This report released by Wanslea in Western Australia seeks to build the evidence base on the impacts of caring on the mental, physical, social and financial health of grandparent carers, investigate service gaps, and explore the commonalities and differences in the experiences of grandparent carers. The study found that caring comes with significant costs to grandparent carers’ wellbeing with common challenges including poverty, health and navigating systems.
A team effort: Preventing violence against women through sport
Sport has great potential to influence social change and prevent violence against women by creating inclusive, equitable, healthy and safe environments for men and women, boys and girls. This evidence guide collates the academic literature and research evidence regarding sport as a setting for the prevention of violence against women. It provides a summary of current prevention initiatives, and draws from an analysis of these and the wider literature to outline 10 key elements of promising practice in sport settings.
Accommodating transition: Improving housing outcomes for young people leaving OHC
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.
Alcohol-related harm in families and alcohol consumption during COVID-19
Child Family Community Australia has released this paper investigating alcohol-related harm in families and reviewing available evidence on alcohol consumption from March to July 2020 when COVID-19 restrictions were in place. The scoping review found an increase in alcohol consumption among those reporting higher levels of stress and among women aged 36-50. The paper concludes with a review of harm minimisation interventions and strategies to strengthen the health and wellbeing of families.
Amplify insights: Education inequity – Part two: Levers of change
This second report in a series on education inequity from the Centre for Social Impact at UNSW Sydney identifies levers of change to address five of the 11 drivers of educational inequity identified in the first report: lack of accessible and responsive early childhood education and care; disconnection between education setting, home and community; bullying, discrimination and social isolation; one-size-fits-all curriculum; and absence of a whole-of-school approach underpinned by resources and infrastructure. The authors synthesised 16 levers from a systematic review of 45 evidence-based programs and culturally inclusive studies based in Australia. The report makes 22 recommendations.
Amplify report: Turning up the volume on young people and family violence
Melbourne City Mission has released this report examining the policy and service gaps for young people experiencing family violence in Victoria. A key finding of the study is that young people’s ways of managing their safety are often misunderstood and seen as problematic instead of being recognised as protective. The report makes 20 recommendations.
ANROWS Research Summary: The impacts of domestic and family violence on children
This summary is designed for practitioners and policy-makers who want to know more about ANROWS research on the impacts of domestic and family violence (DFV) on children. It outlines the major issues found in ANROWS research relevant to children, the factors preventing effective service delivery and the policy and practice changes recommended by the researchers. It concludes with future research directions.
Australia’s child support scheme: Third interim report
The Joint Select Committee on Australia’s Family Law System has released a third interim report for its inquiry into the family law and child support systems. It provides an overview of the child support system and outlines issues identified by inquiry participants. The report makes 19 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.
Australian Early Development Census national report 2021: Early childhood development in Australia
The Department of Education, Skills and Employment has released the latest report on the early childhood development of Australian children. The Australian Early Development Census 2021 found that the percentage of children who were on track on five domains decreased from 55.4 per cent in 2018 to 54.8 per cent in 2021 and the percentage of children developmentally vulnerable on one or more domain(s) increased from 21.7 per cent in 2018 to 22.0 per cent in 2021. The report discusses equity trends and the early impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Productivity Commission has released this report investigating Australia’s growing prison population. The report contains an economic cost-benefit assessment of increased use of imprisonment and explores available alternatives. The study found that increased imprisonment can be partially attributed to policy choices and more must be done to trial and evaluate prison alternatives. The study also examined the different ways in which imprisonment can affect children and families and identifies key research gaps.
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.
Beyond borders: How to make the global compacts on migration and refugees work for uprooted children
The rights, protection and wellbeing of migrant and refugee children should be central commitments of global migration policies, UNICEF has said in a new report. The report outlines best practice for children’s care and protection, and includes case studies of governments and communities working to support and integrate them and their families. Key themes include keeping families together, keeping refugee and migrant children learning, and combatting discrimination. The case studies are diverse, spanning across country income levels, and can be replicated in different contexts around the world.
Birth family contact: What are the views of children and young people in out-of-home care? – March 2021 – Evidence to Action Note
This Evidence to Action Note provides an overview of the views of children and young people about whether they have contact with family members and their satisfaction with contact arrangements, with findings drawn from two surveys, the 2018 NSW OOHC Survey and the NSW Residential Care Survey.
Bridging the divide: Supporting children and young people in their middle years
Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand (Good Shepherd) undertook this research to highlight some of the unique challenges faced by children and young people in their ‘middle years’ (between the ages of 8 – 12 years). The middle years are a critical time of development and change. Children can face difficulties transitioning from primary to high school, caring for parents or younger siblings, being subject to inappropriate sexualisation and sexual exploitation, and being denied the opportunity to have meaningful input into decisions that affect their lives. Good Shepherd makes recommendations to government, schools and the community sector to ensure that we are better able to meet the needs of children and young people in their middle years.
