Victorian and Aboriginal family preservation and reunification response

An innovative new approach to delivering evidence-based and coordinated support to the children and families at the right time.

The Victorian and Aboriginal Family Preservation and Reunification Response aims to support and build strong families with children who are safe, healthy, resilient and thriving, and to support parents and other care givers to create a safe and nurturing home environment. 

The response is an innovative new way to support families to stay together or reunify them when children have been in care services, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

It is prioritised for 3 groups of children and young people (and their families) who meet specific eligibility criteria, including pregnant women and their unborn children, children from birth to 5 years and children 10 to 15 years. 

The response works with Aboriginal families and communities to advance Aboriginal self-determination, promote culturally safe and inclusive services to support cultural healing, and acknowledges the unique needs, preferences and history of Aboriginal children and families.

Who delivers the response?

In 2020–21, the response is being delivered by community service organisations in partnership with Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations in each of the 17 departmental areas. An Aboriginal response is delivered by Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations in each of the 4 operational divisions.

For a list of providers see Victorian and Aboriginal family preservation and reunification response service providers in 2020–21 (word).  

Practitioners delivering the response work together with Child Protection and Aboriginal Children in Aboriginal Care practitioners, as well as other professions involved with a family to provide coordinated support to families. 

A new Child Protection Navigator role has been created to help families be identified as early as possible for the response and to promote connected and coordinated practice between the response team and Child Protection.

What supports are available?

Each family connected into the response is supported by a lead practitioner. The response practitioner will work with families to seek to understand their unique experience and perspectives and will deliver support families through programs and strategies that have been proven to make a difference for children and families. 

The support a family may receive may include: 

  • Working with a family regularly at home or in place where they feel comfortable to provide them with support and strategies to build their parenting skills and confidence 
  • Linking families to other services and community supports as needed
  • Using flexible funding to help families meet their goals.