Nowhere to go: The benefits of providing long-term social housing to women that have experienced domestic and family violence

Family Violence, Homelessness, Women, Housing, Report

This report examines the intersections between family violence, housing, and homelessness. The report estimates that each year around 7,690 women are returning to a violent partner due to a lack of affordable housing and around 9,120 women are becoming homeless after leaving their home due to family violence. It concludes that an additional 16,810 social housing properties are needed to address this issue.

NSW carer support needs: Coping in the context of COVID-19

Report, COVID-19, Case Study, Kinship Care, Report, Case Study

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.

Ombudsman’s Investigation into Victorian Government School Expulsions

Education

The Ombudsman’s report into Victorian government school expulsions has found that significant reform is needed to adequately measure exactly how many children are excluded from government schools each year, and to ensure that the Victorian education system is not entirely excluding some of the most vulnerable children. The report shows that 278 children were expelled in Victoria in 2016, including children as young as five. The report also revealed that a disproportionate number of children being expelled were in out-of-home care, had a disability or identified as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.

OPEN Event Review – Unpacking the Invisible: examining domestic and family violence in culturally diverse communities

Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD), Family Violence, OPEN Resource

This event review, completed by OPEN, highlights the key insights from this event hosted by Settlement Services International (SSI) in November 2020. It featured a panel discussion on unpacking the invisible struggles of domestic violence victims within our migrant and refugee communities. The panel was made up of preeminent representatives and advocates and identified areas of persistent concern which have been further exacerbated by COVID.

Identify

OPEN Quick Guide: Client Experience (Practitioner)

Client Experience, Quick Guide

This OPEN Quick Guide provides a useful overview of how to keep your clients, with their unique values, preferences and experiences, at the centre of planning and decision making.

Identify

OPEN Quick Guide: Client Experience (Program Design and Development)

Client Experience, Quick Guide

This OPEN Quick Guide provides a useful overview of how to keep clients, with their unique values, preferences and experiences, at the centre of program design and development.

Identify, Design, Implement, Evaluate

OPEN Quick Guide: Reflect and Review (Practitioner)

Reflect and Review, Quick Guide

This OPEN Quick Guide provides an overview of what Reflect and Review means for practitioners. It provides you with practical advice to nurture a culture of evidence-informed practice and continuous improvement.

Design

OPEN Quick Guide: Reflect and Review (Program Design and Development)

Reflect and Review, Quick Guide

This OPEN Quick Guide provides a useful overview of what the Reflect and Review process means for program design and development. It provides you with practical advice to nurture a culture of evidence-informed practice and continuous improvement.

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.

Design

OPEN Rapid Case Study-Tarrengower Prison Family Video Visits Pilot Program-VACRO

Families and parenting, Safety and wellbeing, Client Engagement, Children, OPEN Resource, Case Study

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.

OPEN Report Summary – Amplify: Turning up the Volume on Young People and Family Violence

This document summarises the key findings of a Melbourne City Mission study which examines the system and service gaps for young people who are experiencing family violence.

OPEN Report Summary – ANROWS Study on Intimate partner violence during the COVID-19 pandemic

This document summarises the key findings of an ANROWS study which explores the experiences of self-reported intimate partner violence (IPV) among Australian women in the 12 months following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is based on a survey conducted with 10,107 adult women in Australia who had been in a relationship in the 12 months prior to the pandemic.

OPEN Research/Policy Snapshot: Children and young people on the edge of care, out of home and alone

Families and parenting, Young People, Homelessness, OPEN Resource

This resource highlights the key findings, recommendations and takeaways from this July 2020 report by the Brotherhood of St. Laurence. The report explores the inadequacies of existing service provisions for children and young people aged 10-16 years who do not qualify for statutory removal but who cannot remain at home due to family conflict.

Identify, Design, Implement, Evaluate

OPEN Tool: Reflect and Review Guiding Questions

Reflect and Review, Tool/toolkit

This OPEN Tool provides some key questions to support the Reflect and Review process. In order to make high-quality decisions it is important to systematically reflect on, and review data, practice and client feedback to adapt and enhance your approach.

