Family Referral Services (FRS) are intended to assist children, young people, and families who do not meet the statutory threshold for child protection intervention, but would benefit from accessing specific services to address current problems, prevent escalation, and foster a protective and nurturing environment. FRS are intended to link vulnerable children, young people in need of assistance, and their families, with the most appropriate available support services in their local areas.
FRS is being piloted for 12 months in Dubbo, Mt Druitt, and Newcastle (and surrounding areas), with a view to staged statewide implementation by 2014. Two types of service delivery models will be piloted: a telephone referral service and an augmented service (i.e. a service with capacity to coordinate active referrals, including some case management and supplementary access to support with the use of brokerage funding).
The three organisations which were awarded the tender to pilot FRS commenced service operations on 3 May 2010:
- UnitingCare Children, Young People, and Families is trialling the Dubbo FRS, which is an augmented service with an Indigenous focus
- The Benevolent Society is trialling the Newcastle FRS, which is an augmented service
- Relationships Australia (NSW) is trialling the Mount Druitt FRS, a telephone referral service.
As the Wood Special Commission of Inquiry highlighted an over-representation of Aboriginal children and young people in the child protection system, the Dubbo FRS pilot will focus on identifying referral pathways that address the specific support needs of Aboriginal people, and improving access to culturally appropriate support services for Aboriginal people.
In December 2010, the NSW Government announced a further two sites for FRS: Tamworth and Wollongong. As more details are released, they will be made available here.
Contact numbers and hours of operation
General public: 1300 339 016
Service providers: (02) 6885 8888
Open 8am to 8pm, Monday to Friday
Mt Druitt FRS
All callers: 1300 403 373
Open 9am to 6pm, Monday to Friday
All callers: 1300 006 480
Open 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday