ChildFIRST & Integrated Family Service Programs
Working in Partnership to support vulnerable children, young people and their families because:
“A good childhood is in everyone’s best interests”.
What is Child FIRST:
(Child and Family Information & Referral Support Team)
Child FIRST believes that every child should have the opportunity to reach their fullest potential in a home and community that is safe and promotes their development. Child FIRST ensures that vulnerable children, young people and their families are linked effectively into relevant services and may be the best way of connecting children, young people and their families to the services they need.
Factors which affect a child’s safety, stability or development are:
- Significant parenting problems that may be affecting the child’s development
- Serious family conflict, including family breakdown
- Families under pressure due to a family member’s physical or mental illness, substance abuse, disability or bereavement
- Young, isolated and/or unsupported families
- Significant social or economic disadvantage that may adversely impact on a child’s care or development.
Child FIRST provides information, assessment and referrals to the local community. Early childhood education professionals, schools, service providers, community members, children, young people or families can ring for advice when they are concerned about a child’s safety and well-being.
Referrers to ChildFIRST will be asked to provide information to staff which will assist in the completion of a centralized intake and assessment of well-being and need. Families may be referred to many different support services, depending on assistance required.
A referral must be made to ChildFIRST to access the Integrated Family Services Program.
There are 26 ChildFIRST sites across Victoria. Please see the attached map and contact details sheet to locate the most appropriate service area for you. Contact details can be located at:
When Do I Contact Child FIRST:
Child FIRST works with families with children aged pre-birth to 17 years. Contact can be made with Child FIRST at any time by anyone who is concerned about the well-being of a child. Even if you do not wish to make a referral about a family, Child FIRST is an information service as well as a referral service.
If is it assessed that ChildFIRST is not the most appropriate service, advice and information will be provided to you. If you are unsure as to whether to contact ChildFIRST or Child Protection, support will be provided to assist you to make contact with the appropriate service, so there is no need to worry about not knowing who to call.
What is Integrated Family Services:
Some families require further support to manage concerns. If Child FIRST assess that a family requires a more intensive support service, a referral is made to Integrated Family Services.
Integrated Family Services works in collaboration with vulnerable children, young people and their families to:
- Strengthen parenting capacity;
- Support family connections to the community;
- Give parents the skills to maintain positive relationships;
- Provide a responsive and flexible service tailored to meet family’s needs;
- Network closely with other community services also linked with the family.