This Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report has collated out-of-home care records from 1990-2001 and Centrelink data and provides information about income support payments received while transitioning out of care and beyond.
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.
Indigenous services leading the way for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care
This article in Social Work Education highlights the importance of Indigenous-led out-of-home care services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families. Based on qualitative research, it provides ten directives to non-Indigenous stakeholders, offering guidance on managing mistrust, combating racism, and empowering Indigenous voices. This valuable resource informs practitioners about the need for culturally sensitive and inclusive approaches in supporting Indigenous communities within the child protection system.
Infant-led Research: Privileging Space to See, Hear, and Consider the Subjective Experience of the Infant
In this article, Wendy Bunston, Margarita Frederico and Mary Whiteside present a novel “infant-led” qualitative research methodology which foregrounds the subjective experiences of infants, rather than those their parents and carers. This methodology is nonintrusive and has much to offer social workers working with infants in high risk situations in community, health, and mental health settings.
This collection of infographics published by the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University features accessible infographics accompanied by explanations and links to further resources. These resources will be particularly relevant to practitioners working directly with families and children, as they explain a number of related concepts- including toxic stress, executive function and ACEs (adverse childhood experiences). These infographics can help you identify how these issues might be effecting families, and some approaches you might use to improve their outcomes.
Inpatient care for children and adolescents with mental disorders
This Evidence Check from the Sax Institute synthesises the best available research evidence about when inpatient care is the most effective and appropriate form of care for children and adolescents with moderate to severe mental disorders. Indicators such as risk of self-harm or suicide, poor physical health and family-related characteristics are considered. The report emphasises that developing a comprehensive range of mental health services for children and adolescents should be an important policy focus for Australia.
Inquiry into access to TAFE for learners with disability
The Legislative Assembly Economy and Infrastructure Committee has released its report examining access to TAFE for learners with disability in Victoria. The inquiry found that increasing awareness of what is available and raising learners’ aspirations can encourage access to TAFE for people with disability. It also found that the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and the Victorian Government’s free TAFE scheme have seen increased numbers of people with disability enrolled in TAFE. The report makes 44 recommendations.
Inquiry into children affected by parental incarceration
The Legislative Council Legal and Social Issues Committee have tabled this inquiry in the Victorian Parliament and are awaiting a response from Government. The final report considered parental incarceration, the impacts on children, methods of reducing harm caused to children, government response, increasing children and families’ voices and experiences in the situation, and supports in Victoria for children affected by parental incarceration.
Inquiry into funding and delivery of programs to reduce homelessness
This Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute report investigates the funding and delivery of programs to reduce homelessness in Australia. It finds that the current level of investment is not enough to meet demand. There is evidence of funding diversification in Australia. The paper asserts that alternative models of funding such as social impact investment and social enterprise revenue are likely to influence the funding of homelessness services in the foreseeable future.
Inquiry into responses to historical forced adoption in Victoria
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.
The Legislative Council Legal and Social Issues Committee has released its two-volume report on Victoria’s criminal justice system and the impacts of exposure to the system. The report provides an overview of the system and a statistical and demographic snapshot. It covers crime prevention and early intervention; overrepresentation; policing; victims of crime and their experiences and support needs; charges, bail and remand; courts and sentencing; the prison system and conditions; prison supports and rehabilitation; parole and the post-sentence scheme; judicial appointments; and judicial training and education. It makes 100 recommendations.
Inquiry report – ParentsNext: Examination of Social Security (Parenting payment participation requirements–class of persons) Instrument 2021
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.
Instrumental learning and cognitive flexibility processes are impaired in children exposed to early life stress
This research project aims to understand the impact of severe early stress exposure on learning and cognitive flexibility during adolescence. The results show that adolescents with histories of early stress were impaired in both instrumental learning and cognitive flexibility. Early stress can also have a profound impact on learning, attention and working memory. These finding may be used to guide early intervention programs with at-risk youth.
