Breaking the cycle of disadvantage

An evidence-based early intervention program is keeping Dubbo families together, and reducing the number of children entering out-of-home care.

Member for the Dubbo electorate Dugald Saunders said Multisystemic Therapy for Child Abuse and Neglect (MST-CAN) involves experts working closely with families to address underlying issues that can result in harm.

“Early intervention programs like MST-CAN work intensively with the entire family, and to address issues such as trauma, harm or concerning behaviours,” Mr Saunders said.

“This week is Child Protection Week, and it is an opportunity to share the stories of families who have broken the cycle of disadvantage. I’ve met a number of times with Marathon Health staff and heard first-hand about the great work they are doing for families. Put simply, programs like this are helping give kids a brighter future.”

MST-CAN works by identifying a child who is at risk of being placed in out-of-home care, then connecting them with a team of professionals, including psychologists, social workers and psychiatrists, who provide intensive in-home support.

Programs like MST-CAN have contributed to a 42 per cent reduction in the rate of children entering out-of-home care since 2015-16. The number of child protection reports made in relation to families who have undertaken MST-CAN has also significantly decreased.

Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services Gareth Ward said by investing in programs that intervene early, and are based on evidence, great outcomes can be achieved.

“The NSW Government has transformed the child protection system in the last decade, and will continue to put children first and improve the system,” he said.

“There is still a lot more work to do, and this week is an opportunity to reinforce our strong commitment to delivering better outcomes for children and families across our state.”

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