December 15, 2022 – 12:30pm-2pm


Final 2022 OPEN Forum: Innovations in Out of Home Care

The final OPEN Forum of 2022 focussed on Innovations in Out of Home Care – Improving the lives of children and young people who are experiencing the care system for the first time, are living in residential care, or those with a lived experience and in contact with allied support services. Presentations explored different approaches to providing support from wraparound place based support, to an implementation science approach making house level changes, to lived experience designed professional development.


  • The Care Hub – an innovative model of collaborative practice: Jo Farelly and Michael Oerlemans from Anglicare (Loddon)
  • Improving Care Initiative: Alex Sutton and Dylan Langley (DFFH)
  • Empathy & Action: Learning from Care Leavers: Reggie Chang (the Centre)

Read more below!

Watch the full recording here

Key messages:

Programs that seek to improve outcomes for children and young people in Out of Home Care require organisations to have:

  • Robust operational processes and procedures
  • Clear operational and strategic governance
  • Strong internal and external sector and stakeholder engagement
  • Placing strong value the views of those with a lived experience

Presentation title: The Care Hub – An innovative model of collaborative practice

Speaker: Jo Farelly and Michael Oerlemans from Anglicare (Loddon)

At a glance

The Care Hub is a pilot program funded by DFFH that commenced in October 2021 to explore early multidisciplinary intervention and rapid reunification for children and families experiencing first time entries into care, or stabilising placements where reunification is not possible.

Anglicare Victoria leads the multidisciplinary approach of a ‘virtual hub’, which involves seven agencies who provide wrap-around support for young people and families who are coming into contact with the care system for the first time. Support is provided in a 6 week placement through either short term foster care or short term residential care, or 12 week outreach support to reunify and/or stabilise placement.

Outcomes have been positive with early evidence of increased stability of placement and reunification.


Presentation title: Improving Care Initiative: a partnership between DFFH, Safer Care Victoria, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, supported by people with a lived experience, tested the use of Improvement Science to improve the experiences of children and young people in residential care.

Speakers: Alex Sutton and Dylan Langley

At a glance

12 Improvement teams from 10 different residential care providers, from across the Western Region of Victoria, supported by the Institute of Healthcare Improvement’s Model for Improvement, led this initiative to improve outcomes and experiences for children and young people in residential care.

The ‘Model for Improvement’ is a tool for accelerating improvement by asking three key questions:

  • What are we trying to accomplish, and for whom?
  • How will we know a change is an improvement?
  • What changes can we make that will result in improvement?

Within the model for improvement, there is a built in ‘Plan, Do, Study, Act’ cycle that encourages an ongoing continuous improvement cycle to implement and test changes.

Perspectives of people with a lived experience of residential care were embedded across all aspects of the project, including the foundational workshop, the Steering Committee, designing and delivery of workshops, and continuous participation within the Improvement Teams.

Four key areas were identified as areas of priority action, with two areas being the focus of this phase of the project; ‘safe house environment’ and ‘child, young person and family centred placement’.

Outcomes have been promising and shifts have started to be seen in family reunification, reduced incidents involving young people and greater engagement of young people in the handover process. Staff report feeling more empowered to try ideas, and have clear aims for their team, increased recognition of the importance of focussing on ‘the little things’ and value the methodology. The program has also identified that the voices of children and young people are crucial to the success of the initiative which within residential care settings requires a tailored approach. Data reporting burden and staff time and consistency posed challenges to the program.

Presentation slides: Improving Care Initiative – OPEN Forum


Presentation title: Empathy & Action: Learning from Care Leavers: learnings from a lived experience consultant, in designing and delivering professional development for practitioners supporting young people with a care experience

Speakers: Reggie Chang, Lived Experience consultant from the Centre

At a glance

The Empathy and Action: Learning from care leavers workshops were developed by a group of lived experience experts to improve workers’ understanding of the experience of young people with an experience of Out of Home Care, and what skills and attributes young people are looking for in a worker and service.

The Program was developed to raise awareness of service providers of the experiences and needs of young people with experience of OHC seeking services. The workshop is delivered to professionals who aren’t typically familiar with the out of home care sector, to improve their ability to support young people with a care experience and understand what it means to transition from care.

Developing and delivering programs with young people with lived experience requires flexibility and patience to accommodate external commitments to study and work, creativity to engage diverse young people with lived experience and clear expectations including appropriate renumeration, timeframes and employee rights.

The workshops have been very well received with feedback from participants including:

  • ‘Excellent reflective questions for discussion and teamwork between Rosie and Reggie. Great balance between stories, statistics and personal experiences. Only positive feedback!’
  • ‘It’s tough to get participation on Zoom, but I think they did an excellent job. The whole workshop was interesting, varied and interactive. A heartfelt thank you.’
  • ‘Thank you so much Reggie and Rosie for your expertise and generosity. I learnt the importance of connecting with, and being present with young people as they leave care’

To find out when the next Empathy and Action workshop is or learn more about other training offerings from The Center, register for free here

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