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Family Participation Program

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This page was updated on 06 May 2022. To view changes, please see page updates

The Family Participation Program (FPP) enables Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, young people, parents and families to participate in significant decision making processes regarding child protection matters and decisions that affect them.

The focus of the program is Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families with children and young people under the age of 18 years, who are the subject of a child protection notification or who are already involved in the statutory child protection system.

Family in this context is defined broadly to include extended kin relationships and significant individuals from the child’s community.

A main function of the FPP is the facilitation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Family Led Decision Making, a process whereby authority is given to parents, families and children to work together to solve problems and lead decision-making in a culturally safe space. The aim is to assist families to optimise their participation in these decision making processes. This recognises that the child and their family are the primary source of cultural knowledge in relation to the child.

A secondary function of the FPP is the provision of other forms of assistance to enable families to participate in decision making, including acting as an Independent person where this is requested by the family.

The FPP seeks to give effect to the principle that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have the right to self-determination, and to support the implementation of the five elements of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement Principle.

The FPP operates to keep children safe in a way that optimises a family’s participation and confidence in the process while meeting any statutory requirements.

The FPP:

  • provides independent facilitation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Family Led Decision Making
  • enables Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families to participate in decision making
  • facilitates family led decision making from early in the child protection continuum
  • supports self-determination and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement Principle.

Key FPP functions include:

  • Assisting families to understand Child Safety processes and the safety concerns held by Child Safety (where applicable).
  • Providing support to a family to enable them to have active input to decisions.
  • Conducting family mapping to identify family members who could support the resolution of safety concerns or maintain the child’s cultural and family connections.
  • Facilitating family planning sessions in preparation for a family led decision making meeting.
  • Facilitating formal family led decision making processes, ensuring all participants can contribute to the family plan.
  • Linking families with the support services they need to implement and sustain the family plan.

The FPP works alongside the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Family Wellbeing Services which continues to provide support services to families. The FPP may also provide an Independent person for children and families where the family prefers to use this service, rather than nominate someone else.

It is recognised that they may not be able to assist all families and some families may prefer not to use the service.

Child Safety’s Collaborative Family Decision Making (CFDM) program with internal and external convenors continues to be an option providing greater choice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families. A number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander internal and external convenors have been recruited across the state.

Child Safety Officers can make referrals for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander family led decision making processes offered by FPP providers dependent on family need, choice and the available services. Further information about referrals to FPP for family led decision making is available in Practice Guide: Family Participation Program Referrals for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander family-led decision making.

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