This collection of articles and presentations from the International Association for Public Participation provide advice and strategies for engaging the community during COVID-19. It focuses particularly on how to use digital methods of engagement in place of face to face contact, which may be useful for those who are wanting to collect data or conduct interviews during this period, as well as those seeking more general advice on how to maintain safe and connected service delivery.
COVID-19: Impact on children living in out-of-home care and their carers
The Australian Journal of Social Issues published a paper on the impacts of COVID-19 on children in out-of-home care and their carers. Findings show negative effects on education, social life, and physical activity for children, but improved relationships within living arrangements. Carers reported challenges in maintaining relationships with birth families and accessing support networks.
CREATE has produced a Position Paper on Transitioning from Care, calling for governments to listen to young people about their care experiences and their suggestions for improvement. It presents data from a range of sources that illustrate the experiences of young people transitioning from care, their life outcomes and the effectiveness of targeted services for these young people, such as the Go your Own Way project.
Creating Engaging Schools for all Children and Young People: What Works
This VCOSS report aims to improve school and student engagement in Victoria. It presents a number of successful examples of engaging schools, and offers seven ‘principles of school engagement’ that can help create an engaging and supportive school culture. Along with school specific examples of good practice in Victoria, the report also acknowledges the system-wide changes needed to support an engaging and inclusive school environment.
Creating jobs, creating opportunity: Tackling long-term unemployment in Australia
This report by Anglicare Australia examines long-term unemployment in Australia, particularly for mature-age job seekers who struggle to secure entry-level jobs needed for re-establishment in the labor market. The data shows that individuals in the highest needs category for employment support spend an average of five years within the system, with low prospects of re-entering the labor market. The report proposes interventions targeting both the demand and supply sides, aiming to create work opportunities and enhance job readiness for better outcomes.
Creating Learning Environments for Youth – Introduction
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.
Evaluators may come across situations where they have to work in a cultural context other than of their own. Culturally competent evaluators not only respect the cultures represented in the evaluation but recognize their own ‘culturally based assumptions’; take into account the ‘differing world view of evaluation stakeholders and target communities’ and select culturally appropriate evaluation options and strategies.
VACCHO publishes evaluation results on Culture and Kinship Program. Evaluation shows $8.29 Social Return on Investment for every dollar invested. Success factors include self-determination and cultural knowledge integration. Relevant for practitioners seeking effective approaches to supporting Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing.
Cyberbullying and adolescent well-being in England: a population-based cross-sectional study
This article examines the prevalence of traditional bullying and cyberbullying in adolescents in England, and assesses its relative effects on mental well-being. The research finds that face-to-face bullying remains most common among teenagers, and that cyberbullying is unlikely to provide a source for new victims. Rather, it is a new avenue for victimisation for those already experiencing traditional forms of bullying.
Data snapshot – Child witnesses of family violence: An examination of Victoria Police family violence data
This report from the Crime Statistics Agency examines the prevalence and outcomes of witnessing family violence for children aged 0-17 in Victoria. It found that over a five-year-period in Victoria, 109,356 family violence incidents occurred with at least one child witness present. Of those child witnesses, over two-thirds were aged 9 years or younger. In 2018-19, over a third of incidents took place in the lowest ranking socio-economic areas in Victoria.
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.
This overview from Better Evaluation looks at the basics of Developmental Evaluation. Developmental Evaluation is an approach that can be used effectively when there is no clear model to evaluate due to a complex and dynamic environment - such as a global health emergency like COVID-19. This resource outlines the basics of this approach and how it can be utilised to develop a continuous improvement loop that supports innovation and adaptation in a changing environment.
Developments to strengthen systems for child protection across Australia
This Australian Institute of family studies (AIFS) paper outlines the latest changes within Australian child protection systems. It draws on a survey completed by child protection departments across Australia on change and reform planned or underway since July 2010.The key challenges faced by Australia’s child protection system include insufficient capacity to meet the quantity and complexity of cases in statutory child protection and out-of-home care (OOHC), failure to improve outcomes for children in OOHC and the over-representation of Aboriginal children in statutory child protection and OOHC.
DHHS Centre for Evaluation and Research – Evaluation Guide
This guide from the Department of Health and Human Services (2017) is designed to support staff in the planning and commissioning of an evaluation. It is suitable for anyone responsible for program development, implementation or evaluation.
Digital inclusion, community development and social justice
The latest episode of the Social Work People Podcast by the Australian Association of Social Workers explores the intersection of social work and digital literacy projects in promoting social and digital inclusion for vulnerable communities.
