Family Mental Health Support Services (FMHSS)

FMHSS aims to improve mental health outcomes for children and young people, and their families.

FMHSS provide early intervention support to children and young people who are showing early signs of, or are at risk of developing, mental illness, with the support of their families and carers.

FMHSS provides flexible, responsive options and participants can expect services to offer the support outlined below:

  • Intensive, long-term, early intervention support for children, young people and their families which may include: assessment and identification of needs; practical assistance and home-based support; linking with other relevant services; and, targeted therapeutic groups.
  • Short-term immediate assistance for families which may include assessment of needs, information or referrals, and limited support.
  • Community outreach, mental health education and community development activities which may include: organisation of and participation in community events; and, general group work in the community.

Who benefits from FMHSS?

Highest priority is given to:

  • vulnerable children
  • young people and their families including those from Indigenous or culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds
  • children and families in contact with the child protection system.

Services will accept referrals of children and young people from any source, including self-referrals, and conduct an initial brief screening process to ensure FMHSS is the appropriate service for them. A formal diagnosis of mental illness is not required to access FMHSS.

Locating Family Mental Health Support Services

Visit the DSS Grants Service Directory to find an FMHSS provider near you.

Operational Guidelines

FMHSS Operational Guidelines assist providers to work in a consistent, coordinated and cooperative way. The guidelines outline the key elements of service delivery and seek to clarify policy and process questions that may arise during the delivery of the FMHSS activity.

For critical incident reporting, FMHSS should use the Incident Report Form at Appendix H of the Operational Guidelines.

Activity Work Plans

FMHSS grant agreements include requirements for Activity Work Plans (AWPs). These requirements are listed in the reporting milestones table of new grant agreements. The FMHSS AWP template is available here:

FMHSS documents

Review Point

In 2023-24, the department will review the mid-term performance of FMHSS service providers. The review will commence on 1 September 2023. The department will notify providers of their outcomes by 29 February 2024.

The assessment criteria for the Review Point are contained within the FMHSS Operational Guidelines (link above).

Extensions from 1 July 2021

FMHSS providers received 5-year grant extensions from 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2026.

As part of these extensions, the department introduced a number of reforms aimed at improving reporting and tracking of outcomes for Australia’s families and children. More information is available on the FaC Activity 2021 reforms webpage.

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