This Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health study provides valuable insights for practitioners in child and family services. It examines child protection contact among culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) children in South Australia and reveals a higher likelihood compared to non-CALD children. Practitioners can benefit from this research as it emphasises the importance of targeting support within the child protection system to address the specific challenges that CALD children and their families face.
Child sexual abuse in Australian institutional contexts 2008-13: Findings from administrative data
The purpose of this project is to identify the data holdings that currently exist on present-day allegations of child sexual abuse in institutional contexts in Australia. It aims to extract from the available data, important insights about the nature extent of child sexual abuse in institutional contexts. Data from each state and territory are examined and it is found that police data was the most useful source of information to explore the nature and extent of child sexual abuse in institutional contexts.
Child sexual abuse in institutional contexts: The reliability of police data, nature and allegations reported to police, and factors driving reporting rates
This research undertaken for the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse aims to determine the nature of reports to police concerning institutional child sexual abuse (ICSA), and the drivers behind different reporting rates in different Australian jurisdictions. Findings included that ICSA accounts for approximately 5% of all child sexual abuse in all jurisdictions, for male and female victims; and schools were overwhelmingly the most common institutional context for reported ICSA.
Child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church: An interpretive review of the literature and public inquiry reports
This research project conducted by RMIT University reviews the literature concerning child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church in Australia and elsewhere, including 26 prominent international and Australian inquiry reports. The study suggests that mandatory celibacy and a culture of secrecy created by popes and bishops were major factors that contributed to such high rates of child abuse within the Catholic Church.
Child sexual exploitation: How public health can support prevention and intervention
Public Health England (PHE) has released a literature search identifying the most up to date international research about effective interventions to prevent child sexual exploitation. The paper presents a comprehensive list of the latest research, with a brief description of each study. This literature search will be useful for research teams to use as a guide to recent literature on child sexual abuse, and practitioners and other groups interested in these themes.
Childcare Use and Its Role in Indigenous Child Development: Evidence from the Longitudinal Study of Indigenous Children in Australia
This paper uses data from the Longitudinal Study of Indigenous Children to map patterns of childcare use and its effects on the learning and development of Indigenous children. The authors maintain that relatively disadvantaged children might benefit from attending childcare, but suggests that future research should investigate whether the quality of early childhood education is associated with positive cognitive outcomes for Indigenous children from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Childcare, Mobility Decisions and ‘Staggered’ Migration
This paper explores how the uncertainty related to long-term migration affects migrants’ decisions about their children and care. The paper draws data from in-depth interviews with Asian migrants living in Australia who have experienced ‘staggered’ migration. Participants dealt with three key decisions in relation to their children and care: whether to bring their children to Australia; whether to leave their children at home or send them back home; and, whether to leave Australia as a family and move back home with their children. Feelings of temporariness and uncertainty were common in these households.
The NSW Legislative Council has released a report on childhood overweight and obesity. It details the structural factors that help determine a child’s weight, and provides compelling recommendations related to urban planning, cost and accessibility of organised sport and food labelling.
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 the Data Cycle: Rights and Ethics in a Big Data World
With the continually increasing collection of ‘big data’ across the globe, the protection of children’s’ rights is becoming increasingly complex and challenging. In this report, UNICEF calls for a greater appreciation of the links between children’s rights, ethics and data collection. Though the collection of big data presents many opportunities, the international community must address any concerns about how to protect and respect fundamental rights, particularly those of vulnerable children.
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 and young people’s mental health —the role of education
Schools have a significant role in promoting and protecting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing. The UK Health and Education Select Committees have published findings from their joint inquiry into the role of education in promoting emotional wellbeing in children and young people in the UK. The report recommends a whole of school approach to embed the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people in school culture. It is also important that teachers receive training in mental health issues and how to respond to them.
The latest issue of Children Australia includes a range of articles about social work practice and children experiencing vulnerability, including articles about the leadership of young people in family violence prevention, the engagement of refugee families in early childhood services, and the therapeutic supports required for child to recover from family violence.