Bright futures: Spotlight on the wellbeing of young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds
This report from VicHealth discusses issues that affect the wellbeing of young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds. The report finds that migrant and refugee students are less likely to find full-time employment after graduation (45%) compared with Australian-born students (69%) due to racial discrimination, lack of understanding of the local job market and overseas skills and qualifications not being recognised. The research shows that refugee and young migrant communities also bring with them many unique qualities, such as global networks, new ideas and an entrepreneurial spirit, which can enrich Australian society.
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
On 15 December 2017, the Final Report of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse was delivered to the Governor-General of Australia and released. The Royal Commission’s Final Report comprises of 17 volumes and includes a total of 189 new recommendations, many of which are aimed at making institutions safer for children.
The Australian Institute of Family Studies has released its final evaluation report on the impact of the Australian Government’s Child Care Package. The evaluation found that the Child Care Subsidy reduced the net cost of child care for 62.2 per cent of families using child care, with low-income families amongst those who benefit most. It also found that beyond the subsidy, the package has had limited impact despite its intention to see improvements in areas such as access and employment outcomes.
This report from ACIL Allen considered the extent to which the implementation of the Child Link Register will enable it to deliver the policy and legislative intent of Part 7A of the Child Wellbeing and Safety Act (2005). The review found that the program is well-positioned to achieve its objective and identified four strengths that are supporting its effective implementation.
Children and Families Evidence: Findings from Six Evidence Gap Maps
This report was developed in collaboration with Melbourne University and identifies gaps in published literature pertaining to 5 key focus areas; Aboriginal children and families, out of home care, high-risk young people, trauma-informed practice, children with disabilities and their families and family violence.
Children and Young People in Out of Home Care in Tasmania
This report by the Tasmanian Commissioner for Children and Young People, Mark Morrissey, presents findings aimed at improving the wellbeing of children and young people living in out of home care. Although he found that the 1,100 children in state care were ‘generally experiencing acceptable outcomes’, he also identifies a number of issues with the system. Morrissey presents seven recommendations to improve the OOHC system in Tasmania.
Children’s social care innovation programme: Final evaluation report
The UK Department for Education has published an overview of the evaluation of the children’s social care innovation program in England 2014 to 2016. The report includes findings from project evaluations that show reductions in children entering care, children living in residential care and increased reunification with birth families. From these evaluations, a number of recommendations for best practice emerge, including the adoption of a family focused, strengths-based approach that supports families to take responsibility for their own lives; multi-professional teams including workers in family violence, mental health and drug and alcohol; and a ‘key worker’ to provide consistency.
Children’s voices in a changing world: 2021 UNICEF Australia Young Ambassador report
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.
Co-constructing Who Am I? Ensuring the voice of the child or young person is at the heart of ‘the record’
This discussion paper talks about the value of developing a coherent, manageable and principled practice framework for co-constructing the child’s personal life story archive. It also includes considerations around trauma, record-keeping, confidentiality,and information technology. Systems and collaborations are essential to translate this into practice.
Collective impact: Evidence and implications for practice
This paper explores the collective impact framework and its ability to create transformational change on complex social issues. It provides an overview of the development of collective impact in Australia, drawing on case studies to demonstrate the promise of place-based, collaborative initiatives. The collective impact framework has resonated with practitioners and communities both in Australia and abroad, however, the evidence base for collective impact is still growing.
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.
Consultations with young people to inform the eSafety Commissioner’s Engagement Strategy for Young People: A report on the findings
Western Sydney University has released this report outlining young people’s insights and recommendations about online safety to inform the eSafety Commissioner’s messaging, resources and ongoing engagement with children and young people. The report was developed using youth-centred, participatory co-research and codesign methods. Key concerns raised by young people in the research included privacy issues, security issues and managing online interactions with others.
Core care conditions for children and families: Implications for integrated child and family services
This report from the Centre for Community Child Health at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute reviews the evidence on the core needs of children and families, the conditions required for parents to meet these needs, and how well these needs are being met. The research then integrates these findings into a framework that can be used to inform service delivery.
WEstjustice has launched their 'Couch Surfing Limbo' report which explores the challenges faced by young couch surfers. Common challenges experienced by this group include exploitation, abuse, and the complexities of navigating a predominantly adult homelessness service system. The report also provides insight into the issues faced by couch providers – the informal carers that look after young couch surfers in their homes.
Counting the cost to families: Assessing childcare affordability in Australia
This report from the Mitchell Institute for Education and Health Policy at Victoria University reviews the available data on expenditure and affordability of childcare in Australia and analyses this to determine how much families are spending. The report finds that childcare is unaffordable for around 386,000 Australian families.
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.
