A fairer future for grandchildren: Understanding the impact of the caring role on grandparents raising their grandchildren

Report, Carers, Report

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 National Comparison of Carer Screening, Assessment, Selection and Training and Support in Foster Care, Kinship and Residential Care

Out of Home Care (OOHC), Report

A new report from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse examines carer recruitment, training and support policies and processes in Australia that aim to enhance the safety of children in out-of-home care (OOHC) and prevent sexual abuse. The research found that considerable attention is paid to the issue of child sexual abuse in OOHC. However, a number of significant barriers to preventing child sexual abuse are identified, including difficulties in attracting and retaining quality foster carers, a limited pool of residential care workers and high staff turnover. Another key issue highlighted by the research was the challenge of providing training and support to carers who live in rural and remote areas.

Accommodating transition: Improving housing outcomes for young people leaving OHC

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

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.

Amplify report: Turning up the volume on young people and family violence

Family Violence, Young People, Report, Policy, Report

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.

Australia’s child support scheme: Third interim report

Report, Inquiry, Family Law, Child Support, 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.

Reconciliation Australia has released its biennial Australian Reconciliation Barometer. The report offers a snapshot of attitudes and perceptions towards reconciliation in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and the broader Australian community. Almost all Australians (97% Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians and 89% Australians in the general community) believe their relationship is important. Though there have been significant strides towards reconciliation challenges persist. In the six months prior to the survey, 46% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders experienced at least one form of racial prejudice. The report makes recommendations to government, community and individuals to make reconciliation a reality, including investment in public anti-racism campaigns and constitutional recognition.

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.

Australia’s welfare 2021: In brief

Report, COVID-19, Welfare, Report

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.

Children’s voices in a changing world: 2021 UNICEF Australia Young Ambassador report

Report, Children, COVID-19, Research, Data, 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.

Closing the Gap: Prime Minister’s Report 2017

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, Report

The Prime Minister has delivered the ninth annual report addressing the Closing the Gap targets. The report recognises that changes are on the way; however, Australia is failing on six out of seven key measures. A new target for Indigenous 4 year olds enrolled in early childhood education is 95 per cent by 2025. The data shows that in 2015, 87% of all Indigenous children were enrolled in early childhood education the year before full-time school. Though improvements have been made in reading and numeracy for Indigenous students, this target is not on track. Last year, 640 more children needed to read at the Year 3 benchmark to halve the gap. We must look at the evidence to find effective solutions and focus on empowering and building the capacity of local communities.

Core care conditions for children and families: Implications for integrated child and family services

Families and parenting, Report, Children, Research, Report

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.

Counting the cost to families: Assessing childcare affordability in Australia

Families and parenting, Report, Children, Data, Report

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.

Critical interpretive synthesis: Child protection involvement for families with domestic and family violence, alcohol and other drug issues, and mental health issues

Family Violence, Mental Health, Alcohol and Other Drugs, Report, Child Protection, Report

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.

Developing holistic integrated early learning services for young children and families experiencing socio-economic vulnerability

Evidence-Based Program, Report, Children, Research, Family Services, Report

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.

Dropping off the edge 2021: Persistent and multilayered disadvantage in Australia

Report, Disadvantaged Communities, Report

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.

Enabling the public health approach to protecting children

Report, Review, Child Protection, Report

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.

Families in Australia survey – Towards COVID normal: Report no. 2 – Employment & work-family balance in 2020

Families and parenting, Report, Report

The Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) has released this report examining families’ experiences of work at the end of 2020. A key finding was that mothers were more likely to make work arrangements that allow for the care of children with 57% of employed partnered mothers and 9% of employed partnered fathers using part-time work to help care for children.

Final evaluation of Independent Family Advocacy and Support (IFAS) pilot

Evaluation, Report, Family Services, Child Protection, Report

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.

Final report: Inquiry into homelessness in Australia

Report, Research, Homelessness, Data, Inquiry, Recommendations, Report

The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs has released its final report into homelessness in Australia. The inquiry examined the causes of and contributing factors to homelessness, opportunities for early intervention to prevent homelessness, support services for Australians experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness, and governance and funding arrangements. The report makes 35 recommendations.

Improving young Australians’ literacy and numeracy: The Catch-Up Learning program

Education, Evaluation, Report, Student Wellbeing, Report

The Smith Family has released this evaluation of The Catch-Up Learning pilot program, a 20-week online tutoring program delivered one-on-one by qualified teachers for financially disadvantaged students struggling with literacy and numeracy. The evaluation assessed the program’s impact on student engagement and the extent to which literacy and numeracy improved. It found that 86 per cent of students showed above expected progress in either literacy or numeracy, and the program strengthened students’ love of learning. Four small modifications were identified that could strengthen the program and student outcomes moving forward.

Income support receipt for young people transitioning from out-of-home care

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

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) has released this report presenting data on the prevalence of income support receipt among young people transitioning from care. The study found that time in out-of-home care is associated with higher levels of income support receipt, with care leavers in young adulthood three times as likely as their peers who have not been in care to receive income support.

