Intensive Family Support

Intensive Family Support Options (IFSO) offers an intensive, flexible, in home support service for families with a child or teenager with a disability, who are experiencing a high level of stress.

  • supports families to manage their situation, identifying what is working well, what they would like to change, and assists with developing strategies that will make a difference
  • can help with managing stress, behavioural problems, relationship issues, and living with the effects of a disability
  • supports families to keep children safely within their home
  • recognises diversity in families, and is respectful of racial, ethnic and cultural needs
  • can provide practical support as needed, and may be able to broker resources that will assist the family to achieve their goals
  • can support parents to feel more confident, plan daily routines, and access useful information and relevant services.

The service focuses on the needs of the whole family, and on achieving and maintaining the emotional well being of all family members.

If other services are involved, then IFSO can (with the family’s permission), speak to other services to make sure the support is well coordinated.

Meetings and support can be given in home, in school, at agency meetings and in the community.

Who is this service for?

IFSO is available to families with a child or teenager (under 18 years) who has a diagnosed physical, intellectual or sensory disability – or a combination of these.

The service is for families experiencing high levels of stress, and particularly for families that are at risk of placing their child out of home, or where there are child protection or safety issues.

Indicators of risk may also include: a breakdown in family relationships; changes in the physical or emotional health of the parent/ carer; families that have increased their requests for respite and for additional support services; and / or an increase in problems relating to siblings.

Enquiries about the suitability of the intervention for a particular family can be made directly with staff in the relevant area, as well as access to application forms.

Completed application forms can be sent directly to staff (see contact details) or to the relevant ADHC Information, Referral and Intake office for consideration by the panel.

Panels meet monthly (Hunter Central Coast Panels meet 3 monthly) to decide the eligibility and priority of the application. If deemed suitable, the referral will be picked up when there is capacity to do so.

Consent from the family is required if making a referral on their behalf.

When is the service available?

IFSO provides a flexible model of support in which, for the period of the IFSO intervention (10 – 12 weeks), the family therapist can be accessed by the family during business hours, after hours and on weekends.

Inquiries and referral to IFSO should be made during business hours.


There is no cost to the family. The program is funded by NSW Department of Human Services, Ageing, Disability and Home Care (ADHC).


IFSO is offered in the north, south east, west and south western areas of Sydney and on the Hunter and Central Coast areas of NSW.

More information

For more information please contact the IFSO coordinator in your area:

Sydney North (Allambie Heights)

Please contact Jennifer Drayton on 9975 8000 or email

Sydney West (Parramatta)

Please contact Ruth Brunner on 9687 9854 or email

Sydney South East (Penshurst)

Please contact Kay Berry on (02) 9586 1077 or email

Sydney South West (Prairiewood)

Please contact Martin Pearce on 9757 4322 or email

Central Coast

Please contact Stephanie Green on 4355 4752 or email


Please contact a Family Therapist on 4979 4333 or email

Service locations

Allambie Heights
187 Allambie Road
Allambie Heights New South Wales
Australia 2100
PO Box 6427, Frenchs Forest NSW 2086
Phone (02) 9975 8000
Fax (02) 9451 5209

61 Parklea Avenue
Croudace Bay NSW 2280
PO Box 3038 Valentine NSW

East Maitland
18-20 Day Street
East Maitland NSW 2323
PO Box 52 East Maitland NSW 2323

Uni of Western Syd, Bldg G
Second Avenue, Kingswood NSW 2747
Locked Bag 1797, Penrith NSW 2751

469 Forest Road
Penshurst NSW 2222

224-244 Restwell Road
Prairiewood NSW 2176
PO Box 3154 Stockland Mall, Wetherill Park NSW 2164

6 Teamster Close, Tuggerah, NSW 2261
PO Box 5415, Chittaway Bay, NSW 2261

Service enquiry