Introduction to the Family Centre Approach to Early Intervention

What makes the Family Centre Approach work?

The FamilyZone Project

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"It takes a village to raise a child" at a time when villages have almost become an obsolete social grouping of the past in most westernized countries. Communities need to offer opportunities and family friendly places where family relationships can be nurtured and developed. The FamilyZone Ingle Farm Hub with its outreach centres and activities, supports this by providing resources for parents in a warm friendly environment that welcomes parents and children. The FamilyZone concept is developing and evolving in response to parents and children's identified needs. This concept has some parallels with and draws on the kind of approaches being developed by the family centres in the Nordic countries and more recently across Europe, Sure Start Children´s Centres in the UK and the Toronto First Duty initiatives in Canada. A team has developed to engage community involvement and coordinate, broker & link community services for families with children 0-12 years in Salisbury suburbs. Volunteers assist in the day-to-day running of family centres and associated outreach activities.

The FamilyZone Hub is a child and family centre that brings together a range of supports for families designed to facilitate the development of healthy attachment in the early years and create an environment which enhances the development of children in the physical, emotional, social, cognitive & spiritual domains. Activities include:

  • supported playgroups
  • parent groups
  • early learning activities
  • home visiting
  • creche activities
  • CALD support groups
  • postnatal support groups
  • young parent education & support
  • community events
  • community engagement initiatives that raise awareness of early childhood issues.

FamilyZone co-locates NGO and government services at a hub at Ingle Farm Primary School in the north of Adelaide. It also services a number of satellite outreach centres and activities in surrounding suburbs. The hub was developed in response to initial interviews with some 125 parents in the site, a consultation with existing service providers, the implementation of the Australian Early Development Census and ongoing consultation with local families and service providers.

A multi-agency, multi and trans-disciplinary team has been developed to facilitate holistic integrated, seamless services for families with children 0-12 years at the hub. The hub links with other community outreach initiatives.

Other agencies involved in service provision on site include Lutheran Refugee and Mobile Creche Services, TAFESA, Family Day Care, Modbury Hospital, Lyell McEwin Hospital, North East Division of General Practice, Parenting Network, Salisbury Primary Health Care services and Housing SA. In 2017-18 341 people used the centre recording 2,193 visits.

The Salvation Army Ingle Farm is the Facilitating Partner working alongside Lutheran Community Care, Relationships Australia, Child & Family Health Services and the Department of Education and Child Development. The initiative is auspiced by a stakeholder representative Communities for Children Committee. It has developed a number of innovative team-based governance structures and worked through many of the issues involved in the development of a multi-agency, multi and trans-disciplinary staff team. See Building Integrated Connections. In 2016 funding for the management and co-ordination of the Hub was withdrawn by the department and has since been taken up by Lutheran Community Care. We continue to explore avenues toward ensuring a sustainable funding model.

Salisbury Family Centre

Salisbury Family Centre is a partnership between families in Salisbury, Salisbury Communities for Children, Community Hubs Australia, Salisbury Primary School, Lutheran Community Care, Save the Children, The Salvation Army, The Australian Refugee Association, Relationships Australia, local community groups and agencies supporting families. We offer a range of playgroups, parent groups, music & movement, groups for new arrivals and parenting information for families with babies and children in the preschool years and during pregnancy. Activities are funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services and co-designed with local families.

Current Timetable (pdf) size 2MB

Salisbury Family Centre Flyer (pdf) size 4.5MB

Salisbury Family Centre (pdf) size 220KB

Launch Report (pdf) size 250KB

Early Years Parenting Community

The Salvation Army Ingle Farm is facilitating a concept built around an Early Years Parenting Community that operates for three days per week and links with options such as music and reading groups. This family friendly initiative regularly engages with some 150 adults and 250 children and is designed to promote healthy early childhood development and provide information and support to parents. Since 2016 this initiative has been funded internally by the Salvation Army Ingle Farm. An outline of this approach can be found here Developing and Early Years Parenting Community


A FamilyZonePromising Practice Profile was developed as part of the Communities for Children National Evaluation and can be downloaded from the Communities and Families Clearinghouse Australia website.

An evaluation of FamilyZone can be found here FamilyZone Ingle Farm Evaluation. This video includes background and some of the findings of the FamilyZone Evaluation. This presentation outlines the data informed approach to design and implementation being used in the initiative Data Informed design & implementation.

An outline of the family centre approach to early intervention and prevention can be found here Family Centre Approach

Australian Refugee Association Relationship Australia Save the Children Australia Lutheran Community Care Salvation Army Schools Ministry Group