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Please help us save Dalwood Spilstead Service (again!)

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Instead of being ROLLED BACK, the DSS model needs to be ROLLED OUT!!! 

The Dalwood Spilstead Service has for years been attempting to convince policy-makers of the value of its model via formal research, advocacy, consultation and parent testimony to no avail. 


They have been repeatedly dismissed  for a plethora of reasons including:

  1. Based in Northern Sydney families must have a lower level of need. 

  2. It must be more expensive.

  3. Its not scalable

  4. The research doesn’t include randomized control trials (RCTs.).

  5. It doesn’t fit nicely into one government department.

Al these excuses have been refuted:

  1. Referrals from DCJ around NSW are screened for the same level of risk, therefore level of family need is independently assessed and uniform around the state.

  2. The cost effectiveness has been demonstrated over many years and relates to:

    • Monetization of staff retention.

    • Critical mass of clients accessing programs.

    • Reduced brokerage for private services and therapies.

  3. The model has been replicated elsewhere – successfully for 10 years.

  4. Professor Ted Melhuish, leading expert from Oxford University explained during his review of the model in 2014 that due to the extensive research around the world outlining the clear negative trajectory of the children referred any positive change in direction as a result of intervention is understood as evidence-based. He finalized his review by stating that “there would appear to be a powerful case for extending the Dalwood Spilstead model more widely across NSW, and indeed Australia.” 

  5. Government silos are well understood to be less productive and effective.


This snub is being repeated again as the DCJ minister has just released her Redesigning Family Preservation in NSW discussion paper here.


Why isn’t the DSS model which has been locally designed, researched and internationally acclaimed as world’s best practice not been included as one of the recommended models to be considered for the new look DCJ service across the state?


Unfortunately as is often the way in Australia, this government seems to be  disregarding an evidence-based model at their doorstep in preference for programs trialled overseas.


Instead of being ROLLED BACK, the DSS model needs to be ROLLED OUT!!! 


Service 70% of the service at Dalwood will be lost in July 2024

25 families can be helped rather than approximately 100

The award winning service will be replaced by an NG0

They offer 25% of current services compared to Dalwood

Protester Shouting



In the realm of child welfare, the importance of consistent support for at-risk children and families cannot be overstated.


According to the Department of Community and Justice, their recommissioning process involves focusing on weekly home visits for the most vulnerable, at-risk children and families.


Consensus and public opinion believe “It takes a village to raise a child” not isolation.

Together we can stand in solidarity to ensure no child is left behind.

Please share this information handout



Minister for Family & Communities

To express your concerns why Dalwood Spilstead Service has lost funding/referrals and to advocate for the immediate reinstatement of vital services.


Our collective voices have the power to enact meaningful change and create a brighter future for all.

Please find a draft letter below & send to

GPO Box 5341





  • Immediate return of funding and referrals to Dalwood Spilstead Service from the Department of Communities and Justice

  • Ability for Dalwood Spilstead Service to apply in future for funding not just existing NGOs 

  • Independent audit for DCJ recommissioning process as to why NGOs with poor outcomes continue to keep funding (30% completion rate compared to 70% at Dalwood Spilstead Service)

  • Vote of No Confidence with NSW Health in Managing Dalwood & Formation of Trust with benefactors & community involvement for protection of this unique service.


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