Types of Families and Children Programs & Services

The Families and Children (FaC) Activity is delivered under the Department of Social Services’ and Attorney-General’s Department’s Families and Communities Program and provides support to families to improve the wellbeing of children and young people to enhance family and community functioning, as well as increasing the participation of vulnerable people in community life. The FRSA network offers services in the following five sub-activities. Click on the service name to find out more.

Acknowledging the tremendous impact COVID-19 will have on children, families and communities in Australia, members of FRSA have moved swiftly to ensure that they continue to provide the range of services outlined below.  Services have been adapted to meet social distancing and safety requirements, with a large majority of client contact moving to on-line/telephone options rather than face to face.  Importantly, we are still here for you.

Family Law Services

Family Law Services aim to provide alternatives to formal legal processes for families who are separated, separating or in dispute, to improve their relationships and make arrangements in the best interests of their children. Family Law Services have a particular role to help families with complex needs, including those with family violence issues.

Family Law Services include:

  • Family Relationship Centres (FRC)

FRCs are a highly visible entry point or gateway to the whole family support service system. FRCs play an important role in improving family relationships by providing information, support and referral services to all families, as well as family dispute resolution and access to some legal assistance for separating or separated families.

  • Family Law Counselling

Family Law Counselling services help people with relationship difficulties better manage their personal or interpersonal issues to do with children and family during marriage, separation and divorce.

The Advice Line is a national telephone service to assist families affected by relationship or separation issues.  The Advice Line provides:

  • information about services to help maintain healthy relationships;
  • advice on family separation issues;
  • guidance on developing workable parenting arrangements after family separation;
  • advice about the impact of conflict on children;
  • telephone and online family dispute resolution for people who need assistance;
  • information about the family law system;
  • simple legal advice and information for separating families with children, and
  • referral to a range of other services to help with family relationship and separation issues.
  • Children’s Contact Services

Children’s Contact Services enable children of separated parents to have safe contact with the parent who they do not live with in circumstances where parents are unable to manage their own contact arrangements.

Children’s Contact Services provide a safe, neutral venue for the transfer of children between separated parents. Where there is a perceived or actual risk to the child, they provide supervised contact between a child and their parent or other family member. Parents may be ordered by a court to attend Children’s Contact Services to facilitate changeover or have supervised visits with their children.

  • Family Dispute Resolution (FDR)

FDR services assist families to reach agreement and to resolve their disputes related to family law issues about child and property related matters, outside of the court system.

  • Regional Family Dispute Resolution

Regional Family Dispute Resolution services assist families to reach agreement and to resolve their disputes related to family law issues, in particular child and property related matters, outside of the court system. Regional Family Dispute Resolution services may also include the provision of counselling and group work as part of meeting the needs of separated families in their community.

  • Supporting Children after Separation Program

This program aims to support the wellbeing of children under the age of 18 from separated or separating families who are experiencing issues with difficult family relationships.

The services help children and young people deal with issues arising from the breakdown of their parents’ relationship and the circumstances in which they find themselves and provide opportunities for them to participate in decisions that impact on them.

  • Parenting Orders Program – Post Separation Co-operative Parenting Services

This service help separated or divorced families who are in high conflict to work out parenting arrangements in a way that encourages consideration of what is in a child’s best interests in establishing or maintaining relationships, while at the same time ensuring the safety of all parties. It helps parents manage their conflict, understand the effect their conflict is having on their children and to develop strategies to deal more constructively with each other and develop and manage parenting arrangements.

Family and Relationship Services (FaRS)

Family and Relationship Services aim to strengthen family relationships, prevent breakdown and ensure the wellbeing and safety of children through broad-based counselling and education. These early intervention and prevention services aim to support families when going through critical family transition points including formation, extension, and separation.

Services include information and referral, support, education and skills training, counselling, dispute resolution, outreach, community capacity building and development.

Specialised Family Violence Services (SFVS)

SFVS deliver specialised services that support individuals, couples, children and families who are experiencing or at risk of family or domestic violence.

Services might include, individual or couple counselling and dispute resolution services; education for people with violent or abusive behaviour; support for people affected by family violence; and support for children who experience or witness family violence.

Communities for Children Facilitating Partner

Communities for Children Facilitating Partners (CfC FPs) supports children and families in disadvantaged communities across Australia. CfC FPs take an early intervention approach that supports families to improve the way they relate to each other; improve parenting skills; and to ensure the health and wellbeing of children.

CfC FPs build on local strengths to meet the needs of individual communities, and to create capability within local service systems, using strong evidence of what works in early intervention and prevention. They collaborate with other organisations to provide a holistic service system for children and families.

Children and Parenting

Children and Parenting funds early intervention and prevention services and resources to improve children’s development and wellbeing, and support parents and carers in raising children. Services focus on children aged 0–12 years, but may include children up to 18 years.

Services aim to be accessible to everyone through strategies such as cultural awareness and diversity, and flexible opening hours and service locations. They work closely with clients to find solutions that suit their individual needs.

Children and Parenting comprises of:

  • Intensive Family Support Services (IFSS)

IFSS are evidence-informed and outcomes-based and focus on reducing child neglect and increasing the capacity of families to support their children to be safe, nurtured and thriving.

These services provide the most vulnerable families in identified communities in the Northern Territory and South Australia with practical parenting education and support for up to 12 months, to help them improve the health, safety and wellbeing of their children.

  • Children and Parenting Support

Children and Parenting Support services provide early intervention and prevention support to children and their families. Services seek to identify issues such as risk of neglect or abuse, within families, and provide interventions or appropriate referral(s) before these issues escalate.

Early intervention and prevention strategies aim to influence children’s and families’ behaviours to reduce the risks of an emerging issue. A key component of early intervention and prevention is to increase protective factors to enable children and families to be resilient when issues arise.

  • Home Interaction Program for Parents and Youngsters (HIPPY)

HIPPY is a two-year home-based parenting and early childhood program, targeted to families with 4 to 5 year old children, that helps parents and carers to be their child’s first teacher and give them a better start at school.

HIPPY builds the skills of parents and carers to help prepare their child for school. The program also offers some parents and carers a path to work and local community leadership.

  • Child Support Advocacy

Child Support Advocacy funding is provided to community organisations that regularly assist separated or separating parents with support and information regarding their interaction with the Child Support Scheme.

Adult Specialist Support

Provides specialist services and support to improve outcomes and enhance wellbeing for people adversely affected by past institutional and child-welfare practices and policies.

Below are services that fall under Adult Specialist Support:

  • Find and Connect Support Services

The Find and Connect Support Services provide specialist trauma informed counselling; referral services; peer, education and social support programs; assistance to locate and access records and reconnect with family members (where possible) for Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants.

  • Royal Commission Community-Based Support Services

The Royal Commission Community-Based Support Services delivers services such as counselling, support and case management to individuals and their family members people before, during and after their interaction with the Royal Commission.