Families wanting advice and support will now have a dedicated new helpline to connect them with support services and resources.
The helpline, called FACES (Family and Children’s Enquiry and Support), will be staffed by a team of specialists. It will be available to any Territory family experiencing difficulties, whether these are parenting problems, family relationships, managing money, housing, or anything else.
“This new helpline is a further critical early intervention to help prevent children and families entering the child protection system,” Ms Dale Wakefield, Minister for Territory Families said.
“It is a ‘no wrong door’ approach – if families ring this number, the specialist staff will work with them to help them get the support they need.
“This government made an election promise to put in place a ‘dual pathways’ system where families experiencing problems could get help without having to be involved in the child protection system. We are now delivering on that promise”.
Minister Wakefield said it was important to build up the trust of families in need so that they sought help early.
“Over time we want to see a fundamental shift in people’s willingness to seek help before issues occur that would put them in the child protection system,” she said.
FACES is one part of Families Enhanced Support Services (FESS) reform, which is also putting in place new contracting and delivery arrangements for services to improve the support delivered to families and children.
An online community services directory will be delivered in 2018 designed to make support services easily accessible for families in need.
Territorians can ring 1800 999 900 to access FACES.
The same telephone number will also put callers in touch with Territory Connect, which will assist callers with general Territory Families enquiries that are not about family support or child protection.
The existing Child Protection Hotline, used for mandatory reporting and child protection referrals, will remain.
Territory Families helpline and hotline services are:
• Territory Families Connect (ph 1800 999 900)
• Territory FACES (ph 1800 999 900)
• Child Protection Hotline (ph 1800 700 250)