New Family Connect and Support program on offer

Parliamentary Secretary for Central Coast, Adam Crouch, with staff at The Benevolent Society

A new Family Connect and Support program is being offered by The Benevolent Society with improved early intervention support and practical assistance to prevent family issues from escalating.

The Benevolent Society has centres at The Entrance, Kanwal and Gosford, where families can receive a range of practical assistance, advice and information to help them break the cycle of disadvantage and provide a safe home for children.

It also involves increased outreach to schools and hospitals with a focus on Aboriginal families, children aged up to five years old, families with children and young people affected by mental illness.

The Benevolent Society’s Manager of Child, Youth and Family Services, Melissa Brown, said bushfires, floods and COVID-19 had added to the complexity of family life.

“The Family Connect and Support program has been modelled on the Family Referral Service which we have delivered to the region for 12 years,” she said.

“We are excited about bringing new elements of support to families on the Coast via the new program which includes family group conferencing to bring family members together with one of our impartial facilitators to decide and plan for the safety and wellbeing of their children.

“We focus on early intervention, providing support as soon as challenges are presenting to stop them from escalating to a crisis point.

“We encourage families needing extra support to call our experienced team to access the support and assistance they need,” Brown said.

NSW Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services, Gareth Ward, said the program aligned with the Government’s commitment to reduce the number of children and young people entering out-of-home care.

“The new program streamlines existing services and support with the aim of helping families to build better relationships, improve general health and wellbeing and to live independently in secure housing,” Ward said.

Sue Murray