Evaluate

OPEN Webinar Series – How to Evaluate Outcomes

Evaluation, Webinar

This webinar examined the role of evaluation questions in framing outcomes measurement, data collection methods, analysis, synthesis, rubrics as well as how to report on outcomes using dashboards. The slides for this webinar have been uploaded as an additional resource.

OPEN Webinar Series – How to Evaluate Outcomes (Slides)

Evaluation, Webinar

This webinar examined the role of evaluation questions in framing outcomes measurement, data collection methods, analysis, synthesis, rubrics as well as how to report on outcomes using dashboards. The slides for this webinar are also available as a separate resource.

Evaluate

OPEN Webinar Series – How to Measure Outcomes

Evaluation, Webinar

This webinar explored how we measure outcomes providing tips on how to select indicators and targets and how to identify different methods to collect data. The slides for this webinar have been uploaded as an additional resource.

OPEN Webinar Series – How to Measure Outcomes (Slides)

Evaluation, Webinar

This webinar explored how we measure outcomes providing tips on how to select indicators and targets and how to identify different methods to collect data.

Evaluate

OPEN Webinar Series – Reflecting and Learning from Evaluation Findings

Evaluation, Reflect and Review, Webinar

The final webinar for this series discussed the role of evaluative thinking – what happened, so what, now what – in learning and reflection and how to reflect on and apply learning through workshops, feedback loops and sprints. The slides for this webinar have been uploaded as an additional resource.

OPEN Webinar Series – Reflecting and Learning from Evaluation Findings (Slides)

Evaluation, Reflect and Review, Webinar

The final webinar for this series discussed the role of evaluative thinking – what happened, so what, now what – in learning and reflection and how to reflect on and apply learning through workshops, feedback loops and sprints.

Implement

Organisational Readiness for Implementation – Checklist

Tool/toolkit

An assessment tool developed by Melanie Barwick from the University of Toronto to identify organisational readiness for implementation.

Our youth, our way: Inquiry into the over-representation of Aboriginal children and young people in the Victorian youth justice system

Youth Justice, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, Young People, Report, Adolescents, Report

The Commission for Children and Young People (CCYP) has released its report examining the lived experience of Aboriginal young people who have had contact with Victoria’s youth justice system and the factors that contribute to their overrepresentation. CCYP found that the continuing legacy of colonisation, the stolen generation and structural and institutional racism play a significant role in the over-representation of Aboriginal young people in the youth justice system. The report makes 75 recommendations.

Out of sight: Systemic inquiry into children and young people who are absent or missing from residential care

Out of Home Care (OOHC), Young People, Report, Children, Report

The Commission for Children and Young People (CCYP) has released this systemic inquiry report into children and young people who are absent or missing from residential care in Victoria. The report investigates prevalence, patterns and characteristics of young people, the factors that contribute to their absence, and the harms experienced while absent from care. The report found that deficiencies in the current model of residential care are key factors driving absence from care, with young people feeling unsafe and/or seeking needed connection elsewhere. The report makes 18 recommendations.

Out of the shadows: What’s next in transforming the Victorian family violence sector?

Family Violence, Safety and wellbeing

Tanya Corrie, of Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand, discusses the Victorian government’s commitment to eliminating violence against women in Victoria in light of the state budget. This opinion piece provides a summary of the areas that the government will target spending. Corrie applauds the focus on prevention and early intervention, and suggests that Victoria’s family violence reform could be an example for other states.

Outcomes Rating Scale (ORS) and Session Rating Scales (SRS)

Evaluation, Tool/toolkit

Developed by Scott Miller PhD, psychologist and co-founder of the International Center for Clinical Excellence and the Institute for the Study of Therapeutic Change, The Outcome Rating Scale (ORS) and Session Rating Scale (SRS) are brief measures for tracking client functioning and the quality of the therapeutic alliance. Each instrument takes less than a minute for clients to complete and for clinicians to score and interpret. Versions of the scales are available for adults, children, adolescents in 18 different languages.

Over-represented and overlooked: the crisis of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women’s growing over-imprisonment

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

The Human Rights Law Centre and Change the Record have released a report describing the growing over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women in our prison system as a national crisis. Since the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, the imprisonment rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women has increased by nearly 250 per cent. The report calls for systemic change and makes 18 recommendations to address the overrepresentation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women. The recommendations emphasise the need for specialist, holistic and culturally safe services that address the underlying causes of offending and imprisonment.