Do academic preschools yield stronger benefits? Cognitive emphasis, dosage, and early learning
The Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology has published a US study documenting the benefits of
‘academic’ preschool programs that emphasise language, pre-literacy and math concepts. The benefits were sustained throughout kindergarten, and were especially strong for African-American children attending at least 20 hours per week. This study offers important insights into the ideal amount of time spent in preschool, and the types of classroom activities that may support cognitive development.
Do childhood experiences of parental separation lead to homelessness?
This Melbourne Institute paper examines the relationship between parental separation and homelessness using Journey’s Home (JH), a dataset of disadvantaged Australians. The study finds a substantial causal effect between parental separation and entry into homelessness, particularly if the separation occurred before the respondent was 12 years old. The findings suggest that adolescent girls are more robust to parental separations than adolescent boys and that the effects of parental separations are larger when the parents were formally married.
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.
A report by the London School of Economics provides an update to Does Money Affect Children’s Outcomes? A Systematic Review (2013). It provides further supporting evidence that money in itself is important for children’s cognitive development, physical health and educational achievement, distinct from other factors such as parental education. The authors found that poorer children have worse outcomes in part because they are poor and not only because of other factors that are associated with low income. The study found that reducing income poverty and inequality is likely to have a significant impact on children’s environment and on their development.
Doing good business: A resource for researchers about conducting research with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children about family violence.
This research tool, prepared by staff at the ACU Institute of Child Protection Studies (ICPS) is designed for people who may be interested in funding or conducting research with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children on the topic of family violence. Its guidance is informed by the views of Indigenous researchers, research ethics committee members, Elders and senior community members, service providers, parents and young people from remote, rural, regional and urban Australia.
A new report published by ANROWS examines the impact of inter-parental conflict (IPC) and domestic and family violence (DFV) on parenting and parent–child relationships. The report shows that emotional abuse is a serious issue in family breakdowns, and those women at the more extreme end of family violence are experiencing multiple and overlapping types of abuse, including emotional, physical, sexual and financial abuse. The report also found a relationship between the presence of family violence and parenting capacity, satisfaction with parent-child relationships, and child wellbeing. The report concludes with key recommendations to improve policy and practice.
Domestic and family violence perpetrator screening and risk assessment in Queensland: Current practice and future opportunities
The Australian Institute of Criminology study explores how service systems encountering domestic and family violence (DFV) approach screenings and risk assessments of perpetrators. The study reveals variations in practices across child protection, mental health, substance abuse, and corrections services, highlighting the need for better training and support for frontline staff. This emphasises the importance of addressing DFV comprehensively and enhancing screening processes to include perpetrator considerations.
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.
Early Years Transitions: Supporting children and families at risk of experiencing vulnerability: Rapid literature review
This literature review conducted by the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) seeks to understand how Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) services, professionals and teachers can support children in key transitions stages, particularly their entry into primary school. The review focuses on the transition support needs of children affected by trauma, children living in out of home care (OOHC) and children with a refugee background. It presents the most recent research to shed light on best practice. It highlights the importance of forging meaningful partnerships and providing ongoing support for the professional development of ECEC professionals and teachers.
Early Years transitions: Supporting children and families at risk of experiencing vulnerability: Rapid literature review
The Victorian Department of Education and Training (DET) engaged the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) and Brotherhood of St Laurence to conduct a literature review on supporting children and families at risk of experiencing vulnerability during their transitions from home, out-of-home care or other programs into early childhood education and care (ECEC) services and school. The review focuses on the needs of children who have experienced trauma, children living in out-of-home care, refugee children and children experiencing intergenerational poverty. The report recommends stronger collaboration between a range of services, such as health and welfare services, ECEC institutions and schools.
Economic Abuse between Intimate Partners in Australia: Prevalence, Health Status, Disability and Financial Stress
Economic abuse is a form of domestic violence that has a significant impact on the health and financial wellbeing of victims. However, economic abuse between intimate partners remains a largely under-researched topic in Australia. This study aims to provide a national picture of the prevalence of economic abuse within the general population by determining the prevalence by age and gender, and identifying associated risk factors. The study found financial stress and disability to be significant indicators of economic abuse in the home.
Economic insecurity and intimate partner violence in Australia during the COVID-19 pandemic
ANROWS has released this report containing a detailed examination of the relationship between economic insecurity and intimate partner violence (IPV) and investigates whether risk factors relating to economic insecurity have been influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic. The research found that, consistent with other Australian and international research, there was clear evidence that the acute economic stressors associated with the COVID-19 pandemic were associated with the onset and escalation of IPV.
Economic volatility in childhood and subsequent adolescent mental health problems: a longitudinal population-based study of adolescents
The aim of this paper was to explore the relationship between exposure to low family income during childhood, and symptoms of mental health problems in adolescence. By using a range of outcome measures, the researchers determined that exposure to poverty in childhood was found to be associated with most mental health problems in adolescence, suggesting the need for targeted early interventions to support families to overcome poverty.
