Preservation and restoration services in the ACT


Dr Aino Suomi and Sebastian Trew


ACT Community Services Directorate


This project is examining preservation and restoration services in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) child protection system from the perspective of families. We are exploring families’ experiences of intensive family support services.

Our process involves interviews with 22 parents and our analysis focuses on the following four key questions:

  1. What are the profiles of families involved in the intensive family support services?
  2. How do families perceive their wellbeing during engagement with these services?
  3. How are services supporting families to keep or return their children home?
  4. How can services provide further support to families?


The ACT Government Children and Young People Services under the umbrella of Community Services Directorate increased investment for the Step-up for Our Kids Out-of-home Care Strategy 2015-2020.

This attention to the front end of the care system aims to divert children from entering long-term care. One domain of the strategy – Strengthening High-risk Families – is largely focused on supporting birth families to maintain a safe and stable home. The strategy also seeks to avoid children and young people being placed into care.

In this study, we collected information from families who were supported by intensive family support services to keep their children home or have them returned to the family home after being in care. We interviewed 22 families to learn first-hand how they perceived their wellbeing during engagement with services and how well they felt that services were supporting them to keep their children. We also asked them for suggestions on how services could improve support.

The study results will be published in the second half of 2021 and the project outcomes will directly inform the current out-of-home care policy and practice about restoration and family preservation services in the ACT.  Specifically, findings will shed light on which aspects of current services work well and not so well from the perspective of the families.

The findings can be used to help services tailor their support more specifically to the needs of individuals with mental health issues, particularly trauma. The findings will also help identify specific challenges faced by restoration or preservation services for individuals who receive these services.


For more information contact Dr Aino Suomo

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