Introduction to CAFS

Child & Family Services Ballarat (CAFS) is a community services organisation that provides a range of programs and services to children, young people and families who are vulnerable or in need of support.

Who We Help

  • Children and Young People
  • Families
  • Men
  • Communities

Our goal is to give every individual the optimal opportunity to live in a safe and nurturing family.

We are governed by a Board drawn from the communities in which we serve and deliver a range of programs to support children, young people and families. These programs and services range from family counselling to homelessness assistance, men’s behavioural change programs and foster care.

With more than 195 staff and 200 volunteers in offices in Ballarat, Ararat, Bacchus Marsh and Daylesford, CAFS provides help and support to more than 6000 individuals and families each year across the Victorian Central Highlands region.

CAFS has a long history supporting families, dating back to 1865 with the Ballarat Orphanage and Ballarat Children’s Home. Although our programs and services have changed and expanded significantly since these early days, we are just as committed and passionate to helping children and families in need.

The CAFS key service areas are divided into the following:

  • Family and Early Childhood Services
  • Out of Home Care and Support Services
  • Homelessness Assistance and Community Services
  • Family Violence Intervention and Family Support Programs

Family and Early Childhood Services

CAFS aims to prevent the need for the removal of children and young people  from their families, and to promote positive family life and community connectedness. We work with parents and children in their homes when there is a concern for the wellbeing of a child, providing short-term or long-term intensive support.

Our programs and services are as follows:

  • Parenting Groups and Mentoring
  • Day Stay: Support and Education for Parents with Infants
  • Support for People from Diverse Cultural Backgrounds
  • Child FIRST Intake and Referral Service
  • Longer-term Support for Children and Families

Out of Home Care and Support Services

CAFS provides care and support for children and young people who have been removed from their families due to child safety concerns. We give these young people the chance to recover from the trauma they have suffered and help them reach their potential.

CAFS supports some 160 children up to 18 years of age, as well as their carers, every night of the week.

Our programs and services are as follows:

  • Foster Care
  • Residential Care
  • Kinship Care
  • Adoption and Permanent Care.

Family Violence Intervention and Family Support Programs

Children and young people often suffer due to conflict between parents. CAFS aims to prevent children being caught up in parental conflict by educating parents to consider their child’s needs, assisting men to change abusive behaviours, and by supporting family members through the stress of family breakdown.

In the 2014–15 financial year, these CAFS programs engaged with more than 2,000 family members.

Our programs and services are as follows:

  • Post-separation Cooperative Parenting
  • Men and Family Relationships
  • Men’s Behaviour Change
  • Court Counselling

Homelessness Assistance and Community Services

Families and individuals requiring assistance to overcome the effects of financial and housing crises are helped through this range of services. A lack of affordable housing and the increase in day-to-day living costs is putting people under a great deal of stress, which increases the need for these CAFS programs.

During the 2014–15 financial year, we provided assistance and support to more than 2,000 people.

Our programs and services are as follows:

  • Financial Counselling
  • Gambler’s Help, Community Education and Venue Support Program
  • No-interest Loans Scheme
  • Reconnect Youth Services
  • School-focused Youth Services
  • Homelessness Assistance Support

Child & Family Services Ballarat Inc. (CAFS) acknowledges the support of the Victorian Government.

Our Values: We Care


We understand and acknowledge the importance of knowledge and wisdom. Our people make sound professional judgements based on their expertise and experience. Our commitment to wisdom ensures that our people meet our required competency levels and, supported by a mandatory supervision regime, will continue to seek new ways to do things through continuous improvement, creativity and innovation for the benefit of those we serve.


We conduct our business in accordance with the highest standards of professional behavior and ethics ensuring we are transparent in all our interactions with our people, clients and stakeholders. We act with honesty and integrity.


We are committed to providing responsive quality services that help and improve the lives of the people and the communities in which we work and live. Our people and our organisation actively participates in the communities in which we live and work.


We accept our individual, team and organisational responsibilities ensuring we meet our commitments efficiently and effectively.


We treat our people, clients and stakeholders with mutual respect and sensitivity, recognising diversity, the worth and dignity of the individual and an individual’s right to privacy.


We value our people and empower them to make decisions, be creative and innovative and to take the initiative when required. We will provide our clients with the necessary skills to empower them to make life changing decisions.