Inter-parental relationships, conflict and the impacts of poverty
The Early Intervention Foundation has published research exploring the role of parental relationships in families experiencing poverty. The study looks at 13 interventions across the UK aimed at addressing inter-parental conflict to improve child outcomes. It highlights the greater psychological stress that can be experienced by families under economic stress or in poverty, and how this can affect long term outcomes for children. The report argues that embedding relationship support in mainstream services, such as children’s centres or within early intervention systems, has the potential to improve access for families who could benefit most from these interventions.
Intergenerational disadvantage: learning about equal opportunity from social assistance receipt
This Melbourne Institute working paper explores the factors underlying intergenerational disadvantage in Australia. The study looks at the extent to which children are more likely to receive social welfare payments if their parents received welfare payments. The paper finds that young people are 1.8 times more likely to receive social assistance if their parents have a history of receiving social assistance themselves. The intergenerational correlation is particularly strong in the case of disability payments’; highlighting that childhood disadvantage stemming from parental disability is linked to a broad spectrum of adult disadvantage.
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.
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. Many positive results were found and are detailed in the report.
Intimate partner violence during the COVID-19 pandemic: A survey of women in Australia
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.
ANROWS and the Australian Domestic and Family Violence Death Review Network have released this national data analysis report investigating the prevalence of, and characteristics and dynamics that precede, an IPV homicide. A key finding was that of the 311 IPV homicides examined, there were at least 172 children under the age of 18 who survived the homicide involving one, or both, of their parents.
Investigating the mental health of children exposed to domestic and family violence through the use of linked police and health records
In this report Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety (ANROWS) presents findings from a unique set of data collected over a 30-year period in Western Australia. Researchers looked at instances of engagement with mental health agencies for children under the age of 18 who had been exposed to family violence. Key findings are detailed in the report.
The Victorian youth justice advocacy coalition, Smart Justice for Young People (SJ4YP), has published a report aimed at strengthening the understanding of a justice reinvestment approach and exploring how it might be implemented in Victoria. Justice reinvestment is an approach to the criminal justice system that redirects funding away from incarcerating people in youth detention and towards community-based initiatives aimed at addressing the root causes of crime. This report looks at case studies of justice reinvestment in the US, New Zealand and Europe.
Is contact with birth parents beneficial to children in non-kinship foster care? A scoping review of the evidence
This Children and Youth Services Review report analysed the effects of face-to-face contact with birth parents for children in non-kinship foster care from 21 studies. The report provides insights into the variables that encouraged family reunification and improvement in children's wellbeing.
Action for Children in partnership with the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness has released a report exploring the impact of loneliness in children, young people and families. The study shows some people who are more at risk of experiencing loneliness, such as young carers who often feel isolated from their peers, and children in care who have moved away from their family networks. The report looks at the kinds of strategies that can be put in place for those children and young people – from what individuals can do to how government can ensure provide the most effective services into the future.
It takes a Village: Global perspectives about care-experienced parents
This free online international conference features live and pre-recorded sessions from various countries, including the USA, Australia, Israel, South Africa, Ghana, Italy, and Wales. The conference focuses on sharing current research on supporting care leavers' transition to parenthood. Presentations cover topics such as housing needs among care-experienced young parents, the implications of routine practices for pregnant and parenting teens in alternative care, and early pregnancy and parenting experiences of young women who have left care in Ghana and Uganda.
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
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.
Anglicare has released its Jobs Availability Snapshot, which examines the experiences of people with significant barriers to work. It shows that in May 2017, just 15 per cent of all advertised jobs were at the entry-level, a decrease from 22 per cent in 2006. The report also highlights diminishing work security. The number of underemployed Australians increased from 875,200 in 2016 to 1.1 million in 2017. The Snapshot includes a breakdown of State and Territory figures, and finds that there is no jurisdiction in the Australia where there is sufficient suitable jobs for the number of people looking for them. The report then examines job creation programs that promise to improve the prospects for people with significant barriers to work.
Joint Select Committee on Australia’s Family Law System: Final 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.