Parental mental illness affects roughly 23% of Australian children. In light of this statistic, Response Ability has developed a fact sheet that outlines the ways in which parenting capacity may be impacted, and the social and emotional implications for children. The resource provides tips and guidelines for educators to help prevent children of parents with a mental illness from experiencing learning and development difficulties. Educators and teachers are identified as key contact points through which children and families can access mental health support.
Children’s participation in child protection—How do practitioners understand children’s participation in practice?
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.
Children’s Report: ‘Take notice, believe us and act!’
This report presents the perspectives of 59 children and young people from Tasmanian schools, out-of-home care, and youth detention on safety in government-run organisations. Valuable for practitioners seeking insights on child safety in institutional settings.
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 television viewing and multi-screen behaviour: Analysis of 2005–16
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has released a report looking at Children’s television viewing and multi-screen behaviour. It provides insights into viewing practices and habits of Australian children, and information about parental attitudes, including content concerns. Parents are finding it increasingly difficult to monitor or limit their children’s viewing, as the number of media devices they have access to increase.
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.
Clear Horizon offers a range of tools and resources specific to monitoring and evaluation to measure the impact and achievement of project outcomes. These include the Most Significant Change Technique and Collaborative Outcomes Reporting.
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.
The 2022 Commonwealth Closing the Gap Annual Report by the Productivity Commission highlights nine updated socioeconomic outcomes. Four are improving, including healthy birthweight and preschool enrolment, while five are not on track, including developmental milestones and adult imprisonment. The report also provides progress updates on priority reform targets.
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.
Clusters of COVID-19 impact: Identifying the impact of COVID-19 on young Australians in 2021
This collaborative piece by Orygen and Mission Australia presents the findings of a 2021 survey of Australians aged 15 to 19 years. The study identifies aspects of their lives that were most negatively impacted by lockdowns and the groups who were most affected by COVID-19 and associated lockdowns. The study also makes recommendations for policy and practice.
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.
Co-Design for Authentic Participation and Family Centred-Practice: Penny Hagen
OPEN organised this Knowledge Building workshop where Dr. Penny Hagen from the Auckland Co-design Lab shared approaches that are participatory, gentle and respectful in order to bring less privileged perspectives to the surface in complex conversations.
Monash University’s Gender and Family Violence Program has produced a research brief on the topic of coercive control. This briefing paper brings together research regarding coercive control to support prevention and intervention efforts. Coercive control is understood as a gendered pattern of behaviour using the tactics of intimidation, control and degradation to take away the victim’s freedom. This paper offers brief recommendations for practice as these relate to police and criminal justice responses.
Collaboration and co-design when evaluating intergenerational trauma projects
This brief article outlines how co-design and collaboration shapes the work of the Healing Foundation. It explores how concepts of collaboration and co-design fit with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, and provides a list of further resources for those who want to know more about best practice in this area.
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.
Commissioning cost-effective services for promotion of mental health and wellbeing and prevention of mental ill-health
A report released by Public Health England looks at mental health intervention models and programs, and their associated costs and benefits. The interventions considered include school based programs to prevent bullying and those aimed at preventing depression in children and young people. One program examined was the KiVA program, a school-based anti-bullying program used in the majority of schools in Finland. The program was found to be particularly effective in reducing cyber bullying.
Community Based Prevention of Violence Against Women and Their Children: A Toolkit for Practitioners
Ourwatch has launched an evidence-based toolkit for practitioners and community service organisations to engage their community to prevent violence against women. It addresses the gendered drivers of violence against women and provides a suite of strategies to help practitioners respond to them. The toolkit encourages a tailored approach to prevention that is community driven and specific.
Community schools: An evidence-based strategy for equitable school improvement
A recent review of research studies and evaluations has shown that community schools can be successful in improving school outcomes and childhood learning. This is found to be particularly true in schools with a high level of poverty. This brief, prepared by the Learning Policy Institute and the National Education Policy Center, highlights the benefits of community schools partnering with local agencies and government to provide an integrated and holistic approach to academics, health and community development.
