December 4, 2020

Fostering strong evidence informed practice and decision making

The Learning System grants, funded by DHHS, and administered by OPEN, CFECFW, are seed grants provided to sector organisations to deliver projects which build their capacity and develop, apply and share evidence and transferable learning.

The Learning Systems Grants are a key support to progress the recommendations of the Roadmap to Reform through strengthening the sector’s use and development of evidence and fostering a sector wide learning system where outcomes are measured and children and family services are continually evaluated, refined and improved, translated and shared to build the knowledge base across the sector.

The Learning System Grants commenced in 2017, and are now in their third year, with 28 projects funded to date. Projects funded in the first and second years are almost complete. An Outcomes report will be prepared in 2021 about their achievements.

Projects funded this year, have been recently announced and are about to commence. Our third year of projects are diverse and include projects which focus on participatory approaches to capture client voice, particularly children and young people and those which focus on client-centred approaches to design innovative interventions and develop/implement outcomes and practice frameworks.

All the projects will be supported over the next 12 months by the Outcomes, Practice and Evidence Network (OPEN).

Introducing four of our new LSG projects

In the following section, we introduce four of our new LSG projects which aim to improve practice at the program level by designing or testing a new idea or adding a new element to an existing intervention. Congratulations to:

  • Caroline Chisholm Society: MotherCare – Designing an evidence-based approach when working with unborn reports
    • This project, undertaken in partnership with University of Melbourne, Victoria University and the University of Newcastle, aims to improve practice and strengthen practitioner capability to respond to the phenomenon of ‘unborn’ reports, wherein some mothers are at risk of having their babies removed from their care at birth.  Using a case-study approach, the project will analyse practitioners’ experiences reflecting the real-life context of expectant mothers who are at risk of being reported to child protection.


  • Kids First: the KODY project: Developing an all-of-family intervention at the intersections of DFV and AOD
    • This project, undertaken in partnership with Odyssey House Victoria and University of Melbourne, aims to evaluate the pilot of an adaptation of the Caring Dads program. The pilot will intervene with men who misuse AOD and use violence, provide support to their children and their mothers and develop a suite of process and outcome measures for the evaluation. The team will particularly focus on capturing the voices of children to inform the evaluation and future modifications of the program.


  • MacKillop Family Services: Developmental Evaluation of the Therapeutic Adolescent Family Violence Specialist (TAFVS) Pilot Program
    • The project, undertaken in partnership with RMIT, will implement the TAFVS Program a relational therapeutic outreach program for adolescents aged 10-17 who are using or are at risk of using family violence in the home or in a dating context. It will then undertake a developmental evaluation of the implementation of the program to promote learning and adapt and improve the program through the course of the pilot period.


  • The Bridge Youth Service: Step UP+; Addressing Adolescent
    • The project focuses on filling a gap identified while delivering the Step-Up program by providing a 1-on-1 therapeutic intervention for young people who are using violence in the home. The team will implement and measure the effectiveness of Emotional Regulation and Impulse Control (ERIC), an evidence-based program which is predicted to improve executive functioning of young people and parent/family relationships. The project will also include a capacity building element involving the training of staff in the ERIC model.

Congratulations once again to our recipients and we look forward to hearing of their progress and lessons as they deliver their projects. We will report these through the OPEN News as work progresses.

In the meantime, our next OPEN news will introduce OPEN members to the remaining five LSG recipients. We will also report on the lessons captured during a LSG  ‘Kick Off 2020’ session in early December aimed at bringing together all the grant recipients for a learn and share opportunity.

Stay tuned!