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

Costs and savings

The costs and savings associated with the adoption and impact of FPM in child and family health services are difficult to quantify in purely economic terms. FPM is not designed to deliver lean efficiency, but rather to ensure the best possible outcomes for families.

The upfront outlay in terms of providing FPM Foundation training to clinical staff is modest, and the intense nature of the course reduces time buy-out costs. Literature and resources relating to FPM are available at minimal cost, and the approach taken by the Centre for Parent and Child Support in the UK encourages organisations to invest in a small number of staff completing additional FPM courses so they can then deliver training in-house (reducing costs of training staff) and connect with other services in their community. Compared to some other approaches the costs of implementing FPM are low.

The adoption of FPM at Karitane’s Residential Unit has not led to either increases or decreases in terms of staffing levels or everyday running costs. The Unit continues to support similar numbers of families each week, and the five-day period of residency for each family has not had to change. However, FPM has provided a basis for embedding a culture of co-production based on FPM across the workforce.

The savings offered by FPM spread well beyond any one organisation. It combines early intervention with an approach tailored to families’ needs, building on existing strengths in families and communities, and developing resilience. Thus services based on FPM offer a means for families to learn how to anticipate and address problems, disrupting the trajectories of their lives to reduce the risk of their health and wellbeing being placed at risk. In many cases this can reduce reliance on other services in the future, and can have long-term beneficial effects in terms of child health, educational achievement, and social contribution.

However, services like the Residential Unit also help some families make crucial connections to other sources of support – indeed, stays at the Unit often result in referrals to other services. This may lead to further service costs in the short-term, but again has lasting benefits.

It is important to remember that while many child and family services are expensive (Residential Units particularly so), they are funded out of a commitment to supporting families in need, giving children the best possible start in life, and aiming to keep children in secure family units wherever possible.

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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