19/03/2021 | Michelle Lensink MLC | Better Services

South Australia’s most vulnerable families on the cusp of entering the child protection system will receive more support than ever before under record new Marshall Liberal Government early intervention funding.

Following extensive consultation and evidence-based research, the Government will now focus its efforts on intervening earlier, and more intensively, with the aim of turning the tide and outcomes for our most vulnerable families.

The new approach will focus on reducing child abuse and neglect by providing more targeted support to families and their children.

As part of this revamp, the Marshall Liberal Government is delivering $52 million over the next four years on specific, Intensive Family Support Services across metropolitan Adelaide and across the regions.

Today, the Marshall Liberal Government can announce seven not-for-profit organisations, including two run by Aboriginal people for Aboriginal families, will deliver these new Intensive Family Support Services from 31 March.

Tailored support services will be delivered across South Australia through Centacare Catholic Family Services, Centacare Catholic Country SA, Relationships Australia South Australia (RASA), Kornar Winmil Yunti (KWY), Uniting Country SA, Anglican Community Care (AC Care) and Aboriginal Family Support Services (AFSS).

The Marshall Liberal Government’s record early intervention spend includes the $52 million, in addition to $34 million committed towards funding other programs and pilots for these families.

Minister for Human Services Michelle Lensink said early intervention and prevention remained a Marshall Liberal Government priority.

“Our $52 million commitment to deliver new, tailored support services for families at-risk of entering the child protection system will target our most vulnerable mums and dads experiencing domestic violence, mental illness and drug and alcohol addiction – and their children,” said Minister Lensink.

“It’s clear that we need to intervene earlier, and more intensively with these families, and ensure they are willing to work with staff on the ground to turn around their lives.

“The reality is there are hidden South Australian families who are at-risk of having their children taken away – and this is the cohort we’re targeting.

“The previous approach didn’t provide the right kind of support at the right time for our most vulnerable families and it’s also been identified that staff need to be using a different set of skills to work with these mums, dads and their children.

“Our most vulnerable families need a higher dose of intensive support upfront - support that will motivate them to change their behaviour, their attitude and their idea of parenting.

“Trained and dedicated support staff will work specifically with these families to improve the safety and wellbeing of children and address issues that will enable children to stay at home safely, in community and culture.

“By better supporting families to care for their children, we will be reducing family trauma and the devastating effect this has on the next generation.”

In addition to the new, targeted approach, Minister Lensink said the Government will now measure the outcome of these services.

“Ultimately, we want better outcomes for our most vulnerable families and that’s why we will now be closely monitoring the success of our new intensive family support services, at the same time as ensuring taxpayer dollars are being spent wisely,” said Minister Lensink.

Background:

  • The seven providers delivering the $52 million in Intensive Family Support Services were selected following a competitive tender process, including an additional $5 million investment to support more families in the regions.
  • Areas the new, intensive support will be delivered include North, South, East and Western Adelaide and regions including the Murray and Mallee, Yorke Peninsula and Mid North, Limestone Coast, Barossa, Light and Lower North, Eyre and Western, Fleurieu and KI, Far North and the Adelaide Hills.
  • Vulnerable families will be linked-up with these support services through DCP, DHS, health and education.
  • About 1000 people were consulted across the state to help design the new, targeted system, including non-government providers and people with lived experience.