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).

More information

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

Sydney South East (Penshurst)

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

Service locations
Penshurst Torino Therapy Centre
Penshurst Torino Therapy Centre
469 Forest Road
NSW 2222


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