Better Chances Forum

The BCF is working to reduce the number of children and young people in out of home care (OOHC) in Northern NSW, which following a decrease from over 1000 in 2014 to 877 in 2015 has increased again to 963 children and young people in OOHC in 2017.

The BCF Steering Group meets every two months to drive the Forum. The steering group includes members from across relevant community service networks and groups across the region (including from the health and education sectors). Membership is open to any group or individual who supports the purpose of the Better Chances Forum.

In NSW, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people are more than 10 times as likely as other children to be in statutory OOHC. Nationally, in the 20 years following the Bringing Them Home Report in 1997, representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children increased from one in every five children in OOHC to one in every three (Family Matters Report 2017). In Northern NSW, 409 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children were living in OOHC in 2017 representing 42.5 per cent of total numbers.

Understanding how the broader community services sector can work more supportively alongside Aboriginal workers, organisations and communities is key focus of the BCF. The steering group acknowledges the importance of culture to wellbeing for children, young people, and their families and communities, particularly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, and will work to reflect this in the approach and focus of the Forum’s activities.

Please download the BCF Terms of Reference here:


About Better Chances Forum

The Better Chances Forum (BCF) supports better chances for children, young people and their families by bringing together workers from organisations across the Northern Rivers to:

  • explore service system challenges, gaps and opportunities
  • identify and share information about what’s working well and what’s not in our services and communities
  • consider how BCF members can work better alongside communities.

Katrina Ross – Project Officer Social Strategy
phone: 0416 277 244, email: [email protected]

Better Chances Regional Forum 2019

13 June 2019

Lennox Head Community and Cultural Centre

If there was one thing you would like to see done differently to offer better chances for children, young people and their families in Northern NSW what would it be?

What is happening in your community or your service that is making a real difference?

The Better Chances regional forum at Lennox Head Cultural and Community Centre on 13 June 2019 is focusing on the skills, support and relationships we need to do better. It’s an opportunity to challenge ourselves as workers, managers and organisations in community, health and education services, and as community members, families and commissioning agencies (funders), to think about what we need to do differently. What support do we need in our work to operate in a more trauma-sensitive way?

The BCF steering group is calling for proposals for papers, presentations, workshops and other activities at our 2019 regional forum. Proposals can come from within Northern NSW and beyond and need to respond to at least three of the criteria outlined below.

Please click the download button for more information and to submit your proposal. 



Working Together

– an initiative of the Better Chances Forum and NSW Department of Education

Working Together is a joint initiative of the Better Chances Forum (BCF) and NSW Department of Education (Public Schools), connecting schools in the Northern Rivers Region with community service providers. The initiative started in 2017 with networking events connecting BCF members with NSW Department of Education Schools Services staff in Tweed Shire, and later in Lismore and Clarence Valley.  Two more events were held in Tweed and Lismore in 2018.


In 2019 Better Chances Forum and NSW Department of Education progressed to hosting a Working Together events connecting school principals directly with local and regional services. The first of these speed dating events was held on 20 February at Coraki Public School. Twenty-one principals from the Lennox Coast Principals network connected with 35 workers from 23 local and regional services. Following the success of this event another is planned for Richmond in May.

Supporting Aboriginal early childhood workers

In 2018 the BCF steering group was asked to consider how we can better support Aboriginal early childhood workers to come together, support each other in their work and feedback collective to the broader sector through BCF about how mainstream services can work more supportively alongside them.


Aboriginal Early Childhood workers are often the first people families turn to for support when their children are at risk of removal. Planning for an initial strengthening day is underway supported by BCF and BCF members YWCA and Northcott.

Program resources

Getting the right support at the right time

Read the BCF submission on the Their Futures Matter Reform



The NSW Government Their Futures Matter reform is looking to reshape the access system so children, young people and their families get the right support at the right time. We need to invest earlier, improve accountability, consistency and coordination, and focus on how we can connect everyone approaching services with at least some form of support. If we are to function successfully as a trauma responsive system our funding contracts need to allow for the flexibility to do this. It needs to be reflected in our funding, program performance measures and our practice.


Related programs and services

Remembering Sorry Day …

... and the impact of the Stolen Generations on all Aboriginal people in Australia. Our thoughts are with our staff, our participants, our wider communities and their loved ones. We remember and honour Elders past, present and those who are yet to come. Sorry Day has...

read more

Patricia puts the circus behind her

The circus in Patricia's head started when she was a small child growing up in Sydney.  “Even before I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder I always knew something was wrong,” she says. “When I was very young I used to take days off school because I felt unwell, and...

read more

From hobby sketching to the Archibald Prize

When Zion Levy Stewart first started sketching people who visited his family home at age 20, everyone thought it might help him pass the time. Twenty years on, this National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participant was an entrant in this year's 2019 Archibald...

read more

Social Futures joins Everybody’s Home

Social Futures is now an Everybody's Home Campaign partner Everybody's Home is led by leading housing associations and homelessness providers. It is calling on governments at all levels to: Support first home buyers Develop a National Housing Strategy Ensure a better...

read more

There’s no place like home

Just a few years ago, Tammy had reached the point of considering moving into supported accommodation due to the impact of her disability. The long-term Forbes resident was increasingly isolated and incapacitated by Devic’s disease, caused by the inflammation and...

read more

Free skate, scooter and BMX clinics in GRAFTON

Get OFF THE WALL this week with FREE skate, scooter and BMX clinics at Grafton Skate Park! WHEN?  FROM 2-4.30pm on Tuesday 16 April - BMX Wednesday 17 April - Scooter Thursday 18 April - Skate WHERE? Grafton Skate Park Limited spaces, book your places! Call Sonya 0427...

read more

Zac’s change of scenery pays off

When Zac Oatley moved to Yamba on NSW's North Coast with his family two years ago it was the start of a new life in more ways than one. Not only was it a change of scenery from his native Queensland, it was also the start of his National Disability Insurance Scheme...

read more

Budget underwhelming for Northern Rivers residents

Social Futures CEO Tony Davies has welcomed the Federal Budget announcement that $527.9 million has been set aside for the proposed Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People With a Disability – but says there is little else to celebrate...

read more

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This