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Functional Family Therapy – Child Welfare (FFT-CW)

Responsible government

  • New South Wales

Fourth Action Plan actions

  • Primary prevention is key
    • 5 Promote healthy and safe relationships and build gender equitable values through initiatives for children and young people.
  • Support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and their children
    • 8 Develop innovative and alternative models for victim and perpetrator support that contribute to safe healing and sustainable behaviour change.
  • Respect, listen and respond to the diverse lived experience and knowledge of women and their children affected by violence
    • 11 Deliver policies and services to address the disproportionate impact of violence on particular groups.

What are we doing?

The NSW Government is committed to providing 900 places per year for intensive family preservation and restoration services aimed at keeping families together. Half of these 900 places will be for Aboriginal children and their families.

Multisystemic Therapy for Child Abuse and Neglect (MST-CAN®) and Functional Family Therapy through Child Welfare (FFT-CW®) are models that aim to reduce entries into out-of-home care, increase exits from out-of-home care and respond to trauma and other underlying causes of child abuse and neglect. These models have been shown to be successful with families internationally.

FFT-CW® is a home-based therapeutic service for families with multiple risk factors where there has been physical abuse and/or neglect of a child or young person aged zero to 17 years. The program accepts referrals where active domestic and family violence is present.

What have we achieved so far?

There are 17 FFT-CW® teams operating in more than 15 priority locations across NSW.

Since the program commenced in August 2017, over 1800 referrals have been accepted into the program, including 493 Aboriginal families. As at August 2019, a total of 645 families have successfully completed therapy, including 161 Aboriginal families.

FFT-CW® offers a home and community-based treatment to families with substantiated physical abuse and/or neglect of a child or young person aged zero to 17 years, and provides a comprehensive family therapy for high-risk families. The model also aims to address child abuse and neglect, substance abuse, mental illness, school difficulties and history of out-of-home care or involvement with the NSW child protection system. The model focuses on engaging with the family’s broader social environment, and develops each family’s social and community networks that are considered a central component of the service response.

What is next?

The NSW Government is funding an independent evaluation of both MST-CAN® and FFT-CW® to measure client outcomes and cost-benefits from program entry until mid-2020. The National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre at the University of NSW is conducting the evaluation.

What difference will we make?

The aim of FFT-CW® is to deliver improved outcomes for children, young people and families experiencing vulnerability. FFT-CW® delivers an in-home therapeutic service for the whole family, which focuses on treating underlying causes of trauma, harm and concerning behaviours.

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