Investing in family strengths-based programs to keep vulnerable families together

Child development
Friday 27 July, 1155 – 1215


Elizabeth Whittaker
Their Futures Matter

Their Futures Matter is a landmark NSW Government reform to deliver improved outcomes for vulnerable children and families.
The reform puts the needs of children and families at the centre and aims to positively change the lives of those most ‘vulnerable’, who account for about five per cent of children in NSW. Vulnerability is particularly high among Aboriginal children and families, who are overrepresented in the out of home care (OOHC) system.
Research indicates that to change the life course of vulnerable children, effort must go into evidence-based earlier intervention methods.
Investing in intensive strengths-based models such as Multisystemic Therapy for Child Abuse and Neglect (MST-CAN®) and Functional Family Therapy Child Welfare (FFT–CW®) is the first step in reform activity to address immediate risk of children entering OOHC, and reduce demand on the child protection system. These evidence-based models have demonstrated success internationally and locally in treating the contributors of harm and trauma, including mental health issues, domestic and family violence, and drug and alcohol misuse.
Launched in August 2017, the family-focused home-based models are being delivered by trained practitioners in priority locations across NSW. Each year, 900 places are available for vulnerable children and families, with half of these dedicated to Aboriginal families.
These models are building and testing an evidence base through comprehensive data collection and evaluation, to measure effectiveness and improvements in the life outcomes of children and families across NSW. This presentation will highlight preliminary implementation processes and early outcomes.