Income support receipt for young people transitioning from out-of-home care

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

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) has released this report presenting data on the prevalence of income support receipt among young people transitioning from care. The study found that time in out-of-home care is associated with higher levels of income support receipt, with care leavers in young adulthood three times as likely as their peers who have not been in care to receive income support.

The Joint Standing Committee on the National Disability Insurance Scheme has released its inquiry report on independent assessments. The Committee found that good policy processes were not followed in the proposal to introduce independent assessments, which should have been subject to extensive consultation, trials and pilots to address issues prior to implementation. The report makes six recommendations.

Inquiry into responses to historical forced adoption in Victoria

Report, Inquiry, Forced Adoption, Report

This inquiry report from the Legislative Assembly Legal and Social Issues Committee investigates support services and responses to the issue of historical forced adoptions in Victoria and considers how individuals’ needs can be supported further. The inquiry found that mental health and emotional support services in Victoria are not effectively responding to the needs of people affected by historical forced adoption. The report makes 56 recommendations.

Inquiry report – ParentsNext: Examination of Social Security (Parenting payment participation requirements–class of persons) Instrument 2021

Education, Families and parenting, Report, Inquiry, Legislative Framework, Report

The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights has released the report of its inquiry into the Social Security (Parenting payment participation requirements–class of persons) Instrument 2021. The Committee found that mandatory participation in ParentsNext, which can result in the suspension or cancelation of a parent’s social security payment, limits the rights of the child, and recommends that the program be made voluntary.

Intimate partner violence during the COVID-19 pandemic: A survey of women in Australia

Report, COVID-19, Research, Women, Intimate partner violence, Report

Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety (ANROWS) has released this report examining whether there was an escalation of intimate partner violence (IPV) during the COVID-19 pandemic. The research found that respondents were experiencing either first-time violence or patterns of ongoing violence which escalated in frequency and severity during the COVID-19 pandemic. It also found that a significant proportion of respondents who sought help were unable to access assistance due to safety concerns, which left many at risk and without access to support services.

It’s not our difference that is the disability: Impact of COVID-19 in Australia on children and young people with disability, and their families

Disability, Families and parenting, Young People, Report, Children, Literature Review, Report, Literature Review

ARACY has released this report outlining the results of a literature review on the impacts of COVID-19 on children with disability and their families in Australia, and findings from two policy roundtables. The review found that the pandemic exacerbated many of the problems already faced by families with disability, with children younger than school-age being the most negatively affected.

Joint Select Committee on Australia’s Family Law System: Final report

Report, Inquiry, Family Law, Child Support, Report

The Joint Select Committee on Australia’s Family Law System has released its final report inquiring into the family law and child support systems. The report makes four recommendations to supplement those included in the previous three reports.

Locked out: Vaccination discrimination for children and young people with disability

Disability, Young People, Report, Children, COVID-19, Case Study, Vaccination, Report, Case Study

This report from the Public Service Research Group at the University of New South Wales and Children and Young People with Disability Australia (CYDA) used survey data to investigate the COVID-19 vaccination experiences of children and young people with disability. The study found that 62 per cent of respondents were parents or carers who experienced difficulties and barriers in vaccinating their child or children with disability. The report concludes that support to make sure that children with disability can access an appropriate vaccination experience is crucial to prevent high levels of severe disease.

Mental health and suicide prevention: Final report

Mental Health, Report, Suicide Prevention, Report

The House of Representatives Select Committee on Mental Health and Suicide Prevention has released the final report of its inquiry into mental health and suicide prevention. The report assessed the current landscape, reviewed the recommendations already before the Australian Government, and examined the gaps. Key areas of focus included COVID-19 and recent natural disasters, accessibility, virtual mental health care, workforce, funding, building the evidence base, and social determinants of health and wellbeing. The report makes 44 recommendations.

Migrant and refugee women in Australia: The safety and security study

Family Violence, Report, Data, Women, Migrants, Refugees, Report

The Harmony Alliance and Monash University have released this report investigating migrant and refugee women’s safety with a focus on family violence, help-seeking and trust in institutions, and employment. Survey data from 1,392 migrant and refugee women across Australia shows that 33 per cent of respondents had experienced family violence, and among respondents who were employed in 2019, 10 per cent lost their jobs due to COVID-19. The report includes implications for policy and practice.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Racism, racial discrimination and child and youth health: A rapid evidence synthesis

Young People, Report, Children, Data, Racism, Report, Database

Australian National University and Murdoch Children’s Research Institute have prepared this rapid evidence synthesis on racism and child and youth health. The report finds that children are particularly vulnerable to the impact of racism, including differential access to socioeconomic resources, increased exposure to risk factors for poor health, and by affecting behaviour and physiological and psychological wellbeing in ways that compromise health outcomes.

Reaching potential: Experiences of young people with significant intellectual disability

Disability, Young People, Report, Report

This report from Social Ventures Australia investigates the experiences of young people with intellectual disability, focusing on those with more significant support needs. The study identified six themes: rich and diverse aspirations, a meaningful life of education, work and community participation, a secure future, a robust disability service system, healthy living, and community attitudes. The report identifies system gaps that are driving challenges for young people with intellectual disability and uses case studies to elevate their perspectives with the aim of driving systems change.

