The Intensive Family Support Service (IFSS) helps vulnerable families with high and complex needs to keep children healthy, happy, safe and strong.
As a parenting support service, IFSS aims to help families keep children in their homes, in their communities and out of the child protection system. Family members learn new skills to help them meet their children’s needs.
This evidence-informed service targets families with a risk of recurring child neglect. It is available to Indigenous and non-Indigenous families with children aged from 0 to 12 years.
IFSS is delivered by non-government organisations. Staff from these organisations are trained to work with families in their homes and local communities. This training is delivered by the Parenting Research Centre in our role as an Implementation Capacity Support Service.
IFSS workers help families to develop and enhance their parenting skills in areas of care that are most likely to reduce neglect, ensuring that children:
- are adequately supervised
- have their basic physical needs met
- have their health needs met
- have their emotional and developmental needs met
- have their educational needs met.
Working with families
Each family works together with an IFSS worker to identify which areas of neglect need attention. This process means that the service is tailored to the individual needs of each family.
IFSS workers visit families frequently, providing many sessions of intensive support. The sessions usually take place in the family home.
IFSS workers can work with families for up to 12 months, and provide a range of services with a focus on outcomes, including:
- develop plans and goals in partnership with each family to meet their child’s needs
- provide ongoing assessment and support of the carer’s strengths and challenges
- provide ongoing assessment of the child’s needs and progress
- provide practical and structured in-home assistance
- assist with the development of social support
- refer families to other services (including specialist services) and help coordinate those services
- link families to community networks.