Some families need help to create safe environments where every member can thrive. In 2017-18 we added two new teams to help families reduce risk for children in their care, and expanded our domestic and family violence prevention work.
In April 2018, YFS began working with Child Safety officers during investigations into families. Our new Assessment and Service Connect team assists with the assessment of safety in families, and links families with the supports they need to reduce risk for children and provide environments where all family members can flourish. Assessment and Service Connect covers Logan, Redlands and Beaudesert Child Safety regions.
YFS also initiated Queensland’s first Functional Family Therapy – Child Welfare team in May 2018, covering the Browns Plains – Beaudesert region to trial an alternative approach. The team works alongside our existing Intensive Family Support service.
Our domestic and family violence work continued to grow in 2017-18. We supported more than 750 victims of violence in the past financial year through our Beaudesert Domestic and Family Violence Service, our Women’s Advocates and the Project Hera initiative, which sees a YFS worker co-located with the Queensland Police Service Logan District Domestic and Family Violence Unit to provide information and referrals.
YFS’ Responsible Men team increased its number of groups from February 2018 thanks to additional funding from the Queensland Government. The team worked with more than 600 domestic violence perpetrators in 2017-18 to help them take responsibility for their behaviour and learn more respectful ways of operating in relationships.
Looking forward in 2018-19
Innovation and inspiration
We are determined to find better ways to back families to thrive. With Queensland Government support, YFS is trialling new ways of working with families, including a Queensland pilot of Functional Family Therapy – Child Welfare. Our new team of highly qualified family therapists started working with families in May 2018.
Functional Family Therapy – Child Welfare was developed in the United States to help families change their patterns of behaviour so children can be safer. YFS is trialling the model in the Browns Plains – Beaudesert area, alongside our Intensive Family Support program. Both services work with families where child safety concerns have been identified, but use very different methods. This trial will allow us to see what works best for which families.
Our services working with domestic and family violence victims report on clients’ improvements in safety and their protection from harm. Most clients showed improvements through such interventions as safety plans, relocation, domestic violence orders and home safety modifications.
Our Intensive Family Support service evaluates risk for children in families. On entry to the service in 2017-18, 88% of families were moderate or high risk compared with less than half on exit. Changes in personal and family safety are also assessed by our family focused programs such as Step by Step family support and Sure Steps family coaching, with positive change across clients working with these teams.
Clients who show improvements in safety
“Men who do well in the program appear to become less emotionally volatile. Women’s advocates have reported that some men are listening more calmly and there are less incidences of verbal abuse. We tell the men that a sign of becoming responsible is when they comply with their domestic violence orders. We treat breaches really seriously.”