Support for families
Caring for a child with disability can affect everyone in a family in different ways.
Open communication and spending time together as a family are important. There may also be times when you need to take a break.
It is important that you know about all of the supports available to you and your family. Support can come from a wide range of sources that include family members and friends, community agencies, peer support groups, disability associations and professionals such as therapists or psychologists.
The range of supports available for families with a child with disability also includes programs that provide additional support during difficult times.
Some of these programs are particularly designed for families who are experiencing a high level of stress or crisis or who feel that their child may not be able to continue living at home. These programs are designed to support families to identify their strengths and build capacity and resilience.
The programs are available in different local areas and each program has different eligibility and assessment criteria. For more information about the programs and other support for families of a child or young person with disability contact your local Information, Referral and Intake service.
Intensive Family Support (IFS)
The Intensive Family Support program provides flexible, short-term (ranging between 6 and 12 weeks and up to 16 weeks for Aboriginal services) of support to families who are under a high level of stress or in crisis.
The program supports families, predominantly in the home, to resolve their immediate difficulties and to create a safe, stable and nurturing home environment.
Supports provided will depend upon the needs of the family but may include behaviour support, assistance with connecting families to local community resources and supports (health care, child care, employment and education programs) and crisis and therapeutic counselling.
There are Intensive Family Support service providers across NSW, including four services which specifically support Aboriginal families and three services which specifically support families from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
Are you eligible for Intensive Family Support?
The Intensive Family Support program is available to families who have a child or young person with disability up to 18 years who are undergoing periods of stress. The number of places in Intensive Family Support are limited and depend on level of need and funding availability.
Extended Family Support (EFS)
The Extended Family Support individual funding package supports families who are experiencing significant levels of stress and are at very high risk of seeking alternative living arrangements for their child or young person with disability.
It is a flexible funding package of support that is tailored to meet individual family need over a longer fixed term period (up to twelve months). The Extended Family Support program supports families to:
- manage day-to-day demands
- reduce stress and build resilience
- ensure existing living arrangements and family care arrangements are maintained and the home is a safe, stable and nurturing home environment
Where necessary, placements can be arranged when a child is temporarily unable to remain living at home. When this happens, the focus is on restoring the family’s original living arrangements with the child returning home.
Are you eligible for Extended Family Support?
Families already accessing mainstream and ADHC funded disability services who require additional support to manage stress and crisis and maintain the family living arrangements may be eligible for an Extended Family Support funding package. The program is available to families with children and young people up to 18 years of age with disability who are already accessing ADHC or non-government disability services. The number of places in Extended Family Support are limited and depend on level of need and funding availability.
For more information on Extended Family Support please go to the EFS web page.
To find out more visit the individual funding web page.
Family Choices (alternative family placement)
Family Choices provides voluntary short or long term family based alternative care for children and young people with disability who have moderate to very high support needs and are unable to remain living at home.
The Family Choices program is voluntary and parental responsibility / guardianship remains with the birth family. A range of living options are available to meet the needs of the child and their birth family including:
- Extended family/kinship care
- Foster care
- Shared care.
Are you eligible for Family Choices?
The Family Choices program is available to families with a child or young person with disability under 18 years of age with moderate to very high support needs.
The number of places in Family Choices are limited and depend on level of need and funding availability. Family Choices is available in Western, Southern and Northern NSW.