This article, published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, investigates the relative amount of funded awarded by Australian government research agencies to research focused on parenting interventions. The article found that in the period from 2011 to 2020, only 0.25 per cent of the total research budget allocated by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and the Australian Research Council (ARC) was allocated to parenting intervention research. This low funding commitment is out of step with the high positive impacts of improved parenting for children.
A waitlist intervention for transgender young people and psychosocial outcomes
This article, published in Pediatrics, investigates the impact of the First Assessment Single-Session Triage clinic, a waitlist intervention and demand management model of care for transgender young people and their families waiting to access specialist gender services. The study found that compared with a control group, transgender young people supported by this model experienced improvements in depression and quality of life.
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.
An analysis of the intersecting factors and needs that informed the experiences of young people transitioning from out of home care in the Australian states of Victoria and Western Australia
This Australian study interviewed individuals with lived experience of out-of-home care to understand their transition to independent living, focusing on stable housing. It highlights the reliance on specialist housing services and recommends extending care support to age 25 and improving transition planning. The findings are relevant to practitioners, informing their work with young people in out-of-home care and guiding efforts to address housing and support needs during the transition to independent living.
Child protection contact among children of culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds: A South Australian linked data study
This Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health study provides valuable insights for practitioners in child and family services. It examines child protection contact among culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) children in South Australia and reveals a higher likelihood compared to non-CALD children. Practitioners can benefit from this research as it emphasises the importance of targeting support within the child protection system to address the specific challenges that CALD children and their families face.
COVID-19: Impact on children living in out-of-home care and their carers
The Australian Journal of Social Issues published a paper on the impacts of COVID-19 on children in out-of-home care and their carers. Findings show negative effects on education, social life, and physical activity for children, but improved relationships within living arrangements. Carers reported challenges in maintaining relationships with birth families and accessing support networks.
Foster caring as ‘professional parenting’: A grounded theory of the relationships between parent and professional in long-term foster care
This article in Adoption and Fostering, valuable for practitioners, examines the dual roles of foster parents as parents and professionals. It provides insights into the challenges and evolution of their self-perception, highlighting the importance of understanding and supporting the complex dynamics within foster care.
Gender differences in reading and numeracy achievement across the school years
This Australian Education Reseacher study details patterns in male and female achievement on the NAPLAN reading and numeracy test across school years. The study highlights gender discrepancies and potential causes.
Healing Trauma and Loss and Increasing Social Connections: Transitions from Care and Early Parenting
This Monash University research article engages qualitative data from service practitioners to help identify factors that can lead out-of-home care leavers to become parents before age 21. Some key themes included feelings of loss and isolation and poor sex education with implications for service practitioners.
How COVID-19 Is Placing Vulnerable Children at Risk and Why We Need a Different Approach to Child Welfare
In this journal article, Herrenkohl et al. explain how the vulnerabilities for many children that are exacerbated by COVID-19 reinforce the need for systemic change within statutory child welfare systems and the benefits that would accrue by implementing a continuum of services that combine universal supports with early intervention strategies. This article also focuses on promising approaches consistent with goals for public health prevention and draw out ideas related workforce development and cross-sector collaboration.
How do leaders enable and support the implementation of evidence-based programs and evidence-informed practice in child welfare? A systematic literature review
This article, published in Human Service Organizations: Management, Leadership & Governance, explores how leaders in child welfare organisations can best support the implementation of evidence-based approaches to deliver ‘what works’ to improve outcomes for children and families. A systematic review identified 12 articles and finds that leaders achieve this by providing vision, cultivating organisational culture, proactive planning and investment, developing capabilities, and maintaining relationships required to enable implementation.
Indigenous services leading the way for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care
This article in Social Work Education highlights the importance of Indigenous-led out-of-home care services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families. Based on qualitative research, it provides ten directives to non-Indigenous stakeholders, offering guidance on managing mistrust, combating racism, and empowering Indigenous voices. This valuable resource informs practitioners about the need for culturally sensitive and inclusive approaches in supporting Indigenous communities within the child protection system.
Infant-led Research: Privileging Space to See, Hear, and Consider the Subjective Experience of the Infant
In this article, Wendy Bunston, Margarita Frederico and Mary Whiteside present a novel “infant-led” qualitative research methodology which foregrounds the subjective experiences of infants, rather than those their parents and carers. This methodology is nonintrusive and has much to offer social workers working with infants in high risk situations in community, health, and mental health settings.
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.
Looked after children’s right to contact with birth parents: An Australian study
This study in Child and Family Social Work examines barriers to meaningful contact between children and birth parents, as identified by legal and social work practitioners in Queensland. The study reveals four key themes: system-driven responses, poor relationships and mistrust, lack of culturally responsive practice, and exclusion of parents from the consultation process. The findings provide valuable insights for practitioners working to improve contact arrangements for children and their birth parents.
One year into COVID-19: What have we learned about child maltreatment reports and child protective service responses?
This article published in Child Abuse and Neglect by researchers from around the world investigates children’s risk for maltreatment during the COVID-19 pandemic by examining child maltreatment reports and child protective services responses across 12 regions. The research found that the pandemic has caused disruption to in-person services which has had substantial negative impacts on the operation of child protective services across all countries included in the study.
