Protecting a child’s first and most enduring relationships

Children in care have families who are important to them.

Experience tells us separation causes families and parents to worry deeply about their children and being involved helps alleviate anxiety and enable healing.

Research tells us children who leave care with strong and positive family relationships achieve better outcomes throughout their lives.

We support families and carers to build strong relationships that are in the best interest of children.

The parents and family members of children in care love them and want them to do well. They also have important information and knowledge about children that carers need to know. Of course there are exceptions to this and from time to time, Life Without Barriers work with families where there is an individual who is very dangerous. However all families have strengths and even if one family member is dangerous there will be others who can play a positive role in a child’s life.

Where it is in the best interest of the child, it’s important that carers, with the support of their local Life Without Barriers Care Team, get to know and form relationships with parents and family so they can support their ongoing relationship with the child.

How much time do children in care spend with their families?

How much family contact a child or young person in care will have with their family varies. Some children meet and communicate with their family frequently and others less so. Every child’s situation is unique. Our primary consideration will always be the interest and safety of the children in care.

Respectful relationship building is always our starting point for family involvement. This involves:

  • speaking respectfully and positively about family members
  • expressing interest in family and family history
  • understanding that children may have mixed feelings about their family
  • never criticising family members or suggesting that they don’t love or care for their children.

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.

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