12/01/2020 | Michelle Lensink MLC | Rachel Sanderson MP | Better Services

A new, $3 million State Government intensive family support program is showing early signs of success in keeping children safe at home with their families.

Since it was launched in August, the Safe Kids, Families Together program has engaged a total of 15 families, including 54 children who were at risk of removal by the Department for Child Protection.

Anglicare SA is delivering the program and says so far, 43 children – or 80 per cent - are currently still living safely at home in the care of their families and have not needed to be removed.

Safe Kids, Families Together delivers families intensive support from specialised support staff over a period of weeks and months.

The program is being piloted in northern Adelaide – an area of greatest need as determined by State Government funded research.

Minister for Human Services Michelle Lensink said the program is part of the government’s push to prevent child abuse and neglect, which included a focus on better supporting families in need of support.

“The early success signs of this pilot are encouraging and we’re determined to ensure families have the right support to manage complex issues, with the aim of keeping children home, if safe to do so,” said Minister Lensink.

“We know that some children are born into families with a combination of issues such as domestic and family violence, mental health issues and drug and alcohol abuse and this pilot is one of several new programs we are trialing to support families who need help.

“Getting into the family home before crisis point and helping South Australian mums and dads should help to keep family units together and we know that keeping children in a safe, family environment is the best solution.

“Ultimately, our aim with this pilot is to see more children able to live safe, happy and productive lives at home with their families.”

Minister for Child Protection Rachel Sanderson said many government departments are playing key roles in keeping children safe and well.

“We are working strategically together to ensure we better support vulnerable families, protect children and invest in their futures,” said Minister Sanderson.

“We know that, when it’s safe, the best place for children to be is at home with their families – removing children from their parents is a hard thing to do and we want to see less need for this in the future.”

AnglicareSA CEO Peter Sandeman said the program provides families with intensive, face-to-face, in-home contact.

“The families we work with love and want the best for their children," said Mr Sandeman.

“It is clear from our work that, faced with the risk of losing their children, many families will work hard to get back on track and this program helps them do just that.”

The pilot program is also being independently evaluated by the Parenting Research Centre.