Why is family connection important?
Families are children’s first and most enduring relationships. We know that attachments to family endure over time and space. Family is still very important to children, even if they have lost contact. If children do lose contact with family members this is a loss that causes great pain, trauma and can disrupt and impair children’s development.
Our commitment to meaningful and ongoing family involvement aims to make sure children don’t experience these losses and that they get every opportunity to heal, learn and grow. Your role is to build relationships with family and make sure families are involved in ways that suit each child.
- We know from research and practice that family involvement leads to better outcomes for children - children who leave care with strong and positive family relationships are more likely to do well
- Children are more likely to return home when families strengthen or maintain their attachments with children
- When families have good relationships with carers their children are more likely to go home, and to experience better outcomes if they stay in care
- Families have important information and knowledge about children that carers need to know
- When carers and families form relationships children experience less stress and anxiety
- Children need to see the adults they love and care about treat each other warmly and with respect
- When children feel or know their families are disrespected and excluded this is harmful
- Families and children worry deeply when they are separated - being involved helps alleviate worry and anxiety and helps healing
- When families are involved this reduces the loss and grief that children feel - it also helps make sure that children do not lose their families
- Respectful family involvement, including when children regularly see and spend time with their families, has been linked to greater stability and fewer disruptions in care
- When children are well and safely connected to family members they have more choices and resources in a crisis - this will help keep them safe
All families have strengths. Even when children need to be protected from dangerous individuals, there are other family members who can offer children relationships, connection and hope. All children need their families involved in their lives.
Family involvement makes children safer
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse found that organisations that involved families in their management, service delivery and in other ways were safer places for children.
Family involvement in care teams is a crucial way to help keep children safe from harm while they are in care. Children in care are safer when they have family support.