Helping Families Navigate Crisis

Family Services is one of Anglicare Victoria’s largest service streams. Across the state it offers case management and family support through home visits and one-on-one, tailored sessions to improve parenting skills and the wellbeing of children.

Anglicare Victoria’s Family Services in 2019/20 were at the forefront of our crisis response, helping families with an extraordinary range of needs. Our services were tested continuously, with high demand for our range of specialist programs.

Many of the circumstances our staff responded to in the last year included in-home family support to prevent children from being removed from their parents’ care. They provided domestic and emotional support to parents struggling to raise their families, counselling for alcohol and drug or financial problems, and interventions to prevent or respond to family violence in the home.

The importance of Anglicare Victoria’s Family Services escalated in the second half of the financial year as the COVID-19 pandemic hit home. With families confined under government restrictions, tension and stress put further pressure on family dynamics which were already fragile. Further, the loss of casual and permanent jobs underlined the importance of our financial counselling services for many families.

“On a video call to a family, I saw all five children in the first five minutes because they were all so keen to see who Dad was talking to!”

– Caseworker, Family Services

Overall, our family support services witnessed a sharp rise in demand, as did our family violence services (particularly with parents seeking assistance with adolescent violence in the home), and requests for drug and alcohol support as a result of the pandemic.

The proactive response to the needs of families in such an extraordinary year is a testament to the efforts of Anglicare Victoria staff, who were quick to embrace new ways of supporting families in a time of social distancing and reduced visits to the home. This included the use of laptops and phones to maintain a connection, frontline visits to stressed families, and domestic and educational resources to ensure home schooling continued during periods of lockdown. Further, such improved connectivity with families also has allowed more timely supports for parents as they face their daily challenges in the home.

“One child answered with headphones on, ready to chat. She showed me all the school work she had done then went into the lounge and introduced me to her family. And I did eventually get to chat to mum!”

– Caseworker, Family Services

Back to news