Educate Australia fair? Education inequality in Australia
New research from the Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre assesses the extent to which Australians are afforded equal opportunity through education, according to key demographics. The report identifies stark contrasts between the most and least disadvantaged in families in Australia. For example, Aboriginal children are 40% less likely to finish high school than non-Aboriginal children, and children born in remote Australia are one third as likely to go to university, compared to children born in a major city.
Education and employment outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
In 2007, the Commonwealth, states and territories agreed to work towards ‘closing the gap’ in various domains of Indigenous disadvantage. This audit assesses whether Queensland is reducing the gap in education and employment outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The audit findings show that the Department of Education and Training (DET) has improved Year 12 attainment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. However, this has not been translated into improvement in employment rates for young people. The audit describes DETs ongoing challenges to improving outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and highlights the centrality of community involvement and cultural recognition in schools.
Education at a Glance: OECD Indicators provides comprehensive data on the state of education around the world. The publication examines quality of learning outcomes; provides information about the financial and human resources invested in education; access and participation in education; and the learning environment and organisation of schools. The report includes all 35 OECD countries and a number of partner countries These indicators can be compared internationally and used to assist governments to develop more effective and equitable education systems.
Education Endowment Foundation – Teaching and Learning Toolkit
The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) is an independent charity dedicated to breaking the link between family income and educational achievement. This resource features evidence summaries, tools, projects and case studies.
Educational engagement of children and young people in out of home care in NSW
This report from the Association of Children's Welfare Agencies (ACWA) gives a snapshot of the level of engagement in education of children and young people in out-of-home care in New South Wales. Children living in OOHC experience higher levels of educational disengagement. One in five school-aged children and young people in care are absent from school at any given time and one in three school-aged children and young people in care did not have an Individual Education Plan.
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.
Educators’ understanding of young children’s typical and problematic sexual behaviour and their training in this area
A new research report investigating primary school teachers’ experiences with children's problematic sexual behaviours has been released. The report reveals that many teachers feel that they need more support and training to identify and respond to problematic sexual behaviour in children. Eighty-nine per cent of teachers surveyed felt there should be a specific course to better prepare them for these incidences.
This Learning Policy Institute report details key elements of effective professional development programs. It offers robust descriptions of high-quality programs to inform education leaders and policymakers who want to use professional development to improve student learning outcomes.
Effectively engaging stakeholders and the public in developing violence prevention messages
This study explores the ways in which stakeholders and the wider public can be effectively engaged when developing and communicating violence prevention messages. It emphasises the need for clear and consistent messaging, and evidence informed approach informed by past experiences.
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.
Effects of child maltreatment, cumulative victimisation experiences, and proximal life stress on adult crime and antisocial behaviour
New research funded by the US Department of Justice seeks to understand the processes through which child abuse leads to antisocial and criminal behaviour in later life. Participants were drawn from the Lehigh Longitudinal Study, one of the longest running national studies examining the long-term effects of child abuse and neglect. Results showed that childhood abuse increased the risk of adulthood crime by promoting antisocial behaviour during childhood and adolescence, followed by the formation of relationships with antisocial partners and peers in adulthood.
Effects of poverty on interacting biological systems underlying child development
The experience of poverty in early childhood can have far-reaching impacts on children’s health and development. Children experiencing poverty are often exposed to multiple risk factors, which interact to shape their neurocognitive development. This paper explores the complex interaction of risk factors such as malnutrition and psychological stress, and the ways in which they can effect neural development and functioning.
Emerging evidence, insights and lessons: News media and the primary prevention of violence against women and their children
This report from Our Watch explores the role that media can play in preventing violence against women and children. It highlights the link between media reporting and community attitudes towards violence against women, and the tendency for news media to blame victims. The report suggests a number of practices that could improve the situation for women and children, including training for journalists and students and cross sector collaboration.
Emerging Minds has launched a podcast series on families and parenting, featuring discussions with practitioners and experts. Topics covered include post-flood support, childhood neurodivergence, and learning new parenting methods. This series provides valuable insights for practitioners working with families and highlights diverse parenting challenges and strategies.
Empirical guidance on the effects of child sexual abuse on memory and complainants’ evidence
New research describes how memory can affect child sexual abuse prosecutions. This report summarises research findings that ‘common sense’ beliefs about memory, often held by police, lawyers, judges, juries and community members, has not been consistent with scientific knowledge about memory. The research is intended to contribute to the development of guidance for lawyers, magistrates, judges, juries and police.