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Check our our recent work!

OPEN Forum: Evidence everywhere, everyday, everyone.

Case Study: Scaling-up the smalltalk program

Who are we

Delivered by the Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare, OPEN connects and supports the sector to use, build and share evidence about what works to deliver the best outcomes for children and families.

OPEN has something for anyone interested in strengthening evidence informed practice and making a difference fo children and families:

  • Draw on the best available evidence about what works from Australia and around the world
  • Learn from and network with colleagues across the sector
  • Start your outcomes journey to build your own evidence:
    • Identify and understand needs
    • Design for outcomes and their measurement
    • Implement for success
    • Evaluate, learn and report
    • Build research partnerships with external experts

What we do

OPEN Knowledge Translation – Evidence, resources and tools, from inside and outside the Network, about what works to support the best outcomes for children and families. Explore the OPEN Portal today!

OPEN Events and network building – Sector and external experts share innovative programs and the latest evidence about what works to support the best outcomes for children and families. Learn more here

OPEN Training and Advisory Services–  Easy access to the expertise and support you need to help you build skills, knowledge and confidence in using and building evidence. Obtain advice and support, for evidence practitioners participate in our networks, or get involved in our Student Opportunities. Readh more below!

OPEN Training and Advisory Services

OPEN provides an advisory service to support Victoria’s child, youth and family sector to become more evidence-informed – prompt help online, ongoing project support, training and workshops and sector-led communities of practice.

OPEN brings together practice, implementation, research and evaluation expertise to help you plan and demonstrate the difference you make, your program or your organisation makes, and how you can improve.

How can we help?

We can help you with undertaking, supporting or training in:
Evidence review or needs analysis
Program logic or outcomes focused design and measurement using evaluation tools
In-house or externally commissioned evaluation, research, data collection and outcome measurement
Implementation processes and measurement
Foundational micro skills or practices
Taking your promising practices or evidence based program to the next level
Or other work customised to your needs.

Insights, Data, Evaluation Advice & Support (IDEAS) Projects are short, time limited support services offered free to DFFH-funded OPEN members.

Student Opportunities

OPEN is an excellent resource for students who are interested in working in child and family services.

Check out our Student Opportunities page to find out more.

OPEN Advisory and Special Interest Groups

OPEN has a number of Advisory and Special Interest Groups that inform our work, and share evidence practice among peers.

Snapshot of our Advisory and Training projects

  • Design work with BCYF on Strengthening Family connections to develop a program logic and improve data collection tools.
  • Action learning project with the Port Phillip Front Line worker program team to build evaluation skills through developing a program logic and measurement approach to demonstrate outcomes and effectiveness of their implementation model.
  • Action learning project for Greater Dandenong Communities for Children to build their skills to design and measure collective and individual project impacts with nested logic modes and evaluation plans.
  • Data improvement work with Family Life to reviewed existing data management system and developed an electronic dashboard analysis tool for Family Life.
  • Coaching work on program logic and evaluation planning, including data collection with:
    • Pathways in Independence, Wombat Housing
    • Youth Homelessness Project, Uniting Goulburn
    • ParentWise, Good Shepherd
  • Training and advice on building outcome measurement tools:
    • Youth engagement measures with Macedon Ranges shire
    • Clinical governance with Kidsfirst
    • Service and collective impact with Corangamite/Otway/Colac Child and Family Services Alliance
  • Advisory support to Access Health and Community to support evaluation of the effectiveness of their newly adopted Remote Service Delivery Model
  • Training on commissioning quality external evaluation with Anchor

Testimonies from our clients

‘The work carried out and the report produced by the OPEN project has been a huge support … A community program being able to source free expert support such as this is extremely valuable; it builds capability in evaluation and supports the development of evidence-based practice which ultimately supports families and children in our communities.’

Project Worker, Community Service Organisation

‘Again thank you so much for your time and generous sharing of knowledge. It was so very reassuring to talk with an expert about our situation and hear that some of my thoughts and plans are appropriate options to take this work forward. Those resources you have passed on look great and I look forward to considering them carefully as I place this puzzle together.’

Program Manager, place-based strategy, Community Service Organisation

Our program has been working closely with the Centre since early 2019 to complete an evaluation. Mandy and her team have been patient, supportive and directive when needed in helping us produce our program logic, evaluation plan and table. Mandy has helped us clarify our outcomes and logic clearly and concisely which has meant that we as a program have a clearer idea of our program model and our objectives. Without Mandy’s assistance we would not be at the point we are as a program and has inspired us to present our work at the World Infant Mental Health World Congress in 2021. The skills and knowledge we have gained from working with the Centre  have now inspired our Department (Family Youth and Children) to evaluate and ensure our programs are informed by evidence-based thinking with program logic and ongoing evaluation processes in place. With these measures in place, this will ensure we assess the outcomes we want to achieve while remaining in a continuous improvement and collaborative framework.

We cannot thank Mandy and the team at the Centre enough for the work and knowledge they have provided us over the past year and a bit. We value the collaborative work, time and effort Mandy has put in to our program evaluation and our service/program vision has improved significantly since we have been working with the Centre.

Team manager, Family Support Services, Local Government Organisation

To contact the OPEN advisory service, fill out the form below or give us a call on 9614 1577

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