The purpose of this literature review is to better understand how children and young people engage with the digital world. It highlights best available research on key online trends, emerging issues and their implications
for children and young people. This paper provides a background for researchers, practitioners, and policy makers conducting research, or developing programs, online courses and policies that take a systems approach to the issue.
The School of Social Science at the University of Queensland released this report in December 2021. The report details an empirical study of Keeping Families Together, a supportive housing pilot project for families with a young child experiencing multiple vulnerabilities. The project assisted 20 families and the study found that all families exited homelessness in to housing with 95 per cent maintaining their housing for the duration of the 12-month pilot. The project also achieved reduced interactions with child safety and 31 per cent of families with children in out-of-home care had children returned. The study identified a range of success factors.
The Australian Human Rights Commission has released this report synthesising the views of children, young people and families who were consulted to inform the first five-year action plans of Safe and Supported: The National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children 2021-2031. Participants identified housing, mental health and help with basic needs as the most important supports to help children, young people and families to be safe. The report contains 55 recommended actions.
Keeping Queensland’s children more than safe: Review of the foster care system
In September 2016, the Premier of Queensland requested the Queensland Family and Child Commission to undertake a review of the 'blue card' system, the approval and monitoring processes for foster carers, and pressure points in child protection service delivery. This report sets out the findings and recommendations relating to the Queensland foster care system. The report identifies opportunities to build public confidence, strengthen carer assessment, improve approval and renewal processes, and strengthen safeguards for children in care.
The Royal Children’s Hospital National Child Health Poll has surveyed a sample of 1980 parents of children aged 0-18 years. The findings show that many Australian parents struggle to make healthy food choices for their children for a range of reasons. Many parents find it difficult to know which foods are healthy, particularly when it comes to added sugar. Other barriers to healthy eating habits include preparation time and cost. Parents could benefit from additional resources to help them in making healthy and cost effective meals for their families.
Kids at the Crossroads: Evidence and Policy to Mitigate the Effects of COVID-19
This report from ARACY and UNICEF brings together the first six months of research from their Knowledge Acceleration Hub. It makes evidence-based policy recommendations on how to mitigate negative the effects of COVID-19 on children. This resource outlines what decision-makers need to know to make the best choices for Australia’s children and young people and for the future of the nation as a whole.
This Kids Helpline Australia report outlines the issues affecting children and young people in Australia. In 2016, counsellors responded to over 3,400 contacts each week from children and young people seeking information, support or counselling. The impact of technology continues to create innovation but also concerns about safety. There has been a 151% growth in young people using WebChat over five years.
The Victorian Auditor-General’s Office (VAGO) has released its audit report on the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing (DFFH) kinship care model. The audit examined whether DFFH is supporting timely, stable and quality kinship placements through the model. Results and 12 recommendations that were found are detailed in the report.
The Australian Securities and Investment Commission has developed Knowing Growing Showing; a resource that supports teachers to engage students in financial literacy by connecting with and building upon Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural and community values, world views and lived experiences. The resource is applied in three learning stages: Knowing - what is money?; Growing - money, you and community; Showing - money and enterprise. The resource is aligned to the Australian teaching curriculum, and offers a flexible approach to teaching. It can be adapted for use with cultural groups other than First Australians.
The Swedish Institute for Social Research has published a paper on the variation in living standards of the poorest fifth of children in rich nations. It examines the ‘income packages’ of disadvantaged families with children in those countries and shows the relative impact of different policy interventions on the living standards of disadvantaged children.
ldentifying strategies to better support foster, kinship and permanent carers
This final report collates evidence collected from a collaborative research project into support for carers produced by the Australian Institute of Family Studies and Murawin, an Aboriginal research and evaluation consultancy. The report covers the key challenges, supports available, barriers in accessing these supports, and the effects of COVID-19 on foster, kinship, and permanent carers. The research identifies priority actions to support carers which are detailed in the report.
Learning outcomes in primary school children with emotional problems: A prospective cohort study
This paper in Child and Adolescent Mental Health examines the impact of childhood anxiety and depression on academic performance in Melbourne primary school students. It emphasises the need for collaboration between education and health systems to support children's mental health and academic outcomes, relevant for practitioners in both fields.
