In 2022, the Australian Human Rights Commission surveyed 4,559 children aged 9-17 and 2,796 parents and guardians across Australia to better understand the challenges that COVID-19 have posed to children’s wellbeing and mental health. Key findings are detailed in the report which also makes eight further recommendations.
Australian country report – “Never waste a crisis”: Domestic and family violence policy and practice initiatives in response to COVID-19
Australia’s Research Organisation for Women’s Safety (ANROWS) and the University of Melbourne have released this Australian country report, one of four country reports as part of the DAHLIA-19 study, examining prevention strategies and responses to domestic and family violence during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic and up until June 2021. The study found evidence that policy and funding strategies resulted in increased collaboration and communication, more multiagency working, leveraging of existing relationships and more efficient decision-making processes.
The AIHW has released its latest biennial report on Australia’s welfare. The report includes chapters on the impact of COVID-19 on health and wellbeing, an overview of Australia’s welfare, current welfare services and supports, how Australia is faring compared to other countries, and the importance of welfare data. A key finding is that Australian and state and territory governments spent $195.7 billion on welfare related services in 2019–20. The AIHW website contains further data insights, welfare snapshots and interactive welfare indicators.
Checking in with children and young people on the impacts of COVID-19: Lockdowns 5 & 6
This snapshot report from the Commission for Children and Young People (CCYP) investigates children’s and young people’s experiences during Victoria’s fifth and sixth lockdowns in the second half of 2021. Themes include struggles with poor mental health, concerns about the future and educational impacts.
Checking in with children and young people: Lockdown 4
UNICEF Australia has released this report sharing the findings of the third phase of research into children and young people’s lived experience through the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia. The report found that young people aged 13-17 years view climate change and unemployment and limited job prospects as the greatest threats to the future wellbeing and livelihood of children and young people in Australia. The report includes a platform for action that calls on government to respond to the concerns of young people.
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.
Clusters of COVID-19 impact: Identifying the impact of COVID-19 on young Australians in 2021
This collaborative piece by Orygen and Mission Australia presents the findings of a 2021 survey of Australians aged 15 to 19 years. The study identifies aspects of their lives that were most negatively impacted by lockdowns and the groups who were most affected by COVID-19 and associated lockdowns. The study also makes recommendations for policy and practice.
Covid-19 and early intervention: Evidence, challenges and risks relating to virtual and digital delivery
This report from the Early Intervention Foundation (EIF) sets out the evidence on virtual and digital delivery of interventions across a range of relevant domains, highlights the challenges and risks associated with remote delivery methods, and provides the findings from an EIF survey asking intervention developers and providers about their response to the Covid-19 crisis. It is intended to support the sector as it rapidly adapts to the constraints on delivery imposed by widespread social distancing and lockdown.
This report from Our Community draws on survey data from 2020 and 2021 to investigate what was happening for the Australian community sector during the pandemic. The study found that while demand decreased in the early period of the pandemic, services are now experiencing increased demand, particularly in the areas of family violence, homelessness, food relief and childcare services.
COVID-19 Impact Report: Responding to the needs of children and families
This impact report from CFECFW is based on a review of data gathered by the CFECFW during the period March-June 2020, sometimes called the ‘first wave’ of the coronavirus in Victoria. During the four months covered by this report, CSOs across Victoria demonstrated their ability to respond quickly to the unprecedented challenges facing their clients and workers by implementing creative solutions and workarounds in the face of restrictions on face to face engagement. This report also highlights the challenges experienced by families and workers, the ‘pragmatic problem-solving’ of our CSOs as they transformed their service delivery models, and the lessons learned.
COVID-19 Information and Resources for Engagement Professionals
This collection of articles and presentations from the International Association for Public Participation provide advice and strategies for engaging the community during COVID-19. It focuses particularly on how to use digital methods of engagement in place of face to face contact, which may be useful for those who are wanting to collect data or conduct interviews during this period, as well as those seeking more general advice on how to maintain safe and connected service delivery.
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.
This overview from Better Evaluation looks at the basics of Developmental Evaluation. Developmental Evaluation is an approach that can be used effectively when there is no clear model to evaluate due to a complex and dynamic environment - such as a global health emergency like COVID-19. This resource outlines the basics of this approach and how it can be utilised to develop a continuous improvement loop that supports innovation and adaptation in a changing environment.
Economic insecurity and intimate partner violence in Australia during the COVID-19 pandemic
ANROWS has released this report containing a detailed examination of the relationship between economic insecurity and intimate partner violence (IPV) and investigates whether risk factors relating to economic insecurity have been influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic. The research found that, consistent with other Australian and international research, there was clear evidence that the acute economic stressors associated with the COVID-19 pandemic were associated with the onset and escalation of IPV.
Evaluation Implications of the Coronavirus Global Health Pandemic Emergency
This blog from Blue Marble Evaluation reflects on how we should approach evaluation during the COVID-19 emergency. It highlights the importance of adapting to developmental evaluation practices, pursuing systematic thinking and working collaboratively with others to produce high quality data during this challenging and fascinating period.