Comparative perspectives on family day care: Structure, regulation and research gaps
Family Day Care Australia (FDCA) commissioned the Social Policy Research Centre to examine the regulations and funding processes surrounding family day care in New Zealand and the UK. By examining international examples of funding and regulation for ECEC, Australia can gain insight into how it can design its own family day care services to be more flexible and of a higher quality. The report notes a lack of information available about the kinds of integrated and innovative practices currently in place in Australia. In light of this, the report proposes a research agenda for Australian family day care.
Compliance with and enforcement of family law parenting orders: Final report
This Australian National Research Organisation for Women's Safety report details findings from a research program focusing on compliance and enforcement of family law parenting orders. The report found decision-making process did not include children and young people's voices and systemic issues in the family law system and may be relevant for family and law services.
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.
Concepts of community: Young people’s concerns, views and experiences
This report presents the findings from Mission Australia’s Youth Survey 2016 with respondents grouped according to whether they lived in low, moderate or high socio‐economic status (SES) areas across Australia. The report compares the views and experiences of young people from the three SES areas in relation to selected topics. The three most principal issues identified in the survey were alcohol and drugs (24.5%), equity and discrimination (23.2%), and mental health (17.6%). The findings of the survey can inform the development of policies and programs for young people, especially those from low SES areas.
In this activity young people are encouraged to fill in the page with words or pictures identifying different points of connection at various levels. This will open up conversations about a young person’s place in the world and encourage them to see themselves as one part of a connected network of support. If a young person doesn’t have strong connections in “Family”, they may be led to see that they do have connections elsewhere – perhaps via a connection to nature, culture, or a particular worker or friend.
Considering culture: Building the best evidence-based practices for children of color
The Annie E. Casey Foundation has produced a case study that examines the role of culture in establishing effective, evidence-based programs in African-American communities. The report suggests ways in which organisations can apply evidence-based practices and introduce innovative approaches and programs that respond to the needs of African-Americans. It emphasises that programs which are effective for one group might not be so for another. Success is dependent upon having a strong understanding of the unique cultural environment and on incorporating this understanding into the design and implementation stages of a program. This will also support community buy-in at the early stages of a community program or intervention.
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.
Contexts of disadvantage: Implications for child outcomes
This report uses data from the first five waves of the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC) to examine the links between family, neighbourhood and school level disadvantage and children’s cognitive and social outcomes. It found that to experience any one of family, neighbourhood or school level disadvantage is detrimental to a child’s cognitive and socio-emotional outcomes. The LSAC data suggests that much of the association between disadvantage and child cognitive outcomes can be explained by the incidental influence of disadvantage on the home environment, especially on the amount of time and effort spent by parents on activities that stimulate children’s cognitive abilities.
Cool, beautiful, strange and scary: The online experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and their parents and caregivers
The Office of the eSafety Commissioner's report examines online engagement for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people. It identifies both opportunities and risks, including improved communication and access to information, but also a higher likelihood of negative experiences. It is relevant for practitioners working with Indigenous communities, emphasising the importance of targeted support and online safety awareness.
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.
Core components of public health approaches to preventing child abuse and neglect
This chapter is part of a larger work on child maltreatment and takes a prevention-focused approach to child abuse and neglect by drawing on lessons from the public health sector. The authors argue that a public health approach can help refocus attention on the structural forces affecting families and improving safety and wellbeing outcomes for children.
This resource sheet is designed to inform service providers and practitioners about corporal punishment research and legislation. It outlines recent research literature (from 2000 to 2016) and discusses the use and impact of corporal punishment on children. It explores the factors that influence the use of corporal punishment and provides a summary of alternative disciplinary techniques. Finally, it summarises current legislation regarding the use of corporal punishment as a means of disciplining children in Australia.
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.
Counting the costs of lost opportunity in Australian education
This Mitchell Institute report estimates the economic and social costs linked to early school leaving and not being actively engaged in work and study in the year after completing Year 12. The costs related to disconnection from education affect not only career aspirations, prospects and income, but also influences decision-making in relation to parenting, health and citizenship. The cost to taxpayers of having 38,000 19-year-olds – about one in four – not achieving their Year 12 certificate is estimated to be $315 million each year and more than $12.6 billion across a lifetime.
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.