Early intervention services provide targeted support to vulnerable children and families. Brighter Futures is an early intervention program designed to build the resilience of families and children that are at risk.
Delivered by 14 lead agencies across NSW and Community Services caseworkers, the Brighter Futures program helps connect families to the services they need.
By providing early support, these services aim to help prevent problems from escalating to crisis point.
Services for families are delivered over a period of up to two years in order to produce lasting effects for children.
resources for Brighter Futures workers
The revised Brighter Futures service provision guidelines are now available to enable Lead Agencies to more fully consider how changes to the Brighter Futures program will be administered.
The revised Brighter Futures program will commence from the 1 January 2012.
Lead Agencies will begin to gradually receive referrals from the Brighter Futures Unit at the Child Protection Helpline from the 19 December 2011 in order to support Brighter Futures to be fully operational from January 2012.
A range of other resources has been developed to help support Brighter Futures workers. See the Brighter Future resources page.
Community Services appointed the Social Policy Research Centre (SPRC) at the University of NSW to undertake a four-year, independent evaluation of the program.
SPRC has concluded its four-year evaluation of the Brighter Futures program.
See the final Brighter Futures final evaluation report.
The evaluation tells us that our work together with Brighter Futures partner agencies has made a real difference to children and families.
The evaluation found that children from families who successfully completed the program were less likely to go into out-of-home care than children from families who declined to participate.
Those families who remained in the program for longer periods of time also had better outcomes.
Brighter Futures program reforms
The Brighter Futures program reform process began in early 2011.
Reforms are aimed at more effective targeting of services to families with complex needs who are most likely to benefit from the program, improved referral pathways and a more flexible approach to service delivery.
Modifications will include:
- 60 per cent of families to be case managed by Lead Agencies and 40 per cent by Community Services
- the provision of early intervention, as well as voluntary secondary intervention services
- enhancing linkages to services relating to domestic violence and drug and alcohol misuse
- improved consistency of service delivery across Lead Agencies and Community Services
- comparable caseloads across service providers
- establishment of a state level interagency Brighter Futures Council under the Child Protection Advisory Group (CPAG).
Community Services will work with families with needs that are complex enough to put them above the statutory risk of significant harm (ROSH) threshold or who have had previous or ongoing significant involvement with the child protection system.
This will include more focus on families with acute issues such as drug and alcohol, mental health and domestic violence problems.
Lead Agencies will continue to work with the full range of families eligible for Brighter Futures, including families who may not have as yet come into contact with the statutory child protection system.
See the CSGP realignment page for information on how Brighter Futures fits into the Early Intervention & Placement Prevention service continuum.
For further information on the Brighter Futures Council see the Child Protection Advisory Group pages.