Our priorities

  • Making sure the voices of children, young people and families are consistently captured and used to inform sector programs and approaches
  • Strengthening knowledge and skills so that our sector can create, share and use the best available evidence
  • Drawing on practice experience from across the sector to inform programs and approaches
  • Translating and disseminating diverse forms of knowledge so all can benefit and learn
  • Building practice-led research partnerships and collaborations to make sure research meets the needs of the service system.

Our background

The Victorian Government’s Roadmap for Reform identified the need for the sector to become a ‘learning system’, in which outcomes are measured and services are underpinned by the best available evidence. In 2017, OPEN was founded as a key component of the learning system to facilitate strong engagement and collaboration between researchers, service providers, practitioners and policy makers to address research priority areas set out in the Children and Families Research Strategy 2017-2019.

OPEN is a joint initiative, managed by the Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare and funded by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

It has grown from the highly successful Sector Research Partnership as the foremost partnership in Victoria between researchers and practitioners seeking to increase use of evidence-informed practice in the sector.

The OPEN portal

The OPEN portal fosters evidence-informed practice. It shares and showcases the integration of knowledge from research, practice and client experience and links users to a wide range of activities, practice resources and information.

Our work

OPEN provides:

  • Opportunities to build and share knowledge through communities of practice, forums and workshops
  • Support to strengthen the skills and knowledge of our workforce to deliver evidence-informed services
  • Access to events that explore innovative sector-led research ideas and collaborations
  • Access to expertise and support through the OPEN advisory service + IDEAS projects
  • Participation in our annual practice-research symposium to showcase collaborations in child and family services
  • Links to experts and a wide range of evidence-informed activities, practice resources and information to build, translate and share knowledge.

OPEN offers a range of opportunities, information and resources to anyone working with or on behalf of children, young people and families to achieve better outcomes, including service providers, policy makers, service users, program developers, researchers and evaluators.

To access OPEN opportunities become a member today, it’s free!

OPEN Steering Committee

The OPEN Steering Committee brings together representatives from the sector, policy makers and researchers to guide and shape OPEN and make sure that we deliver on our priorities.

Members of the OPEN Steering Committee include:

  • Beth Parker, Assistant Director, Office of Professional Practice, DHHS
  • Nicola Thomson, Acting Manager, Evidence Strategy, DHHS
  • Professor Cathy Humphreys, Professor of Social Work, University of Melbourne
  • Dr Christina Sadowski, Research Coordinator – Central Highlands Children and Youth Area Partnership (CHCYAP), Federation University Australia
  • Dana Pyne, Executive Manager, Victorian Aboriginal Children and Young People’s Alliance, Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO)
  • Dr Dave Vicary, State Manager, Baptcare
  • David Giles, Acting Principal Researcher, Anglicare Victoria
  • Emily McDonald, Director, Client Services, Kids First 
  • Kerry Brogan, Evaluation Manager, Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency (VACCA)
  • Dr Margaret Kertesz, Research Fellow, Social Work, University of Melbourne
  • Michelle Van Doorn, Executive Director of Services Victoria, OzChild
  • Dr Nick Halfpenny, Director Policy and Research, MacKillop Family Services
  • Dr Rebecca Giallo, Senior Research Fellow, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI)
  • Professor Rosemary Sheehan AM, Director, Higher Degrees by Research Programme, Department of Social Work, Monash University
  • Dr Tim Moore, Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Child Protection Studies, University of South Australia

We are grateful for the collective wisdom of our steering committee and also welcome your contribution to OPEN.

OPEN is delivered by

OPEN is supported by