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Safety and support networks

The transition to adulthood phase is a time to revisit a young person’s safety and support network and the role of family members.

A safety and support network is a team of family, friends, community members, carers and professionals who are willing to meet with the young person, the family and Child Safety, and work together to keep the young person safe.

Network members are not ‘add-ons’ to the case work but are integral to case planning and safety planning. In this integrated practice approach, network members are essential to enhancing safety as they keep in regular contact with the young person and their family take specific actions when situations become fragile or dangerous, and listen and respond to the young person and their worries.

Why have safety and support networks? 

Safety and support networks assist at all stages along the child protection continuum. During transition to adulthood, the safety and support network can provide ongoing assistance and support for the young person transitioning to adulthood. They can assist with practical matters such as accessing Services Australia (formerly Centrelink) and housing. They can also strengthen the young person’s sense of belonging to his or her community by helping them to form connections.

The best way to find out about informal family resources is by asking the young person and family directly. When seeking to establish relational permanency, it may be even more important to identify an expanded family network.

In many situations, families are reluctant to let professionals know who their informal supports are. Remember that trust develops slowly and be on the lookout for opportunities to continually revisit and ask about informal supports.

High intensity responses

Sometimes a young person transitioning to adulthood may require a high intensity response in a crisis or high risk situation.  This type of response requires a short, sharp intervention.

A high intensity response is a particular way of working to provide an intensive, seamless, wraparound safety and support plan to identified children, young people and families during periods of increased risk and complexity.

This safety and support plan is responsive to acute and challenging issues, high risks and significant needs, and is consistent with the overall case plan. A high intensity response will be generated and coordinated by a young person’s existing safety and support network and any required co-opted members, to respond to immediate safety concerns, highly complex needs or high risk behaviours such as self-harming, thinking about suicide, or frequently going missing from their care arrangement.

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