3K Relationship breakdown and re-partnering


Norma Williams,
Logan FRC, UnitingCare

Sue Alexander,
Logan FRC, UnitingCare

Thursday November 22 2018

Time: 11:25am – 11:55am

Room: Mossman Ballroom

3K Relationship breakdown and re-partnering

Strengthening prevention and early intervention service provision in the context of a Family Relationship Centre



When parent resilience is depleted through trauma and on-going high conflict and daily life is consumed by juggling the survival needs of the separated family; when complex needs require multiple interventions and support arising from one point of an intervention such as family dispute resolution (FDR), the likelihood of the most vulnerable clients making their own connections with referral contacts has shown to be low. Many people accessing family relationship and family law services are already marginalised and disadvantaged or at high risk of becoming so.

In recognition of this, at Family Relationship Centre Logan (FRCL), through the professional development of a Family Advisor/Counsel (FAC) role and integrated case management activity at the post-intake, assessment and family dispute resolution phases, internal and internal referral action provides hands-on connection and support for clients.

The 30 minute presentation will demonstrate how FRCL has responded to this predicament as a service intervention and taken a strength-based approach to improve outcomes for clients. Keeping ahead and not leaving anyone behind.

A systems approach to intervention and prevention from a public health perspective and person-centred family relationship interventions begin at first point of client contact and continues throughout every phase of their engagement with the service. This collective impact is designed to inform and support client and professional collaborations and action planning through intake, assessment and referral processes. Ensuring the particular circumstances of each individual and their family and relationship support needs are taken into account for a sustainable parenting plan.

Having identified and acknowledged that attention to the practical needs of parents in distress is as important as attention to their emotional, psychological and conflict resolution needs and likely to increase the workability and sustainability of a parenting plan, service delivery becomes concerned with the quality of the client and professional relationship towards self-agency. Taking this approach aims to give people the personal support they need right now in getting to the right place in themselves, by harnessing their own strength and knowledge and uncovering or regaining their parental capacity for care and protection of their children and confident decision making.
How we get vulnerable and fatigued clients on-board ?

On receiving an internal referral from the Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner (FDRP) the FAC contacts the client for follow up and to discuss their role and how this can actively assist. In subsequent 1-1 follow up conversations the FAC discusses with the client what they see as health and wellbeing priorities and goals and options for linking to other professionals and service providers. On actioning this opportunity many people say they have never before talked about the changes they want to make for themselves and children. And in response, get practical hands-on assistance to overcome what’s getting in the way of being able to make sustainable support connections and change happen.

The intentions of the conversations with clients are to think about, explore and plan for what they see they want and need to do right now and begin to action plan for change as a catalyst for child and family wellbeing, recovery after separation and relationship breakdown; and self-determination.

Some of the practical outcomes of client engagement activity include:
– Confidence from knowing staff have an in-depth understanding of their family and individual needs when helping prepare them for accepting change and embracing connections with other external professional relationships.
– Gaining the self-confidence to go forward and make informed choices and decisions
– Knowing what internal influences of their own affect their choices and decisions
– Developing self-identity and self-agency for personal development
– A personal understanding of the long-term impact of domestic and family violence
– Practical help with getting to the resources and assistance they need in addressing health and other day to day survival issues
– An understanding of how improving their own situation brings benefit to the children, their relationships and family life after separation

Taking a public health approach through the function of the FRC and intentions of this role builds a bridge with the client. A bridge that takes them from beginning their own and family relationship repair and recovery in family dispute resolution activity, on to the next steps enabling them to begin to bring the changes they want to make and to see present in themselves and in future life. Advocating for and actively accompanying individuals in making and forming new contacts and service relationships post FDR aims to not leave clients behind in difficult and unmanageable circumstances.


Norma Williams – An experienced practitioner, educator, mentor and presenter and I have spoken at many national and international events including more recently: FRSA Conferences 2009 – 2017; Child Aware Conferences 2014 and 2017; FRSA Conferences 2009 – 2017; National Mediation Conferences. Author peer reviewed papers published in the FRSA e-Journal 2016 and 2017.

Sue Alexander – a background of over ten years in human services: family support, intervention and relationship services with a strong focus in client assessment activity and community engagement. As specialist Family Advisor & Community Engagement, FRC Logan she has assisted to bring professional development to this role during to improve referral outcomes for clients and the sustainability of Parenting Plans. This micro social-work activity is seamlessly linking people with multiple complex needs to the interventions they see they want in their everyday lives, health and for quality relationships.