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Far North Coast Family Referral Service
Download a flyer: FNCFRS_flyer.pdf
A Family Referral Service (FRS) is now operational in the Far North Coast region. The service is a central portal consisting of a free telephone hotline and a face-to-face referral service that will connect vulnerable families in the region with the appropriate local services available to help them.
Help is just one phone call away!
If you would like to refer a family to the service, the service operates weekdays from 8am until 6pm and can be contacted on the phone number 1300 338 774.
The FNC FRS is jointly operated by Northern Rivers Social Development Council and Interrelate Family Centres; both regional service providers with a commitment to improving the lives of individuals, families and communities. These two organisations have combined their strengths to provide a FRS telephone hotline as well as face-to-face referral and outreach services that links into existing services and programs in the region.
Interrelate has been operating a high volume telephone information and referral service based in Lismore for some time, along with counselling and mediation services that focus on capacity building within families, while NRSDC has a focus on building connections within the service system. The synergy between these two organisations has created an effective, coordinated FRS and delivers real results for communities across the region, operating out of shop-fronts based in Grafton, Lismore and Mullumbimby.
The telephone hotline is answered by FRS Client Service Officers (CSOs) who provide clients with advice and referrals to appropriate community services in their local area. CSOs may also refer vulnerable families to speak with FRS Family Connectors, who are based in the FRS regional offices and will provide clients with warm, facilitated referral pathways.
Since the beginning of 2011, the NSW government has successfully trialled the operation of five of these services across NSW as part of the Keep Them Safe child protection reforms. In 2012, three additional services were introduced in the Northern Rivers, Mid North Coast and South West Sydney. Family Referral Services are intended to link vulnerable children, young people and families in need of assistance with the most appropriate available support services in their local area. The services address family problems early and prevent situations from escalating to the point where intervention is needed by child safety authorities.
The Far North Coast Family Referral Service is a much needed resource for our local communities. Many people are not aware of what services are out there to help them, or are confused as to which ones are appropriate for their needs. The FRS will help consumers easily navigate through the many available service options and help them find appropriate assistance. Not only will it utilise and build on the current network of available community services, it will help to strengthen the capacity of the sector by engaging with vulnerable people who may not already be accessing these services.
The Family Referral Service is a resource for all members of the community, including community services organisations who work with families. With one phone call, people can find out about available employment, health, training, counselling, parenting education and support services and gain referral and on the spot information about other family support resources.
Collaboration among community service organisations is paramount to making this service effective and a key focus will be on building networks between all service providers in the area. With the support of all community service organisations, as well as the wider community, the Family Referral Service has the potential to make a positive difference in the lives of disadvantaged families in our community. The FRS team will be working with local community service organisations to make this the most effective referral service possible within our region.