Therapeutic Family Preservation Service

Therapeutic Family Services is excited to announce the addition of a new state funded programme to their portfolio of therapeutic services for children, young people and families. The new Family Preservation Service programme is a tertiary service with the primary aim of preventing children coming into care by supporting families to safely remain together. The programme began in August 2012 and will utilise a team of five highly specialised staff including a Programme Co-ordinator, two Case Managers, a Family Support Worker and a Psychologist. The team will also draw upon the exceptionally high standard of therapeutic skill within the Therapeutic Family Services team of 14, Psychologists, Occupational Therapists and Educational Consultant.
Unlike other traditional models of Family Preservation or Reunification the programme uses a ‘staggered down’, longer intervention model spanning 12 months. Too many times as an Organisation, we have seen families enter services for a short term fix. Whilst these may yield short term growth and family development these gains are often lost over time and the family reverts to past poor practice. With a longer intervention time and ‘staggered down’ model in the Family Preservation Service we aim to create longer lasting change. Families will go through four distinct phases whilst involved in the programme; assessment, then three intervention stages, intensive support, moderate support and aftercare.

The Therapeutic Family Preservation Services Team
Back row:  Donna Lawrence, Paul Hogan, Cemone Hedges
Front row:  Anna Nowicki, Holly Pearce, Elaine Bannon

 

The model relies heavily on gaining a thorough picture of the family with the use of a team assessment. This gives a clear foundation of understanding between the family and the team of staff. Together in the assessment they highlight the family’s strengths and areas for growth by using a functional framework for safe and ‘good enough’/adequate parenting. By joining with the family from the beginning a transparent relationship develops. The assessment then feeds into a structured Care Plan for each family (and individual members if required) with clearly defined goals, tasks and outcome measures. In essence, the Care Plan tells the story of the family’s future journey in regards to ‘where we are going’ with their Family Preservation Services. This sound base is what will direct the team to help the family meet their goals and remain together. Work towards these goals is achieved by providing families with a range of services such as intensive in home support, therapeutic intervention and skill development. Families engaging in this service will be experiencing a range of issues such as abuse, neglect, trauma, drug and alcohol misuse, relationship difficulties, poverty, poor mental health, disability, loss of connection to community and frequent crisis. These difficulties do not develop quickly and nor can they be resolved quickly. Often they have developed into well ingrained learned behaviours and ways of living; any progress is slow and relapse is likely given the enormity of the challenge.