Oversight and regulatory mechanisms aimed at protecting children from sexual abuse: Understanding current evidence of efficacy

Safety and wellbeing, Child maltreatment

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has released a new research report that finds Australian oversight bodies have inconsistent scope and powers in protecting children from sexual abuse in institutions. Researchers examine several oversight bodies, including Ombudsman’s offices, children’s commissions and advocacy and guardianship agencies. The report highlights the localised factors and resource constraints that influence capacity to implement oversight powers and priority areas for oversight.

Parent and Family Engagement: An Implementation Guide for School Communities

Education, Families and parenting, Client Engagement, Handbook

This guide from ARACY gives practical guidance on how school communities can design and implement successful parent and family engagement practices. It draws from a wide body of research to provide evidence and examples of how you can make parent and family engagement relevant to your school and community.

Parenting Orders: What you need to know

Families and parenting, Handbook

This publication has been prepared by the Attorney-General's Department as a practical resource to assist parents with drafting parenting orders. It will also be helpful to people assisting parents, including legal practitioners, counsellors, and mediators. Importantly, it will help people produce clearly written parenting orders that are made with the best interests of the child at the centre.

Parenting programs that support children’s mental health through family separation: A common elements analysis

Families and parenting, Mental Health, Children, Program Analysis, Report

This paper from Child Family Community Australia (CFCA) identifies the common elements of evidence-based parenting programs that support children’s (aged 0–12 years) mental health through parental separation to inform the decisions practitioners make in their practice. The analysis identified 15 common elements. Four elements were related to content provided to parents by programs and included the topics of emotional management in separation, parenting in separation, co-parenting in separation, and the impact of separation on children. The remaining 11 were techniques used in programs and included psychoeducation, group participation, skills practice, personalising content, problem solving, assigning and reviewing homework, encouraging, normalising difficulties, video content, attending to group process, and providing materials.

Participation in decision making: What are the views of children and young people in out-of-home care? – March 2021 – Evidence to Action Note

Out of Home Care (OOHC), Report

This Evidence to Action Note provides an overview of the views of children and young people about whether they have a say in decisions that impact on their lives and whether they feel listened to, with findings drawn from two surveys, the 2018 NSW OOHC Survey and the NSW Residential Care Survey.

The Pathways of Care Longitudinal Study (POCLS) is the first large-scale prospective longitudinal study of children and young people in out-of-home care (OOHC) in Australia. Information on safety, permanency and wellbeing will be collected from various sources. The child developmental domains of interest are physical health, socio-emotional wellbeing and cognitive/learning ability. This interactive webpage provides an overview of several elements of the study, including videos, methods and updates.

Peer victimisation, depressive symptoms, and substance use: A longitudinal analysis

Mental Health, Young People, Alcohol and Other Drugs

A new study led by the University of Delaware found that children who are bullied in fifth grade are more likely to suffer from depression in seventh grade, and have a greater likelihood of using alcohol, marijuana or tobacco in tenth grade. The study shows the long term impact of peer victimisation experiences in early adolescence, which affects mental health and substance use in later life.

Permanence and stability: The missing ingredients for Victoria’s most vulnerable children

Report, Children, Carers, Permanent care, Legislation, Report

Permanent Care and Adoptive Families (PCAF) has released this report reviewing the current state of permanent care in Victoria. The study finds that permanency legislation has not gained the traction that was expected, with a key barrier being limited support for children and carers. The report makes eight recommendations to address key challenges and barriers to permanency and improved long-term outcomes for children.

The latest Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Personal Safety Survey (PSS) reveals falling rates of violence between 2005 - 2016. The PSS collects in-depth information about men’s and women’s experience of violence by a partner since the age of 15. The survey data shows women were nearly three times more likely to have experienced partner violence than men, with approximately 17% of women and 6.1% of men having experienced partner violence since the age of 15.

Access a range of facilitation tools, journey mapping tools, role playing tips and techniques, voting systems and more, to better manage co-design processes with multiple stakeholders. Created by Iriss and used in Pilotlight, these tools will be relevant to lots of different organisations and situations.

