Early Intervention Services for Vulnerable Children and Families

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Tabled: 27 May 2015

In 2013–14, there were 82 075 reports to child protection in Victoria, a 92 per cent increase since 2008–09. Early intervention is important to prevent ‘at risk’ family situations from escalating.

This audit focused on early intervention services provided through the Child and Family Information, Referral and Support Teams (Child FIRST) and Integrated Family Services (IFS) system. It examined whether families can readily access these services and whether services are leading to positive outcomes for vulnerable families.

The audit found that because of the growing demand and complexity of referrals, Child FIRST and IFS are increasingly providing intervention to high needs families, which means that families with low to medium needs are missing out.

The Department of Health & Human Services needs to improve strategic planning, strengthen partnerships and governance arrangements, and improve communication across local, divisional and central levels of the department and with alliances. It also needs to improve the quality of engagement with service providers, better monitor program risks through routine and systematic data analysis, identify and address key performance issues and measure outcomes.

The audit recommends a comprehensive and urgent whole-of-system review of early intervention, including funding.







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Audit team

Michele Lonsdale

Engagement Leader

Fei Wang

Team Leader
Melinda Gambrell

Aina Anisimova

Engagement Quality Control Reviewer

Kristopher Waring




Last updated on 31/08/2016