Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth research manager Amarylise Bessey (left), Interrelate CEO Karen Morris, manager Julie Leete, director of operations Helen Isenhour and project worker Vicki Findlay with a tool to help assess the needs of vulnerable children.
Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth research manager Amarylise Bessey (left), Interrelate CEO Karen Morris, manager Julie Leete, director of operations Helen Isenhour and project worker Vicki Findlay with a tool to help assess the needs of vulnerable children. Jay Cronan

Identifying children's needs

LISMORE has been chosen as one of four trial sites across Australia where a new approach will be tested when responding to the needs of vulnerable children and their families.

The 12-month trial will be run by Interrelate Family Services.

The trial is based on a "common approach" for identifying and responding to the needs of children and families before problems escalate into a crisis situation.

Interrelate staff such as caseworkers, solicitors and mediators will be asked to use the same assessment tools as teachers, doctors and community members when dealing with vulnerable children.

Interrelate area manager Julie Leete said it was clear why Lismore had been chosen for the trial.

"We were chosen because there is a high and complex need amongst many of the families in our region and also because we have an integrated service at Interrelate."

The Federal Government has provided $1.1 million to implement the trial as part of efforts to prevent child abuse and neglect.

The Parliamentary Secretary for Community Services, Julie Collins, said the new approach has already been used to deal with 100 families in Lismore.

"What we want to do as a Federal Government is invest in support services so that we can ensure children and families that are vulnerable get the support they need so they don't end up in the statutory system."

Ms Leete said training tools and booklets have been provided to staff and it's hoped the new approach will mean everyone "starts talking the same language," she said.

 

How can we protect vulnerable children? Leave a comment below.



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