Playgroups in Australia: Building the evidence base

Early years, Safety and wellbeing

This suite of resources is intended to assist in the development of high-quality and consistent playgroups. It outlines nine key principles underpinning high quality playgroups. They provide an evidence-informed framework with which playgroups can be developed based on the local families’ and community’s needs. Most importantly, playgroups should be child-focused, child-inclusive and developmentally appropriate.

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

Families and parenting, Journal article, Evidence-Based Program, Children, Adolescents, Carers, Journal article

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.

Policy roundtable – Emerging patterns in place-based approaches: International perspectives

Safety and wellbeing, Report

The Centre for Community Child Health at the Royal Children’s Hospital has released a summary report of the emerging patterns in place-based approaches to child welfare. It highlights the need to invest in place-based interventions as a strategy for improving outcomes for children living in disadvantaged locations. It focuses on replicable learnings from researchers and practitioners in place-based programs across the UK, US and Australia.

Potential indirect impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on children: A narrative review using a community child health lens

Journal article, Children, COVID-19, Research, Journal article

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).

Power of Image: A report into the influence of images and videos in young people’s digital lives

Young People, Report

The UK Safer Internet Centre has undertaken research exploring the role of images and videos in young people’s digital lives and the influence this can have on their self-esteem, behaviour and emotions. The findings show the pervasiveness of video and image sharing among young people, the positive role it can have, and the accompanying risks that this digital culture presents. Eighty per cent of participants reported that they had been inspired by an image to do something positive. However, a significant number of young people have had negative experiences of the digital world. Twenty-two per cent of 8-17 year olds reported that someone has posted an image or video to bully them.

Power Struggles: Everyday battles to stay connected

Families and parenting, Mental Health

The Victorian Council of Social Service (VCOSS) has released a report highlighting the daily struggles that Australian families living on low-incomes are facing in order to pay their electricity bills. Real life stories are presented in this report, drawing on interviews with 10 Victorian households. VCOSS makes several policy recommendations based on the findings of the research.

Power to Kids: Respecting Sexual Safety Evaluation Report

Out of Home Care (OOHC), Safety and wellbeing, Report

This evaluation report examines the Power to Kids: Respecting Sexual Safety project at MacKillop Family Services. This project aimed to co-design, implement and evaluate strategies to prevent and intervene early in harmful sexual behaviour, child sexual exploitation and dating violence in residential care. The report concludes that primary prevention efforts are required that focus on respectful relationships and sexuality education, and secondary interventions should focus on reducing risk factors and enhancing protective factors. Further, tertiary prevention efforts need to involve assisting young people to exit exploitation and providing therapeutic responses for victims of sexual violence and for young people who carry out the violence.

Preliminary Findings and Recommendations for the Brighter Futures Transformation Pilot: Summary Re

Out of Home Care (OOHC), Young People, Report

This report examines the Brighter Futures Transformation Pilot, that took place from 2018-2020. This Preliminary Findings and Recommendations Report was commissioned to highlight and identify the impact of the Pilot’s work and establish direction prior to the end of the funding cycle.

Preparing young people for the future of work

Education, Young People

The Mitchell Institute has brought together a group of education practitioners, government leaders and policy experts to consider the challenge of improving young people’s transitions into employment. Young Australians are studying for longer than ever before but are disengaged and struggling to secure long-term employment. The unemployment rate of young people (15-24 year olds) averaged 12.7 per cent in 2016. The authors argue that young people are entering a competitive, global job market that requires a different set of skills from the skills emphasised in Australia’s education system.

Presentation – Evidence Based Decision making for Human Services leaders Course -Eric Barends, Evidence Based Management – Information Session

Evidence Informed Practice, Evidence Based Decision Making, Conference presentation

Coffee Talk Session on the Evidence Based Decision Making for Human Services Leaders course Eric Barends, Center for Evidence Based Management at Carnegie Mellon University presentation on the Evidence-based Decision Making for Human Service Leaders’ course. The course is hosted by the Outcomes, Practice and Evidence Network (OPEN) and is co-facilitated by Eric Barends, the Center for Evidence Based Management at Carnegie Mellon University and Dr Lisa . Griffiths, CEO, OzChild.