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from a range of professionals, with the provision

of follow up arranged during the course of

our involvement. We like to work closely with
referrers and in most cases referring professionals
will continue to be involved with the family after
our involvement.
Points to Remember
The referred child is the primary client,
although it is common for more than one
child in a family to be referred. Any services
offered to other family members are aimed at
improving the mental health of the referred
client(s). Other family members become clients
only as this directly relates to the referred
child. Should family members require health
intervention for themselves then a referral to
another service can be arranged.
The family is defined as those persons with
whom the referred child lives. Other family
members such as non-custodial parents are
involved in the assessment and treatment
process to an extent appropriate to the
familys living environment and level of
contact with these family members.
Coral Tree generally does not become involved
until after family law court and custody issues
have been resolved.
Should a conflict of interest arise between
family members, CTFS will always put the
interests of the referred child first.
As a family friendly health environment, the
use of alcohol and non prescribed medications
is not permitted. If this is a concern please
discuss with allocated staff.
All families and staff have a right to a safe
environment, so violence is not acceptable.
If violence is one of the reasons for a child
being referred then this issue would be a
priority for development of strategies aimed
at managing this risk.
The clinical team at Coral Tree are all
professional staff and are mandatory
reporters with respect to child protection
legislation. This means we have to report to
the Department of Community Services any
concerns about risk of harm to children.
Coral Tree
Family Service
A unit of Northern Sydney Central Coast
Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service
Coral Tree Family Service
Badajoz Road
North Ryde 2113
Ph 02 9887 5830 fax 02 9887 2941
Where We Are Located:
Coral Tree Family Service
Badajoz Road
North Ryde 2113
Ph 02 9887 5830 fax 02 9887 2941
Who We Are and
Whom Do We Help?
Coral Tree Family Service is a clinical service
consisting of child psychiatrists, psychologists,
registered nurses, social workers, and other
mental health care professionals. We are
committed to providing a family orientated
mental health service for children with emotional
and behavioural difficulties from throughout
NSW. The service provides treatment to primary
school aged children whose difficulties are
generally long standing and have not improved
through less intensive interventions. Our
treatment is provided in the context of the childs
family or other consistent care givers.
There are two main components to Coral Tree:
1. Family Admissions
These are planned four night residential stays at
Coral Tree for the whole family, from Monday
through to Friday. All members of the family have
timetabled appointments which include being seen
as a family, individually and as parents, as well as
attending parenting groups and other activities.
We are able to provide an environment that allows
families an opportunity to explore alternative
ways of relating. Parents are encouraged to try
additional ways of coping with the challenge of
parenting and understanding and responding
to their childs particular needs. Up to 3 families
stay at Coral Tree each week creating a small
community with a shared purpose. Each family
agrees on their own goals and an allocated clinical
team works closely with the family in coaching and
assisting them work towards these goals. During
term time the primary school age children in each
family attend the special education program at the
onsite Arndell School. It is common for families to
return for a follow-up admission generally after a
period of several months.
2. School Placement
For local families where the child resides within 40
kms of Coral Tree and where there are substantial
concerns both at home and school, the child can
be referred for conjoint health and education
involvement. This service provides outpatient work
to the family approximately fortnightly while
the child attends a special education place at the
onsite Arndell School. If considered helpful and
once the family is engaged in therapeutic family
work, the child may be offered individual therapy.
This service is able to provide 12 places for
children up to and including year 4 and generally
provides treatment over a 6-18 month period. It
is generally expected that families who access this
service will also have a family admission prior to or
soon after acceptance.
What Should
Families Expect?
Every family is unique and we therefore strive
to treat each family according to their particular
needs, and with respect and sensitivity. We see
the childs family as those persons who are their
usual carers living in the same household, in
a reasonably stable configuration. All families
are assessed on an outpatient basis prior to
interventions being provided. For families living
in regional and country areas this may be done by
telehealth, a facility that provides video linkage.
These assessments provide an opportunity for
both the family and Coral Tree staff to meet
and discuss concerns as well as identifying if
our service is able to provide the appropriate
intervention best suited to the needs of your child
and family. We take a family focused approach
as the concerns and behavioural difficulties have
usually had an effect on everyone in the family.
We acknowledge that parents are experts in
knowing their own children and we strive to
work in partnership to help parents broaden
their range of skills/strategies for managing all of
their children. Once a family has been accepted
into the programme they have 2 allocated staff
members assigned to them, a care coordinator
and a clinician, who will provide family therapy
throughout a familys involvement with our
service. Other members of the team become
involved as necessary and may see family
members individually and run groups. An
individualised treatment plan is then developed
that includes input from all family members as
well as Coral Tree staff, with a strong focus on
setting and achieving goals. The child is actively
recruited into the process so their experience,
fears and wishes can be considered, and so they can
become active collaborators in therapeutic change.
What Should
Referrers Expect?
As a specialised service, families are usually
referred after local interventions have been
trialled. For this reason Coral Tree requires that
the referral be made by a professional working
in health, education or welfare. We request that
all referrals be initiated by a call to the service
to speak to an Intake Officer on (02) 9887 5830.
Following discussion regarding appropriateness,
local service involvement and timeframes,
Intake Forms are sent out to gather specific
information. Once these forms are received the
family is seen for a brief assessment. For Family
Admissions, referrals are accepted from a range
of professionals, but to ensure continuity of care
following our brief intervention, a local clinical
service needs to be involved with the child and
family before and after the familys admission. It
is preferred that this service makes the referral.
For school placement, referrals are accepted