Parents’ experiences with child protection during pregnancy and post-birth
The study in Child and Family Social Work examines Australian parents' experiences with child protection during pregnancy and post-birth. It reveals the trauma of baby removal and suggests improvements such as increased support, better communication, and consideration of changing circumstances by child protective services.
Patterns of homelessness and housing instability and the relationship with mental health disorders among young people transitioning from out-of-home care: Retrospective cohort study using linked administrative data
This research article uses multiple government departments' data investigating the relationship between out-of-home care leavers and homelessness. This report recommends a multidisciplinary, holistic and collaborative approach to housing pathways for the care-leaving population.
Policies are needed to increase the reach and impact of evidence‑based parenting supports: A call for a population‑based approach to supporting parents, children, and families
While not a research study, this article authored by members of the Parenting and Families Research Alliance and published by Child Psychiatry & Human Development, provides a useful overview of the evidence for effective parenting interventions. The authors found that for parents and carers, the benefits of evidence-based parenting supports include improved wellbeing and mental health, positive relationships with their child, and enhanced skills, knowledge and confidence. For children and adolescents, the benefits of these programs include improved wellbeing and mental health, skills and competencies, and better academic attainment. The authors call for wider availability of evidence-based supports at a population level.
Potential indirect impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on children: A narrative review using a community child health lens
This narrative review by researchers from the Centre for Community Child Health and the University of Melbourne synthesises the existing research from previous pandemics and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic about their indirect impacts on children. The research identified 11 impact areas under three broad categories: child-level factors (poorer mental health, poorer child health and development, poorer academic achievement); family-level factors that affect children (poorer parent mental health, reduced family income and job losses, increased household stress, increased abuse and neglect, poorer maternal and newborn health); and service-level factors that affect children (school closures, reduced access to health care, increased use of technology for learning, connection and health care).
Quality of School Life – Adventure (Motivation) subscale (QSL)
The QSL measures primary-school-aged students’ perceptions towards school against three dimensions, 1) general satisfaction with school 2) commitment to school work 3) attitudes towards teachers. Learn more about the QSL
Research ethics in practice: challenges of using digital technology to embed the voices of children and young people within programs for fathers who use domestic violence
This paper from Katie Lamb, Cathy Humphreys and Kelsey Hegerty (University of Melbourne) discusses the ethical challenges of using digital technology to conduct qualitative research with children in the family violence space. It focuses on a study was undertaken in Victoria, which used a combination of interviews, focus groups and digital storytelling. While digital storytelling proved to be an effective method of engaging children and young people in the research, a range of challenging ethical issues emerged - both in the formal 'procedural ethics' process, and related to the complex issues of anonymity and safety considerations in practice.
This article describes the School Attitudes Assessment Survey - Revised (SAAS-R). This survey is a validated instrument used to measure the attitudes of adolescents toward school and teachers as well as their goal-valuation, motivation and academic self-perceptions. It is also used to explore below average academic achievement in high school students.
Supporting children’s mental health in primary schools: A qualitative exploration of educator perspectives
This Australian Educational Researcher journal article provides insights into the experience of primary school educators' capability in supporting their student's mental health in schools. The research indicates an integrated approach across schools and healthcare providers when supporting children's mental health.
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 Australian Child Maltreatment Study: National prevalence and associated health outcomes of child abuse and neglect
The Medical Journal of Australia published the Australian Child Maltreatment Study, surveying over 8,500 Australians aged 16-65. It highlights widespread child maltreatment in Australia and its links to mental disorders, health risk behaviours, and conditions. This study is relevant for practitioners, offering insights into prevalence and impact while emphasising the importance of primary prevention and urgent action.
The impacts of COVID-19 on LGBTQ+ foster youth alumni
This International Journal of Child Abuse and Neglect study analysed survey data from young people with lived experience of the foster care system about the effects COVID-19 had on many life outcomes. The study highlights the impact on LGBTQIA+ young people with recommendations for extra support while transitioning out of OOHC.
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.
The pathways between natural disasters and violence against children: A systematic review
This article, published in BMC Health, examines the pathways between natural disasters and violence against children using a systematic review process. The study found five pathways between natural disasters and violence against children, including: environmentally induced changes in supervision, accompaniment, and child separation; transgression of social norms in post-disaster behaviour; economic stress; negative coping with stress; and insecure shelter and living conditions. The findings are intended to inform targeted prevention services.
Where is the village? Care leaver early parenting, social isolation and surveillance bias
This article, published in the International Journal on Child Maltreatment, investigates care leaver early parenting in Victoria, Australia. The researchers interviewed service providers to gather insight into the factors that lead to a high prevalence of early parenting among care leavers, and the services that are available and necessary to assist young parents and their children. The study found that care leavers experience unique challenges arising from their care experience that impact their means to safely raise children, necessitating improved transition supports and parenting supports.
“Your behaviour has consequences”: Children and young people’s perspectives on reparation with their fathers after domestic violence
This paper from Katie Lamb, Cathy Humphreys and Kelsey Hegarty (University of Melbourne) presents ﬁndings from qualitative research undertaken in Australia with children and young people who have experienced domestic violence aged 9 to 19 years. It explores children and young people's perspectives on fathering in the context of domestic violence as well as the key messages they believe fathers who attend a program to address their violence need to know. This paper will focus on some of the ﬁndings of the study, with a particular focus on the issue of reparation which was identiﬁed as a strong theme in children and young people's accounts.