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The Kids First Coaching Practice Framework

Kids First at Together with Families 2023

At Together with Families | Family Services Symposim 2023, Kids First Australia shared insights into their new Coaching Practice Framework, and the incredible results it’s yielding for their clients.

This past year has seen the way Kids First deliver Family Services support evolve in a profound way. Where traditionally, supporting families has involved ‘case management’ and coordinating services in a managed and systemic way, their practitioners identified that this way-of-working did not provide parents and families with everything they needed. They recognised an exciting opportunity to tailor the way they approach serving families, to empower parents with motivation and skills, building capacity to navigate the challenges they face.


Coaching vs Case Management

Driven by this insight, Kids First partnered with the Parenting Research Centre (PRC) to develop and implement a new Coaching Practice Framework. This systematic, six-stage approach shifted their way-of-working from a risk paradigm focused on risk identification, monitoring and mitigation of deficits, to a developmental approach grounded in identifying strengths, building aspirations, and discovering the untapped potential of every family. While changing established practices can be daunting, their Family Services team rose to the challenge – and their clients are now reaping the rewards of this new client-centric coaching framework.


Coaching with Compassion: Shamsa’s Story

A single mother of five children between the ages of nine and seventeen – including a youngest son with Level 3 non-verbal autism – Shamsa was, in her words, feeling ‘utterly hopeless’ when she connected with Kids First. Up to this point, her attempts to engage with the NDIS to advocate for support for her son had been fruitless, and Child Protection had become involved. With stress rising in the household, Shamsa’s mental health and her children’s wellbeing were greatly impacted. She felt like her family was fracturing. And then she met Natalie.

A member of the Kids First Family Services team, Natalie used the methodology set out in our Coaching Practice Framework to partner with Shamsa. Together, they developed a set of goals for the family, settled on strategies to support the children and her own wellbeing, and all the while Natalie listened to Shamsa, with empathy and without judgement, helping to build Shamsa’s capacity to self-advocate.

Natalie supported Shamsa to engage with her children’s school and other services, and secured access to aid and support that made the family’s home better equipped to meet their needs. Natalie also worked with Shamsa to choose future goals for her and her family.

Shamsa now says she feels ‘like the best mother (she) can be.’

Natalie describes Shamsa as ‘one of the most resilient people (she has) ever met.’

Child Protection is no longer involved in Shamsa’s life and her five children are thriving. Shamsa is starting her own haircare business. She’s also built a loyal following on social media, sharing lessons learned about motherhood and life.

This is just one example of the power of Kids First’s newly adopted Coaching Practice Framework, helping practitioners empower their clients to affect meaningful, lasting change.


The future is bright for Kids First Family Services clients

The Kids First Australia Values – Hope, Empowerment, Accountability, Respect and Trust – bind the organisation’s culture, purpose and vision. These values inform the way practitioners support their clients; with an attitude that change is not only possible, but achievable. The new Coaching Practice Framework embodies these values, and is the next evolution in Kids First’s ambition of centring the client voice to empower families, so that children and young people can thrive.



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