Reducing relationship and sexual violence: Findings from reviews about the effectiveness of respectful relationships and bystander programs in school and tertiary education settings

Education, Evaluation, Report, Sexual Violence, Report

ANROWS has released this research report as part of the What works: Overviews of reviews series. It examines the effectiveness of respectful relationships and bystander programs in schools and tertiary education settings. The overview of the evidence from systematic reviews found promising results in the areas of improving attitudes and increasing knowledge, however the results were mixed when considering whether the programs reduced violence. The report contains key factors associated with increased effectiveness.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) has released this web report providing baseline data from a new national data collection on the safety and abuse of children in care. The report found that 1,442 children were the subject of a substantiation of abuse in care, of whom 46 per cent were Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. The AIHW will undertake ongoing monitoring and reporting of this issue, with improvements and expansion of data collection taking place over time.

Strong carers, stronger children – Victorian Carer Strategy: Findings of the home-based carer census

Report, Children, Research, Data, Carers, Policy, Report

Ernst & Young Sweeney has released this report outlining the findings of a census of home-based carers that aimed to increase understanding of the profile of carers in Victoria and their experiences and needs. The study shows that more than nine in ten carers are confident in their ability to provide care and over four-fifths are confident to support children to maintain cultural connection. The insights gained from this research can assist with improvements to policy and practice to better support carers and children.

Supporting women and children experiencing family and domestic violence: The Zonta House impact report

Family Violence, Report, Children, Research, Women, Report

Zonta House is an organisation offering holistic services across nine service arms, based in Perth. The Centre for Social Impact at the University of Western Australia has released this report analysing the impact of Zonta House programs and services for women and children experiencing family violence. The report found that these services contributed to breaking the cycle of family violence for the majority of women, while also supporting improvements in wellbeing more broadly.

The Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth (ARACY) has released this report containing results from the first 12 months of the ei Pulse wellbeing check-in tool. The ei Pulse tool uses an app to track Australian student’s wellbeing in real time. Once a week, students aged 10 years and over are asked how they are feeling and are then asked a selection of five evidence-based questions from a pool of 130 wellbeing questions. The report found that on average, 66 per cent of students felt ‘positive’ or ‘great’ each week, however 42 per cent said they worry a lot about mistakes they make. The tool is intended to improve student’s wellbeing literacy and the findings will allow schools to engage in continuous improvement to better support student wellbeing.

Te Mātātaki 2021: Findings from the 2019/2020 survey of tamariki and rangatahi in care

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

This report from Oranga Tamariki (Ministry for Children) in New Zealand seeks to better understand the experiences of tamariki (children) and rangatahi (young people) in care. A census approach was used to conduct the survey so that all tamariki and rangatahi between 10 and 17 years of age who had been in care for more than 31 days had the opportunity to participate, resulting in a participation rate of 84 per cent. A key finding was that 97 per cent indicated that the adults they live with look after them well, with 81 per cent indicating that this was all of the time. Based on the feedback, priority areas for action are identified.

Technology-facilitated abuse: A survey of support services stakeholders

Report, Research, Abuse, Support Workers, Report

This report from Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety (ANROWS) explores the extent and nature of, and responses to, technology-facilitated abuse in Australia. Drawing on the results of a national survey of 338 support services workers, the report finds that technology-facilitated abuse is a prevalent and growing issue that presents significant barriers to help-seeking. A range of implications for policy and practice are outlined, including the need for training to improve service responses.

Telepractice in family work study: The pixelated experiences of workers and managers

Report, Case Study, Family Workers, Report, Case Study

This report from Southern Cross University explores the experiences of family workers and managers engaged in telepractice to develop understanding of family work using online technologies. The study finds that telepractice offers a range of benefits and drawbacks for clients and the workforce, suggesting it is suited to use within a suite of practice methods rather than as a replacement for face-to-face engagement.

The first year of Covid-19: Initial outcomes of our collective care for low-income children in Aotearoa New Zealand

Poverty, Report, Children, COVID-19, Data, New Zealand, Report

Child Poverty Action Group has released this report reviewing available data sources to determine the impacts of the pandemic and government action/inaction on low-income children in New Zealand. A key finding is that tamariki Māori were 2.5 to 3 times more likely than Pākehā (white) children to have been pushed into poverty in the year prior to March 2021. The report concludes that structural investments by government are needed to ensure the long-term wellbeing of children and their families and must centre Māori guidance.

The Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia survey: Selected findings from waves 1 to 19

Report, Data, Survey, Economic Wellbeing, Family Life, Report

The Melbourne Institute has released the 16th annual Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey report. The data and findings are presented using the following topics: households and family life, household economic wellbeing, the labour market, unpaid work, housing mobility, psychological distress, retirement, time stress, self-control, and attitudes towards marriage, parenting and work. A key finding is that women continue to do more unpaid work than men, however the gap has reduced since 2002.