The specialist family and youth mediation service – Finding Solutions, is a mediation program designed to engage rapidly with young people and their families, at the point of report to child protection to divert them from further involvement in the child protection and placement system.
Finding Solutions operates state-wide as a diversionary mechanism for young people and their families. Assertive outreach is used to engage young people and their families, to assess their issues and needs, and to provide support that assists them to identify and resolve behaviours or issues that are placing a relationship at risk of breakdown. The support provided aims to ease tension in the family without severing links or reducing parents’ capacity to care for the young person.
- The young person must be of secondary school age (for example, aged between 12 and 16 years).
- The focus is on placement prevention within the child protection system.
- The young person must be at risk of entering the child protection system due to family breakdown or conflict which may require an out-of-home placement if intervention is not immediately received.
- The young person is assessed as not at significant risk of harm in the family home.
- The parent is willing to work with a service, and is demonstrating a capacity to act protectively for the young person.
- Referrals to the service can only be made by the child protection intake team.
- Child protection intake practitioners must first undertake an assessment of the information gathered in a report. If it is assessed that no child protection involvement is required, but the young person or family require a level of intensive and timely support to contain the family conflict issues being experienced, a referral is made to Finding Solutions.
- If a young person is a current client of child protection, a Finding Solutions referral is not appropriate.
- Referrals can only be made if the Finding Solutions service has capacity to accept the referral immediately.
The referral process may vary slightly with individual service providers; consultation regarding specific referral arrangements with divisional Finding Solutions services is advised. See Making effective referrals.
Finding Solutions will contact the family within 48 hours or earlier if required after a referral has been received from child protection and accepted. The parent or carer must present a willingness to work with the service however the young person does not have to indicate a willingness to work with the service.
Interventions offered by Finding Solutions can include one or more of the following:
- case support and case management
- family meetings
- one-to-one support
- practical support/material aid
- family therapy
- access to time limited respite placement.