The Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) has released this report outlining the results of a study into the service delivery pathways for young people transitioning from out-of-home care and the available opportunities to improve transition planning and housing outcomes. The study analysed linked administrative for all Victorian care leavers in 2013 and 2014 and found that smooth transitions are the exception, with most transitions resulting in housing instability, homelessness and other adverse outcomes. The report includes a range of policy development options.
Allegations of child sexual abuse: An empirical analysis of published judgements from the Family Court of Australia 2012-2019
This article, published in the Australian Journal of Social Issues, analyses data from Family Court of Australia judgements containing allegations of child sexual abuse. The study found that judges expressed or implied a belief that the allegations were true in only 14 per cent of fully contested cases, and risk of sexual harm to a child was found in only 12 per cent of fully contested cases. The study also found that parenting time with the allegedly unsafe parent was increased in 63 per cent of fully contested cases.
Clinical, financial and social impacts of COVID-19 and their associations with mental health for mothers and children experiencing adversity in Australia
This multi-authored article, published in PLOS One, examines families’ experiences of COVID-19 impacts and the associations between COVID-19 impacts and maternal and child mental health. The authors surveyed 319 mothers from Victoria and Tasmania who had experienced adversity during pregnancy in 2013-14, and found high rates of self-quarantine, job or income loss, family stress and difficulty managing home learning. Poorer mental health for mothers and children was found to be associated with self-quarantine, financial hardship and family stress.
Compliance with and enforcement of family law parenting orders: Views of professionals and judicial officers
Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety (ANROWS) has released this report examining the factors that influence non-compliance with parenting orders. The report contains findings from the first of a four-part research program and draws on the survey responses of 343 professionals who work with separated parents and interviews with judicial officers. A key finding was that non-compliance arises from a complex range of factors including family violence and safety concerns, child-related issues, circumstances where parents’ behaviour is seen as particularly difficult, orders that are seen as unworkable, and the existence of a contravention regime that is widely regarded as ineffective.
Do violent teens become violent adults? Links between juvenile and adult domestic and family violence
This paper from the Australian Institute of Criminology examines the offending pathways of 8,465 young people aged 13-17 who had been proceeded against for at least one juvenile offence. The study followed these young people until age 23 and found that young people who had been proceeded against for at least one domestic and family violence (DFV) offence were much more likely than other offenders to become adult DFV offenders and that they reoffended more frequently.
Future-proofing safety: The organisational case studies report
The Centre for Family Research and Evaluation at Drummond Street, Good Shepherd and GenWest have released this interactive report detailing three organisational case studies that explore family violence service data before and during COVID-19 in 2020-21 to increase understand of how family violence presentations changed in the context of the pandemic. The report presents findings relating to demographics, comparisons to pre-COVID and organisational response. A key finding was that Good Shepherd experienced a 51 per cent increase in the number of clients receiving family violence case management.
Intervention programme for fathers who use domestic and family violence: Results from an evaluation of Caring Dads
This article, published in Child & Family Social Work, presents the findings of an evaluation of Caring Dads, a Men’s Behaviour Change Program trialled in two Australian locations. The study had a small sample size (40 fathers and 17 mothers) however findings aligned with previous evaluations of the program. The evaluation found positive improvements for mothers in their self-perceived level of safety, experiences of domestic and family violence, and in respectful communication.
ANROWS and the Australian Domestic and Family Violence Death Review Network have released this national data analysis report investigating the prevalence of, and characteristics and dynamics that precede, an IPV homicide. A key finding was that of the 311 IPV homicides examined, there were at least 172 children under the age of 18 who survived the homicide involving one, or both, of their parents.
The School of Social Science at the University of Queensland released this report in December 2021. The report details an empirical study of Keeping Families Together, a supportive housing pilot project for families with a young child experiencing multiple vulnerabilities. The project assisted 20 families and the study found that all families exited homelessness in to housing with 95 per cent maintaining their housing for the duration of the 12-month pilot. The project also achieved reduced interactions with child safety and 31 per cent of families with children in out-of-home care had children returned. The study identified a range of success factors.
Locked out: Vaccination discrimination for children and young people with disability
This report from the Public Service Research Group at the University of New South Wales and Children and Young People with Disability Australia (CYDA) used survey data to investigate the COVID-19 vaccination experiences of children and young people with disability. The study found that 62 per cent of respondents were parents or carers who experienced difficulties and barriers in vaccinating their child or children with disability. The report concludes that support to make sure that children with disability can access an appropriate vaccination experience is crucial to prevent high levels of severe disease.
Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand has released this report examining a cohort of people they have deemed ‘the new vulnerable’. This group experienced negative employment impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic that affected their household finances, resulting in many seeking support services for the very first time. Survey and interview data found that despite the level of need, this cohort found it difficult to seek support, with some respondents expressing reticence because they believed there were others in greater need. The findings suggest that levels of need are likely to persist for some time and attention must focus on addressing barriers to service access.
NSW carer support needs: Coping in the context of COVID-19
The Research Centre for Children and Families at the University of Sydney has released this report investigating the support needs of foster and kinship carers in 2020 arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. Among carers surveyed, 89 per cent had more support needs as a result of COVID-19. State-wide data from a telephone support service found that the most common support needs were related to family time or contact, education and specialist support. The report concludes with recommendations to improve responses during future crises.
OPEN Rapid Case Study-Service Integration Program-Jewish Care
This rapid case study showcases the work of the Service Coordination Program at Jewish Care, an ethno-specific organisation. The program uses culturally aware and trauma-informed support to cater to the diverse needs Jewish community members (generally under 65 years old) experiencing social and/or structural disadvantage.
OPEN Rapid Case Study-Tarrengower Prison Family Video Visits Pilot Program-VACRO
This rapid case study talks about a Family Video Visit Program by VACRO which facilitated a virtual connection between children and their incarcerated mothers. The program relieved children from the stress of visiting a prison and helped maintain the parent-child bond. This supported mothers in their reintegration journey after leaving the prison.
Telepractice in family work study: The pixelated experiences of workers and managers
This report from Southern Cross University explores the experiences of family workers and managers engaged in telepractice to develop understanding of family work using online technologies. The study finds that telepractice offers a range of benefits and drawbacks for clients and the workforce, suggesting it is suited to use within a suite of practice methods rather than as a replacement for face-to-face engagement.
Tensions in the therapeutic relationship: Emotional labour in the response to child abuse and neglect in primary healthcare
This study, published in BMC Primary Care, sought to understand how GPs and nurses experience the response to child abuse in primary healthcare. The study found that mandatory reporting obligations created significant emotional labour at the internal, organisational and systemic levels as participants struggled to maintain the therapeutic relationship. The article concludes with strategies that can be employed to reduce the labour burden, which can also be applied by other workforces with mandatory reporting obligations.
The journey to evidence: Adopting evidence-based programs in an Australian child welfare organization
This article published in Human Service Organizations: Management, Leadership & Governance outlines a case study on the adoption and implementation of evidence-based programs by OzChild. The case study draws on interviews with organisational leaders and managers to identify strategies, decision-making processes and challenges faced during the adoption of evidence-based programs.