This article, published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, investigates the relative amount of funded awarded by Australian government research agencies to research focused on parenting interventions. The article found that in the period from 2011 to 2020, only 0.25 per cent of the total research budget allocated by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and the Australian Research Council (ARC) was allocated to parenting intervention research. This low funding commitment is out of step with the high positive impacts of improved parenting for children.
A waitlist intervention for transgender young people and psychosocial outcomes
This article, published in Pediatrics, investigates the impact of the First Assessment Single-Session Triage clinic, a waitlist intervention and demand management model of care for transgender young people and their families waiting to access specialist gender services. The study found that compared with a control group, transgender young people supported by this model experienced improvements in depression and quality of life.
How do leaders enable and support the implementation of evidence-based programs and evidence-informed practice in child welfare? A systematic literature review
This article, published in Human Service Organizations: Management, Leadership & Governance, explores how leaders in child welfare organisations can best support the implementation of evidence-based approaches to deliver ‘what works’ to improve outcomes for children and families. A systematic review identified 12 articles and finds that leaders achieve this by providing vision, cultivating organisational culture, proactive planning and investment, developing capabilities, and maintaining relationships required to enable implementation.
Intervention programme for fathers who use domestic and family violence: Results from an evaluation of Caring Dads
This article, published in Child & Family Social Work, presents the findings of an evaluation of Caring Dads, a Men’s Behaviour Change Program trialled in two Australian locations. The study had a small sample size (40 fathers and 17 mothers) however findings aligned with previous evaluations of the program. The evaluation found positive improvements for mothers in their self-perceived level of safety, experiences of domestic and family violence, and in respectful communication.
Maltreatment Risk among Children with Disabilities
Researchers analysed data relating to 524,534 children born in Western Australia during 1990-2010 for the study, Maltreatment Risk among Children with Disabilities. The findings show that children with disabilities are at increased risk of child maltreatment. While children with disabilities make up 10.4% of the total WA population, they account for 1 in 4 maltreatment allegations and 1 in 3 substantiated allegations. This study contributes to the knowledge base about the range of issues faced by children in the child protection system and highlights the need for interagency collaboration to ensure children’s complex needs are met.
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.
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
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.
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).
Tensions in the therapeutic relationship: Emotional labour in the response to child abuse and neglect in primary healthcare
This study, published in BMC Primary Care, sought to understand how GPs and nurses experience the response to child abuse in primary healthcare. The study found that mandatory reporting obligations created significant emotional labour at the internal, organisational and systemic levels as participants struggled to maintain the therapeutic relationship. The article concludes with strategies that can be employed to reduce the labour burden, which can also be applied by other workforces with mandatory reporting obligations.
Where is the village? Care leaver early parenting, social isolation and surveillance bias
This article, published in the International Journal on Child Maltreatment, investigates care leaver early parenting in Victoria, Australia. The researchers interviewed service providers to gather insight into the factors that lead to a high prevalence of early parenting among care leavers, and the services that are available and necessary to assist young parents and their children. The study found that care leavers experience unique challenges arising from their care experience that impact their means to safely raise children, necessitating improved transition supports and parenting supports.