Critical interpretive synthesis: Child protection involvement for families with domestic and family violence, alcohol and other drug issues, and mental health issues
This report by Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety (ANROWS) explores the occurrence, overlap or interrelationships between domestic and family violence, alcohol and other drug issues and mental health issues in Australian families involved in the child protection system. A critical interpretive synthesis of the academic and grey literature found significant weaknesses in the evidence base. The study concluded that further research is needed to understand these interactions in the Australian context.
Crossover Children: Examining Initial Criminal Justice System Contact Among Child Protection- Involved Youth
This article is part of a series of reports and articles seeking to understand the circumstances that lead to children and young people becoming ‘cross-over kids’; involved in both the child protection and criminal justice systems. It looks at cross-over children’s initial charges.
Dead ends: How our social security system is failing people with partial capacity to work
This report from the Brotherhood of St Laurence, Australian Federation of Disability Organisations and Western Sydney University examines the development of the partial capacity to work classification and its impact on the lives of individuals and their households. The report finds that the partial capacity to work category is failing many people experiencing vulnerability, necessitating urgent reform, and contains eight recommendations for change.
Debt, duress and dob-ins: Centrelink compliance processes and domestic violence
Economic Justice Australia has released this report investigating the relationship between domestic violence and Centrelink compliance and debt mechanisms, and the impacts of these mechanisms on domestic violence victims/survivors. A key finding was that Centrelink compliance processes are sometimes used by perpetrators as a tool of violence. The report makes 27 recommendations.
Deserts and oases: How accessible is childcare in Australia?
The Mitchell Institute at Victoria University has released this report investigating access to centre-based day care in Australia. The study used spatial measurement techniques to map the supply of childcare and compared this to demand across most parts of Australia. It found that 35.2 per cent of the population live in neighbourhoods with the scarcest childcare availability, and these neighbourhoods tend to have greater relative disadvantage or a higher population of culturally and linguistically diverse people.
Developing holistic integrated early learning services for young children and families experiencing socio-economic vulnerability
The Centre for Community Child Health at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute has released this report investigating the role that integrated child and family centres play in meeting the needs of children and families and reviewing what has been learned about the key elements of effective services for families experiencing vulnerability. The research identifies the core features of integrated child and family centres and examines how each element can be implemented effectively.
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.
Domestic and family violence protection orders in Australia: An investigation of information-sharing and enforcement with a focus on interstate orders
Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety (ANROWS) has released a report summarising the findings of research undertaken by the Queensland Centre for Domestic and Family Violence Research regarding the enforcement of Domestic Violence Protection Orders (DPVOs). Inconsistencies and competing interests at the intersections of domestic and family violence, child protection, and family law remain a barrier to effective implementation and enforcement of DVPOs.
Don’t take it as read: Inquiry into adult literacy and its importance
The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Employment, Education and Training has released its report on adult literacy, numeracy and problem-solving skills in Australia. It includes an examination of the benefits of investing in adult language, literacy, numeracy and digital literacy skills to assist parents to support their children’s education. The report makes 15 recommendations.
Dropping off the edge 2021: Persistent and multilayered disadvantage in Australia
This report from Jesuit Social Services is the fifth in a series of reports measuring indicators of disadvantage in communities across Australia. It examines where disadvantage is concentrated, how various forms of disadvantage overlap and how this multilayered disadvantage becomes persistent. The study found that disadvantage is concentrated in a small number of communities across Australia. In Victoria, 5 per cent of locations accounted for 29 percent of the most disadvantaged positions across all indicators.
Educational opportunity for all: Overcoming inequality throughout the life course
According to a new OECD report, too many children from disadvantaged backgrounds are falling behind in education and being disadvantaged in the future job market. Only a few OECD countries offer people from disadvantaged backgrounds equal opportunity to succeed as their more well-off peers, including Japan, Korea and the Netherlands. To address this level of inequality, investment in good quality early childhood education and care is needed, especially for children from disadvantaged families.
The Victorian Auditor-General’s Office has released this report examining the Department of Education and Training’s (DET) management of the Navigator Program and assessing whether the delivery of the program is effectively re-engaging students in education and achieving outcomes for students. The audit found that DET is unable to demonstrate the effectiveness or equitable delivery of Navigator. The report makes four recommendations.
Enabling the public health approach to protecting children
The Productivity Commission has released this paper, the second in their What Works reviews, investigating what is known about systems that enable a public health approach to protecting children. A key finding of the review is that developing a learning process which encourages continuous improvement and assists the child protection workforce to handle uncertainty is an important feature of the commissioning process for government when seeking to deliver an effective public health approach.
Enabling young people’s participation in residential care decision-making
This brief from the Centre for Excellence in Therapeutic Care discusses what is needed to create genuine participation for young people in residential care. It discusses why youth participation is important and beneficial for designing services, programs and policies in this setting. It also covers a number of different models for participation, and implications for practitioners and organisations in using these approaches.