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Better Place Australia

Better Place for Kids

Better Place for Kids

Children’s Contact Services (CCS) in Victoria exist as independent services that enable children of separated parents to have safe contact with the parent the...

australia > VIC > metro
01/12/2020 > 30/11/2021


  • Individual/family services & support
  • Community & economic development


  • General population
  • Young people (6-25)


Children’s Contact Services (CCS) in Victoria exist as independent services that enable children of separated parents to have safe contact with the parent they do not live with, in situations where parents cannot manage their own contact arrangements due to complex issues such as family conflict, relationship breakdown, substance abuse and mental health problems.

We will pilot a new model of CCS at our existing Narre-Warren site where parents using the CCS will also access co-located therapeutic support integrated into the service including psychological counselling, financial counselling, family law support and capacity building services to improve parenting skills and repair relationships. These co-located services are already in place at our Narre-Warren site and funded for the next four years by DHHS.

We aim to build the evidence for a new model that blends a CCS with therapeutic intervention and support – to motivate parents to learn better parenting skills and to repair relationships to a point where respectful and safe self-management of parenting arrangements is possible. Families that move to self-management report having better relationships and function more effectively as a family unit. Self-management also improves outcomes for children.

We believe a CCS visit is an ideal time for parents to not only spend time with their children but be motivated to engage and learn better parenting, emotional and life skills.

We require funding to establish the proposed CCS and support the operational and research costs of running the program – it will run on a fee-for-service model after the Pilot.


Our goal is for children and their parents to experience safe, harmonious, and beneficial relationships. The program will reduce stress in families and help build a future for children by facilitating a better parenting experience for them.

Sadly, there are not enough CCSs in Victoria to facilitate the volume of parent/child meetings currently being sought and the waiting time to access such a visit is 12 months or more in many locations - during which time family tensions can escalate, often placing the children at greater risk of harm.

We hypothesise that our integrated therapeutic model will build parenting skills and transition parents to self-manage their parenting arrangements more effectively – reducing unacceptable wait times. The implications of this would be significant to family law and family services in Victoria.

We will pilot our model over 24 months with 100 families.

Our primary research goal is to determine what parents using our CCS find useful or not useful about the service. Success will be measured on whether the co-located services impacted and improved outcomes for families during a CCS service journey and how quickly we could transition parents to self-management as a result.

Our secondary aim is to provide updated data on who is accessing these services, what their primary presenting needs are and how they interact with the CCS (e.g. duration, uptake of referrals, engagement level, discrepancies).

This work will be of benefit to service users and service providers by contributing to promising practice models in Victoria.

Profile of Better Place Australia

Better Place Australia

Better Place Australia offers a critical entry point to families to the broader family support and family law system. Better Place Australia provides a range of accessible services to the community for the enhancement of family relationships and the prevention, management and resolution of family conflict, including family mediation, counselling, child counselling, family therapy, elder abuse prevention, relationship education and more.

Australian families are facing economic and social uncertainty at levels we have not seen in decades. As a result of this we are witnessing increased levels of stress, anxiety, family breakdown and family violence in the communities we serve. Better Place Australia has a critical role to play in responding to these issues within the community by:
- helping keep families together or separate amicably
- keeping children safe, healthy and out of the welfare system
- encouraging sensible financial decision-making
- imparting skills and knowledge to foster open communication and respect in families
- reducing the incidence and impact of family violence
- helping individuals overcome and change problematic patterns of behaviour
- enhancing the capacity of individuals and families to cope with life’s challenges


TOTAL BUDGET: $280,000
Funding sourceAmount
Other Philanthropic Sources$95,000
Fee-for-service + government$30,000
Better Place Australia (cash contribution)$80,000
Funding gap (unconfirmed)$75,000
Expense itemAmount
Installation of two portable bungalows to conduct services$50,000
Connect power to bungalows and security cameras$10,000
Plumbing near bungalows enabling services to be offered on weekends and after hours$35,000
Installation of play equipment$5,000
Sensory play equipment enabling parent interaction, inclusivity for children with autism, and assistance with therapeutic outcomes$20,000
Collaboration and partnerships$5,000
Administration and overheads$15,000

Support Better Place for Kids

Got a question about this project or ready to contribute? Contact our Philanthropy & Impact Team.


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