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The Better Chances Forum (BCF) brings together people from organisations and groups across the Northern Rivers region of NSW to support better chances for Children and Young People and their families. 

On Tuesday 16 March 2021, 19 members of (BCF) met at Ballina Surf Club to connect, share and reflect on ‘how we can support each other to understand and deliver responsive, accessible and collaborative support alongside children, young people and their families and community. 

This session followed on from a BCF reflection session held in November 2020.  

BCF members stated some of the opportunities and challenges in delivering flexible and responsive services include: 

Investment in networking throughout the Northern Rivers region 

  • Finding flexibility to network is a challenge (attached image) it is an investment in time and resources. However, when we do link up and see results and better outcomes for our families. Suggestions of using connection desks and piggie backing on each other
  • Importance of regional networks. We service families that spread and move throughout the Northern Rivers region (especially post COVID). Interest in finding out what each other do regionally what are program guidelines are.  

Focus on ‘early’ 

  • Early intervention means early, lets be flexible to hold families- not focus on what we can deliver through our contracts but how we can we work together to service a whole family. 

Meet families where they are at  

  • Can we tap into where families are Eg, supermarkets and community events, to promote ourselves and provide flexible service delivery? 
  • Flexible programs require the sector to work flexibly, eg weekend work, out of hours. How can we build our workforce to adapt to this? 

Shared responsibility 

  • Let’s be clear about what we can offer and what our responsibilities are so that families are held and understand the service they will receive.  
  • Building reciprocal relationships with services so we know we can pick up the phone and know what is going to happen consistency of service. 

Knowing what services are available allows us to be flexible and responsive 

  • All participants stated they do not have enough understanding of what is available in our region. This affects how flexible we can be as we need to invest time in finding out where to go. 
  • Use https://askizzy.org.au/ as a place for services to promote and update their service details and use as a service directory (Ask Izzy is a mobile website that connects people who are in crisis with the services they need right now and nearby).  
  • Use the Community-hub hosted by Social Futures as a space to share service updates, events, and information sent to subscribers through an E-News service.  
  • Interest in an online discussion space for services. For example, somewhere where you can ask the sector about specific support that we need to connect families with. 

For more information about Better Chances Forum visit our website