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June 20, 2023 – 12:30pm to 1:30pm


A collaborative approach to strengthening family relationships in the City of Yarra

Discover the collaborative journey of the Yarra Communities that Care (CTC) initiative, dedicated to strengthening family relationships in the City of Yarra.

Led by Relationships Australia Victoria and Yarra City Council, this partnership has engaged 10 diverse agencies across the City of Yarra to enhance emotional well-being and school engagement for children, young people, and their families.

Along with delivering significant benefits for the emotional literacy between parents/carers and children engaged in the program through an array of mechanisms, the it has also delivered amazing results and learning for the partner organisations themselves with this collaborative, place-based approach contributing to systemic change in the community through fostering genuine collaboration between partner agencies, authentic partnerships with schools, improvement to models of practice and emotional literacy across agencies and practitioners in the City of Yarra.

This session will explore key steps and lessons in fostering a strong place based authentic cross organisation partnership, report on the project strong evaluation approach and results for both participating families and supporting systematic change for the organisations involved.

Building on several years of learning and development, more recently we have developed a place-based ‘theory of change’ and have commenced an evaluation with a focus on the strength of the collaborative practice. We will discuss what we have learned about facilitating systemic change and implications of our learnings for other collaborative and place-based approaches.

Don’t miss this opportunity to gain valuable insights and learn about building effective cross service collaboration to strengthen the outcomes we deliver for families.



Sandra Opoku, Manager Evaluation and Social Impact, Relationships Australia Victoria

Sandra conducts program-specific evaluations across the sector, and is skilled in developing program logic, theory of change and practical outcome measurement frameworks. She is passionate about demonstrating social impact and improving client outcomes through the application of evidence-informed decision-making.

Bella Laidlaw, Yarra Communities that Care Program Leader, Yarra City Council

Bella facilitates a collaboration of over 30 partner organisations and community groups, working together to improve the health development of middle years young people (8-14 yr) in Yarra. Yarra Communities that Care, planning and activity delivery is informed by Yarra children and young people’s experiences (n=1072), and is prevention focused and evidence based. Bella overseas action planning, delivery fidelity, evaluation and the systems change work of the Yarra Communities that Care partnership.

Naomi Gilbert, Community Liaison Officer, Relationships Australia Victoria

As part of Yarra Communities that Care, Naomi coordinates a network of more than 20 practitioners from 10 partner agencies in the collaborative delivery of Tuning in to Teens™.


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