preservation contracts commenced in June 2021, and are due to expire in June 2024. To ensure that we maintain and improve these services into the future, DCJ is undergoing a recommissioning process.
Recommissioning helps us to make decisions about how to design, fund, resource, deliver, manage and evaluate ongoing service delivery, programs and systems to achieve the best outcomes with the available resources. Recommissioning supports us to understand the needs and aspirations of our clients, communities and the service providers we work with.
Through the recommissioning process, DCJ is looking to enhance the way the current family preservation service system works. This includes:
1. how we build and use the evidence base,
2. building collaborative partnerships and practice, and
3. meeting the cultural needs of families, with a particular focus on Aboriginal and CALD families.
Recommissioning emphasises working together with clients, community, service providers, government and other service partners, from program design to delivery of services, monitoring and evaluation.
Our aim is to improve family preservation services, so they better deliver outcomes that meet the needs of children, families, and communities.
We are taking a collaborative approach to recommissioning, which involves working with current service providers and other stakeholders through each stage of the recommissioning process.
The recommissioning process will focus on commissioning for outcomes, ensuring that the design of services and programs is centered around the outcomes that make a positive difference for children, families and communities.
We have organised the recommissioning process across three streams of work:
1. Policy and Program Design: Drawing on the best available data, evidence and insights from practitioners, service providers and communities, we will consider policy and program design options for the future of family preservation services. As part of this work, we will seek to understand the needs of clients and communities, evaluate current available evidence about what is effective in family preservation, and identify opportunities to increase innovation and drive meaningful outcomes for children and families. We expect this work to continue from now until mid-2023.
2. Communications and Engagement: We recognise that having a strong approach to communications, engagement and change is a crucial part of the recommissioning. Currently there are 60 family preservation providers delivering services to up to 4,500 families across NSW. From now until mid-2024, we will engage regularly with service providers and key stakeholders, to gather contributions and support preparations for any changes ahead. This will include providing opportunities for feedback, consultation and co-design at key points in the process.
3. Market and Supply: To ensure that we are aware of the strengths and limitations of our current market, and commissioning accordingly, we will conduct market research and market sounding activities from now until mid-2023. This will include exploring opportunities to provide support to develop the market. Following this, we will move into procurement activities until mid-2024.
The following principles will guide DCJ in the recommissioning of services in partnership with our stakeholders.
• Client-centered: Taking a client-centered approach is essential to ensuring that family preservation services deliver outcomes that matter for children, young people, families and communities. We will put clients at the centre of the service design process, utilising available client data, consulting and engaging, and considering the needs of diverse families including Aboriginal and CALD families.
• Collaborative: We recognise there is significant expertise and diverse perspectives across different parts of the family preservation system. There is an opportunity to tap into this expertise to develop a shared understanding of what is needed in family preservation, so we can deliver improved outcomes for children and families. Throughout the recommissioning we will listen to the voices and knowledge of communities, providers, peak bodies and other key stakeholders.
• Outcomes-focused and evidence-based: It’s important that family preservation services are designed around meaningful outcomes, and the evidence about what works and doesn’t work to achieve these outcomes. There is an opportunity to improve how we build and use the evidence base in family preservation, increase consistency of data and streamline data collection mechanisms. This will enable us to better measure the effectiveness of family preservation services to shape program decisions now and into the future.
• Culture at the forefront: We recognise that families’ experiences of safety and wellbeing are tightly connected to culture. Family preservation services need to draw on the strengths of culture and be culturally responsive in order to best support families. This is particularly important for First Nations communities, and we will work in partnership to ensure that Aboriginal perspectives are at the centre of service design for Aboriginal families.
We are committed to ensuring that family preservation services work for Aboriginal families and communities, and are culturally safe and responsive.
DCJ and AbSec [link to https://absec.org.au], the peak organisation for Aboriginal families and children in NSW, are jointly leading work that will inform an Aboriginal Family Preservation (AFP) Framework.
The AFP Framework will be Aboriginal-led and acknowledge the essential role that family, kin, culture, and community play in supporting families to raise strong, proud Aboriginal children. In partnership with AbSec, DCJ has developed Guiding Principles that will shape the development of Aboriginal family preservation services.
An AFP Steering Committee has been established in recognition of the need to ensure the Aboriginal family preservation recommissioning process is accountable to key Aboriginal stakeholders. The Steering Committee membership comprises of Aboriginal academics, peak bodies, and sector experts and leaders. The Steering Committee provides advice and recommendations to the Family Preservation Recommissioning Board.
You can read more about the AFP Framework here [insert link to AFP Framework website page].
DCJ will continue to regularly add information to this webpage with the latest updates and opportunities to participate in the recommissioning process through planned engagement and consultation activities.
You can join our mailing list for updates on family preservation recommissioning. Click here to join our mailing list [http://eepurl.com/hsVyFH].
We are currently holding monthly sector updates with service providers via MS Teams. Email our team at email@example.com to join the next monthly update.
If you have any feedback about the recommissioning or want to get in touch with our team, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Current providers are also welcome to contact their local District contract manager with queries at any time.
15 Dec 2022
We acknowledge Aboriginal people as the First Nations Peoples of NSW and pay our respects to Elders past, present, and future.
Informed by lessons of the past, Department of Communities and Justice is improving how we work with Aboriginal people and communities. We listen and learn from the knowledge, strength and resilience of Stolen Generations Survivors, Aboriginal Elders and Aboriginal communities.
You can access our apology to the Stolen Generations.