Families in Australia Survey: Life During COVID-19
The AIFS Life during COVID-19 survey ran from May 1 to June 9 2020 and had 7,306 participants from around Australia. It was the first survey in the Families in Australia Survey series. The aim was to understand how Australian families coped with the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the greatest health, social and economic challenges in history. The findings in this report are drawn from our first analyses of the survey data. Later reports will add to, and expand on, these findings.
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.
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.
Intimate partner violence during the COVID-19 pandemic: A survey of women in Australia
Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety (ANROWS) has released this report examining whether there was an escalation of intimate partner violence (IPV) during the COVID-19 pandemic. The research found that respondents were experiencing either first-time violence or patterns of ongoing violence which escalated in frequency and severity during the COVID-19 pandemic. It also found that a significant proportion of respondents who sought help were unable to access assistance due to safety concerns, which left many at risk and without access to support services.
Kids at the Crossroads: Evidence and Policy to Mitigate the Effects of COVID-19
This report from ARACY and UNICEF brings together the first six months of research from their Knowledge Acceleration Hub. It makes evidence-based policy recommendations on how to mitigate negative the effects of COVID-19 on children. This resource outlines what decision-makers need to know to make the best choices for Australia’s children and young people and for the future of the nation as a whole.
Learning through COVID-19: Maximising educational outcomes for Australia’s children and young people experiencing disadvantage – Pillar 3 report
This report from the University of Queensland builds on two previous reports in a series exploring the impact of COVID-19 on learning to present evidence-based options for action to address disadvantage. Evidence-based interventions and programs were identified across core actions within four priority Action Areas: student mental health, wellbeing and hope; future role of teachers, schools and communities; digital equity; and protections for the most vulnerable students. The researchers assessed 65 programs for implementation readiness in the Australian context. The findings reveal key evidence gaps and the report urges government to take action in 16 areas.
Lessons learned from Term 2 remote and flexible learning
These three reports (an independent analysis, Parliamentary secretary report and report on focus groups) have been released from the Victorian Government about the experience of remote and flexible learning in Term 2 for students, teachers and families during coronavirus (COVID-19). The reports were informed by more than 3600 submissions from teachers, parents, students and education experts as part of a community consultation process.
The reports provide insight from government, independent and Catholic schools into the experiences of students, teachers and educators who had to quickly adapt in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Life, disrupted: Young people, education and employment before and after COVID-19
The Monash University Centre for Youth Policy and Education Practice has released this report exploring the relationship between education and work and the contextual factors that shape education and work for young people in Australia. The report finds that the disruptions caused by the pandemic have magnified existing social issues, such as job insecurity, erosion of worker rights and shifting career identities, which have led to significant challenges for young people. The report discusses the implications of these social issues for educational providers.
This literature review from CFECFW examines the existing research on telehealth and telepractice. It will be useful to anyone who is seeking to understand what effective telepractice looks like. It covers the definition of telehealth/telepractice, its prevalence and models, research findings on its impact and effectiveness, and its applicability to working with children.
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.
My Hero is You, Storybook for Children on COVID-19
This book was a project developed by the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC), supported by global, regional and country based experts from Member Agencies, in addition to parents, caregivers, teachers and children in 104 countries. It was developed based a global survey to assess children’s mental health and psychosocial needs during the COVID-19 outbreak - and is available in multiple different languages.
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.
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.
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).
This Australian Council of Social Services and University of New Sales Wales report provides insights into Australian Bureau of Statistics data on household income from 2019-2020, focusing on changes in income support in COVID-19 lockdowns. The report details the impact on poverty rates in Australian families and conclusions about the design of the payments in reducing poverty.
Quick review series: Protecting children during the COVID-19 pandemic
This quick review from CFECFW looks at a webinar from the Alliance for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action. The webinar discusses the protection of children during COVID-19 pandemic and shares lessons learnt from the child protection Ebola response. It also highlights key priorities and the way forward in the coming months.
The first year of Covid-19: Initial outcomes of our collective care for low-income children in Aotearoa New Zealand
Child Poverty Action Group has released this report reviewing available data sources to determine the impacts of the pandemic and government action/inaction on low-income children in New Zealand. A key finding is that tamariki Māori were 2.5 to 3 times more likely than Pākehā (white) children to have been pushed into poverty in the year prior to March 2021. The report concludes that structural investments by government are needed to ensure the long-term wellbeing of children and their families and must centre Māori guidance.
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.
Uneven impacts of COVID-19 on the attendance rates of secondary school students from different socioeconomic backgrounds in Australia: A quasi-experimental analysis of administrative data
This article, published in the Australian Journal of Social Issues, draws on administrative data on school attendance collected in Tasmania in 2020 to show how the impacts of COVID-19 school shutdowns were unevenly experienced by those from a lower SES background. This study found many negative impacts, which are further discussed in the article.
Young voices of the pandemic: Youth survey COVID-19 report 2020
Mission Australia has released this report analysing the qualitative data from the 2020 youth survey for young people who cited COVID-19 as the biggest issue they had been facing. The analysis found that the areas of most concern for these young people were COVID’s impact on education, isolation and mental health.