Glossary - Family support services

Glossaries, Table notes and Resources

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Family Wellbeing Service Provided by Aboriginal and Torres Strait community-controlled organisations to provide support that is culturally safe and responsive to improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families social, emotional, physical and spiritual wellbeing, and build their capacity to safely care for and protect their children.  The services on offer reflect the needs and aspirations of the local community, and draw on service providers' cultural knowledge.
Enquirer Anyone who contacts a Family and Child Connect service for advice and information, including parents, grandparents, other family members, young people, community members and professionals such as doctors, nurses, teachers and police. Enquirers can call 13FAMILY (13 34 64) or use the on-line referral form to contact a Family and Child Connect.
Family and Child Connect A free, unlimited and confidential service provided by community organisations that families, community members and professionals can access to get information, advice and/or referral to support services so that families experiencing vulnerability receive the support they need as early as possible, without involvement of statutory child protection services.
Family support services Services aimed at averting crisis and/or the need for a child protection response or in some cases supporting families to re-establish themselves following a tertiary or crisis intervention. These services, provided by community organisations, work collaboratively with families to provide needs assessment, case management, practical in-home support, individual and family counselling, and specialist services as required. The use of a case management approach enhances families' capacity to access a wide range of community-based supports.
Intensive Family Support A consent-based program provided by community organisations that responds to families experiencing vulnerability with children and young people (unborn to under 18 years) who are at high risk of involvement in the statutory child protection system. Families may refer themselves or be referred to services directly by the department, other government agencies and non-government organisations with the consent of the family, or from prescribed entities and the department’s Regional Intake Services without the families’ prior knowledge or consent.
Mandatory reporters Approved teachers, doctors, nurses, police officers with child protection responsibilities, a person performing a child advocate function under the Public Guardian Act 2014, early childhood education and care professionals, departmental employees and employees of licensed care services may refer a child or a family directly to a service provider, including an intensive family support service.
Multiple and complex needs Multiple needs or challenges that may be long-standing and entrenched, or a single issue that is so complex that it impacts on many levels of family functioning, often over years or sometimes generations. These issues require intensive support to assist families to develop strategies and skills to manage these challenges into the future. May include issues such as: housing instability; mental health; drug and alcohol misuse; domestic and family violence; parenting challenges; unemployment; and financial stress.
Prescribed entity Means each of the following entities:
  • the chief executive
  • an authorised officer
  • a licensee
  • the public guardian
  • the chief executive of a department that is mainly responsible for any of the following matters:
  • adult corrective services
  • community services
  • disability services
  • education
  • housing services
  • public health
  • the chief executive officer of the Mater Misericordiae Health Services Brisbane Ltd (ACN 096 708 922)
  • a health service chief executive within the meaning of the Hospital and Health Boards Act 2011
  • the police commissioner
  • the principal of a school that is accredited, or provisionally accredited, under the Education (Accreditation of Non-State Schools) Act 2001
  • the person in charge of a student hostel
  • the chief executive of another entity, that provides a service to children or families, prescribed under a regulation.
Referral from Family and Child Connect Occurs after the Family and Child Connect has engaged the family, assessed their needs and gained the family’s consent to be referred on for support.
Referral to Intensive Family Support Families can self-refer.
Referrals must meet the following criteria:
  • there is a child or young person (unborn* to 18 years) in the family
  • families are experiencing multiple and/or complex support needs requiring case management to prevent children from experiencing abuse or neglect within their family
  • without intensive in-home family support, ongoing child protection involvement is likely to occur
  • current concerns have:
  • low to moderate impact on the child's physical, psychological or emotional wellbeing where the likelihood of harm occurring in the future is high OR
  • harm has been substantiated by the department, the child is not in need of protection and the parent is willing to address the issues identified and the risk of harm occurring in the future is low
  • where impact is low and it is not likely to occur in the future, consider referring families to less intensive services
  • the child/ren are not currently in need of protection and the immediate safety of the child is not compromised

Child Safety referrals have additional criteria that must be met and are available in the Child Safety Practice Manual.

*Concerns about an unborn child cannot be referred without the pregnant woman’s consent.

Referral (to a family support service) Families can self-refer.
Referrals must meet the following criteria:
  • there is a child or young person (unborn to 18 years)
  • the family would benefit from access to family support and/or a referral to a specialist support service
  • the child is not currently in need of protection
  • the family consents to the referral.