Sapphire Neighbourhood Services, formerly known as Far South Coast Family Support Service, has been operating in the Bega Valley since 1987. The organisation is part of a state-wide network of Family Support Services in NSW and is a member of NSW Family Services Inc and the NSW Local Community Services Association, both peak bodies in the community services sector.
About Sapphire Neighbourhood Services
Sapphire Neighbourhood Services (SNS) receives the majority of its funding through the NSW Department of Communities and Justice. We are currently funded to provide programs under two funding streams:
• Targeted Earlier Intervention Program: Provides advice and support to individuals and families with dependant children aged 0-18 years, along with individualised and group parenting programs, information, advice and referral. Self-referrals are encouraged, and the length of support may range from a single appointment to several months or longer.
• Intensive Family Preservation Program: Provides intensive case management to families with dependant children aged 0-18 who have been referred by the Department of Communities and Justice and where children are at imminent risk of harm. We work with families in this program over an extended period, usually twelve months, and will always allocate at least two case workers to support the family’s needs.
Additional grants are also sought to deliver short-term projects and new activities.
Where can you see us?
We offer appointments in Eden, Merimbula, and our main office in Bega. For people with transport or access issues, we can see you at your home, in any area of the Bega Valley. Alternatively, we can arrange to see you at another public location if that makes you feel more comfortable.
What do we provide?
We support people experiencing a range of family-related challenges including parenting difficulties, relationship issues, child safety or developmental issues, substance abuse, domestic violence, and mental health issues. Our services include but are not limited to casework, parenting education, information and advice, support groups, counselling, advocacy and referrals.
How do we work?
SNS takes an integrated approach to service delivery that recognises the need for using diverse approaches to creating meaningful outcomes. We work within a person-centred and trauma informed philosophy that prioritises safety, inclusivity, personal liberty and holistic service provision.
We take a strengths-based approach by valuing and supporting the unique skills, qualities and capabilities of each individual; and focusing on people’s strengths, not deficits, in all areas of our work.
We work with people in an empowering way by ensuring that they:
- Are consulted in decisions affecting their lives
- Understand the range of options available to them
- Have the information they need to understand their options and their consequences
- Set their own goals and priorities, making an informed choice from the available options
SNS follows the Australian Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics and the NSW Office of the Children’s Guardian’s Child Safe Standards.
Our Board of Directors actively works to maintain our status as a local employer of choice, ensuring SNS ‘walks the talk’ in supporting staff in a way that is also strengths-based and person-centred.
What can you expect?
When you contact us for the first time we will take down some basic details to make sure we are the right service for you. We can often help people with brief enquiries and information over the phone, without you needing an appointment.
For people seeking appointments, we will try to get back to you within one business day to arrange a meeting to understand your needs and goals, get your consent for service delivery, and tell you about your rights and responsibilities.
If you have a particular issue that we aren’t qualified to assist with, we will give you advice and options about where you can get the right support for your issue.
If you have special requirements relating to your language, culture, pronouns, chosen name, identity or other characteristics, let us know and we will do our best to accommodate these.
Meet Our Team
Sapphire Neighbourhood Services is fortunate to have a diverse and multi-skilled team including a Service Manager, and numerous caseworkers and clinicians. All staff have tertiary qualifications, including some with postgraduate qualifications in social science disciplines including Counselling, Family Play Therapy, Aboriginal Health and Public Health. We prioritise the ongoing professional development of our team.
I am trained in several parenting and relationship programs such as, Circle of Security, Bringing up Great Kids (Australian Childhood Foundation), Stormbirds (Australian trauma informed natural disaster response program) and Love Bites (Healthy relationship program for young people). I also facilitate the Bega Playgroup and love supporting families in these early stages of development and assisting in forming meaningful relationships and connections.
I am currently completing my studies in Interplay Therapy, a humanistic attachment-based relationship therapy model to work therapeutically with children, young people and adults to assist in processing, healing and recovering from complex and ongoing trauma and early childhood experiences.
I also enjoy getting out into the community to deliver Love Bites – a Healthy Relationships program delivered to adolescents attending all the high schools throughout the Bega Valley. Currently I am completing a Graduate Certificate in Men’s Behaviour Change (MBC) – a nationally recognised qualification relating to domestic and family violence and along with James, am passionate about establishing the Bega Valley’s first MBC program.
SNS is governed by a Board of Directors who are volunteer representatives from our local community. The Board includes people with a wide range of expertise in areas relating to families, children, and local community needs. Some Board Members are founding members of the organisation.
Over the past few decades, SNS has established a strong reputation and close links with communities and service providers, including government and non-government organisations. The organisation continues to grow in terms of staff numbers, locations of operation, types of services offered, and the professional qualifications and expertise of the team.
Our current Board Members are:
Statement of Commitment to Child Safety
Sapphire Neighbourhood Services (SNS) is committed to providing an environment where children feel safe, are protected, and where their voices are heard about decisions that affect their lives. We support children’s empowerment, participation, inclusion, diversity and equality. We take children seriously when they raise concerns about their wellbeing, or when we see that they are being harmed in any way.
SNS believes that keeping children safe is everyone’s business. SNS follows a Child Safe Policy as well as the NSW Office of the Children’s Guardian’s Child Safe Standards. The Standards were developed by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse to help make sure institutions respond appropriately if children experience harm, and to prevent children from being exposed to future harm due to an institution’s culture, systems or processes.
The ten Child Safe Standards are:
1. Child safety is embedded in organisational leadership, governance and culture
2. Children participate in decisions affecting them and are taken seriously
3. Families and communities are informed and involved
4. Equity is upheld and diverse needs are taken into account
5. People working with children are suitable and supported
6. Processes to respond to complaints of child abuse are child focused
7. Staff are equipped with the knowledge, skills and awareness to keep children safe through continual education and training
8. Physical and online environments minimise the opportunity for abuse to occur
9. Implementation of the Child Safe Standards is continuously reviewed and improved
10. Policies and procedures document how the organisation is child safe
The Standards provide a framework for organisations to create a culture of safety and inclusion, and develop strategies to keep children safe from harm.