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The Family Partnership Model in practice in New South Wales: Working with families with complex needs to make a difference

How was it achieved and who was involved?

The FPM was developed at the Centre for Parent and Child Support in the UK, part of South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust. It is an evidence-based approach built around a suite of professional training courses, with an associated set of training manuals. These enhance professionals’ skills in negotiation and communication, and provide professionals with a robust platform upon which to build co-production practices based on particular qualities of their relationship with clients, referred to in this context as a partnership. FPM involves a staged helping process, helper qualities, communication skills, ingredients of partnership, and wider service features. Further details are available via the CPCS website

Karitane one of several organisations providing services for families with young children across the state of New South Wales, Australia. It has embedded co-production practices under the rubric of the FPM in all its work.

Karitane’s aims reflect those of FPM and the NSW government in terms of supporting young citizens to break cycles of neglect and inequality. The Residential Unit supports families experiencing challenges in parenting children under four years of age. Families receive round-the-clock support during a single five-day stay. FPM helped to bring about services that actively involve parents in negotiating goals, making decisions, and assessing outcomes. Within the FPM, outcomes are identified as building capacity, problem anticipation and resolution, and resilience in families, rather than as short-term fixes to problems where professionals solve problems for families.

The FPM Foundation course was made available to many child and family health professionals across NSW. Professor Hilton Davis and Dr Crispin Day, the original developers of the FPM in the UK, developed strong links with many health services across Australia, delivering training directly. They now work in a consultative role as Australian organisations develop capacity to deliver FPM training themselves. The Foundation course is usually delivered in 5 full days or 10 half days spread over two or more months. It covers all aspects of the Model, including stages of the helping process, ingredients of partnership, helper qualities and skills, and makes use of role-play in which participants draw on their prior practical experience. There are currently no renewal requirements once training is completed, but the Model explicitly adopts the view that this training marks the beginning of a process, rather than a conclusion, and ongoing personal reflection, and support through clinical supervision are anticipated.

Karitane strongly encourages all clinical staff to complete this course, providing time away from primary duties as appropriate. FPM is spread horizontally across all clinical, education and research branches, and vertically, with senior managers completing FPM training and developing a clear focus on supporting partnership in their work. Clinical supervision offers an important venue for discussing this as a feature of everyday practice.

About this case study
Main Contact

Karen Willcocks 
Clinical Nurse Consultant at Karitane



Nick Hopwood 
University of Technology, Sydney


Nick Hopwood, Roger Dunston and Teena Clerke wrote this case study for Governance International on 26 April 2013.

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