This article, published in Child & Family Social Work, explores how child protection practitioners in Australia understand children’s participation. The study found differing understandings among practitioners and suggested a number of systemic changes that are needed to support consistent and meaningful participation.
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.
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.
Final evaluation of Independent Family Advocacy and Support (IFAS) pilot
RMIT University has released this report evaluating the IFAS pilot program delivered by Victoria Legal Aid. IFAS provides non-legal advocacy and support to parents and primary carers who are involved in the investigation stage of the child protection system with the primary aim of diverting families from the child protection system. The evaluation found a high level of satisfaction among clients and estimates that 20 per cent of clients are diverted from court. A cost-benefit analysis found that around $3.52 is saved by the Victorian Government for every $1 spent on IFAS.
New ways for our families: Designing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural practice framework and system responses to address the impacts of domestic and family violence on children and young people
This report from Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety (ANROWS) is the first of two reports that will explore how services and systems can better respond to the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people experiencing domestic and family violence (DFV) who come to the attention of child protection systems. The evidence review found that the voices of Aboriginal children are largely silent in the literature despite the extensive impacts of DFV on their lives and that this concerning outcome is driven by a service system focused on adults.
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.
Trends and needs in the Australian child welfare workforce: An exploratory study
This report from the Institute of Child Protection Studies at Australian Catholic University explores emerging trends, issues and needs in the child welfare workforce and the educational profile of this workforce. The study found that the tertiary component of the child welfare workforce within jurisdictional statutory welfare agencies is predominantly tertiary-qualified, however limitations in data availability prevented a more detailed analysis. The report concludes that the workforce is facing significant challenges that are getting in the way of a transition to a public health model of child welfare provision in Australia.