Learning through COVID-19: Maximising educational outcomes for Australia’s children and young people experiencing disadvantage – Pillar 3 report
This report from the University of Queensland builds on two previous reports in a series exploring the impact of COVID-19 on learning to present evidence-based options for action to address disadvantage. Evidence-based interventions and programs were identified across core actions within four priority Action Areas: student mental health, wellbeing and hope; future role of teachers, schools and communities; digital equity; and protections for the most vulnerable students. The researchers assessed 65 programs for implementation readiness in the Australian context. The findings reveal key evidence gaps and the report urges government to take action in 16 areas.
Leaving care planning: What are the views of young people in out-of-home care? – March 2021 – Evidence to Action Note
This Evidence to Action Note provides an overview of what young people think about the leaving care support they receive, with findings drawn from two surveys, the 2018 NSW OOHC Survey and the NSW Residential Care Survey.
Lessons learned from Term 2 remote and flexible learning
These three reports (an independent analysis, Parliamentary secretary report and report on focus groups) have been released from the Victorian Government about the experience of remote and flexible learning in Term 2 for students, teachers and families during coronavirus (COVID-19). The reports were informed by more than 3600 submissions from teachers, parents, students and education experts as part of a community consultation process.
The reports provide insight from government, independent and Catholic schools into the experiences of students, teachers and educators who had to quickly adapt in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Lessons to be learned in relation to the Australian bushfire season 2019-20: Final report
The Senate Finance and Public Administration References Committee has released its final report investigating lessons relating to the preparation and planning for, response to and recovery efforts following the 2019-20 Australian bushfire season. It contains a number of findings in relation to children and recommends the implementation of nationally consistent Child Friendly Spaces in evacuation, relief and recovery centres. The report makes 16 recommendations.
The Life Changes Trust Evaluation Toolkit provides a range of resources across the journey to better outcomes including creating a theory of change and program logic, designing an evaluation and methods for collecting data.
Life, disrupted: Young people, education and employment before and after COVID-19
The Monash University Centre for Youth Policy and Education Practice has released this report exploring the relationship between education and work and the contextual factors that shape education and work for young people in Australia. The report finds that the disruptions caused by the pandemic have magnified existing social issues, such as job insecurity, erosion of worker rights and shifting career identities, which have led to significant challenges for young people. The report discusses the implications of these social issues for educational providers.
Line of sight: Refocussing Victoria’s adult safeguarding laws and practices
This Office of Public Advocate report highlights the system's failure to safeguard people with a disability against experiences of violence. This report offers policy recommendations and includes client voices.
Links between alcohol consumption and domestic and sexual violence against women: Key findings and future directions
This ANROWS report synthesises the existing evidence relating to the nature and function of alcohol in the perpetration of sexual assault, family violence and violence against women. Though the literature shows a consistent link between alcohol use and violence against women, research evidence does not demonstrate alcohol to be its primary cause. Alcohol use is linked to the perpetration of violence against women, as well as being used as a coping strategy by women who have experienced violence. This policy paper provides recommendations for policies, programs, and practice, including greater collaboration between agencies responding to family violence and those responding to alcohol abuse.
Listening to the Voices of Children and Young People Harmed by Fathers Who Choose Violence: An interview with Professor Cathy Humphreys and Dr. Katie Lamb
This episode from the Partnered with a Survivor podcast, features an interview with Professor Cathy Humphreys and Dr. Katie Lamb from the University of Melbourne about their participatory research with children and young people who have experienced family violence from their fathers. This episode features their reflections as researchers, and also shares one of the digital stories developed by a young person as part of this project.
This literature review from CFECFW examines the existing research on telehealth and telepractice. It will be useful to anyone who is seeking to understand what effective telepractice looks like. It covers the definition of telehealth/telepractice, its prevalence and models, research findings on its impact and effectiveness, and its applicability to working with children.