The Intensive Family Based Services (IFBS) program began in 1994 and is the longest running program of its kind in NSW. It is an intensive, time-limited, home-based support program for families where children or young people are at risk of entering the out-of-home care system, or are currently in care and a restoration plan is in place.
During an IFBS intervention, practitioners work intensively with the family to stabilise the crisis and put in place structures to ensure the safety of the children or young people. Families are encouraged to build on their strengths while also identifying issues and working to address them. Families set goals around gaining new parenting skills to keep their children safe.
The Special Commission of Inquiry into Child Protection Services in NSW recommended that the NSW Government increase the number and range of family preservation services provided by non-government organisations (NGOs), including IFBS, to Aboriginal families. It was further recommended that the new services be managed by Aboriginal NGOs to provide a culturally appropriate service to Aboriginal families, children, and communities.
Keep Them Safe funding of $3.5 million per annum has been allocated for four new IFBS services. Aboriginal Child, Family & Community Care State Secretariat (AbSec) and Community Services are working together to establish these services in identified high-needs areas in NSW.
Services aim to improve intensive family support to Aboriginal families to help ensure children and young people remain in their families and/or are successfully restored to their families. Services will be delivered in a culturally appropriate way to increase family engagement.
In 2010-11, pilot sites in Wyong, Kempsey, and Wagga Wagga were selected. Bungree Aboriginal Association in Wyong and Burrun Dalai OOHC and Family Support Service became operational and have received good support from the local Aboriginal communities.
A factsheet is available on the AbSec website.