2017

Investigators:

Vicky Saunders, Prof Morag McArthur

Funding Source:

Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

Aim:

This project investigates the help-seeking behaviours, needs and potential service responses for a range of target groups who are concerned about potentially sexually harmful or sexually abusive behaviours. Specifically the research project aims to explore:

  • The service needs and help-seeking behaviours of professionals, parents and community members concerned about the behaviour of an adult who is exhibiting potentially sexually harmful behaviour towards a child (including grooming, online behaviour and use of child pornography);
  • The help-seeking needs and behaviours of professionals, parents and community members concerned about a child who is exhibiting, potentially sexual, harmful behaviour;
  • The help-seeking needs and behaviours of individuals concerned that they may sexually harm or otherwise abuse a child;
  • The functions and effectiveness of existing services tasked with responding to the needs of these target groups, including the knowledge, skills and abilities required of practitioners responding to target groups’ service needs.

Outputs:

Saunders, V., & McArthur, M. (2017). Help-seeking needs and gaps for preventing child sexual abuse. Institute of Child Protection Studies, Australian Catholic University. Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, Sydney.

Investigators:

Dr Tim Moore, Steven Roche, Karen Milward, Morag McArthur; in partnership with ACIL Allen Consulting

Funding Source:

Victorian Department of Health and Human Services

Aim:

The Targeted Care Packages is an initiative of the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services and forms part of reforms to better support building strong families and safe children in Victoria, and securing a sustainable out of home care system. The TCP is designed to enable individualised and flexible supports for home-based care not available within the current funding arrangements. It enables the child or young person’s transition from residential care into an alternative living arrangement, where their experience of care is more positive and their needs better met.

In 2016-17, the Department of Health and Human Services appointed ACIL Allen Consulting to evaluate the implementation and early achievements of Targeted Care Packages (TCP). ACIL Allen Consulting has partnered with the Institute of Child Protection Studies to conduct a discrete piece of work that considers children and young people’s perspectives on the program.

For more information about this project, contact Dr Tim Moore.

Investigators:

Dr Tim Moore, Rhys Thorpe, Renee Crowe

Funding Source:

Life Without Barriers

Aim:

Young people are often placed in residential care settings in an attempt to provide them with safe, stable, nurturing environments free from risks of harm; and where better health, education, well-being and social outcomes can be achieved. However, there is growing evidence to suggest that many young people’s needs are not adequately met within residential care settings and that improvement in a range of domains is required.

Life Without Barriers (LWB) is a large provider of residential services to young people in NSW (among other states). Alongside other strategies to improve quality service delivery and to ensure that services and supports are meeting the needs of young people, Life Without Barriers has commissioned ICPS to gather some baseline data that informs service improvement, but also allows the organisation to be able to assess its progress. Interviews with children and young people in LWB residential care units will be conducted in November and December 2016 with an interim report prepared in January 2017.

For more information about this project, contact Dr Tim Moore.

Investigators:

Dr Justin Barker, Prof Morag McArthur, Lorraine Thomson

Funding Source:

Department of Social Services, Australian Government

Aim:

As a member of the Department of Social Services (DSS) Expert Panel, ICPS has been commissioned to assist and support service providers as part of the Outcomes Measurement Project. This project aims to provide assistance to Families and Children (FaC) service providers to strengthen their capacity to develop and deliver outcomes measurements and reporting.

Selected services may receive a range of supports depending on their specific needs. Assistance may include:

  • identifying suitable performance indicators for FaC activities;
  • identifying service level outcomes that fit within the FaC Performance Framework for programmes;
  • identifying and selecting appropriate tools/instruments to measure outcomes;
  • developing suitable methods to measure the achievement of outcomes within the context of the particular service within its community;
  • identifying and measuring how services contribute to the immediate, intermediate and long term outcomes for clients; and
  • identifying and becoming proficient in the use of suitable data collection tools where required.

Support may be provided in a variety of ways including one-on-one or group training, onsite visits or workshops to develop and implement client assessment processes.

For more information about this project, contact Justin Barker.

Investigators:

Prof Morag McArthur, Dr Tim Moore, and Debbie Noble-Carr

Funding Source:

Department of Social Services

Aim:

This 6 month project aimed to assess the extent and nature of children’s qualitative evidence that is available to inform social policy and practice in the domain of family and domestic violence. This project carried out a meta–analysis of the available evidence to explore and synthesise knowledge from qualitative investigations of children’s views and experiences of family and domestic violence. Due to overlapping domains; child protection, family support, family homelessness, family relationships (separation and divorce) research were included.

The questions framing the project included: what do children say about their experience of family violence and what do say they need from the service system? The project also identified the current research gaps in what we know children think about these issues. Using QRQC as a systematic method for assessing quality, key findings were synthesised both at a descriptive level (what do children commonly say) and at an interpretive level (what do the findings mean for policy and services). This analysis aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the possible evidence available to policy makers.

For more information about this project contact Prof Morag McArthur.

Investigators:

Vicky Saunders, Prof Morag McArthur, Winangay Resources Inc., Australian Centre for Child Protection (University of South Australia)

Funding Source:

Sidney Myer Fund

Aim:

The aim of this research is to examine the effectiveness and implementation of kinship carer assessment tools developed by an Aboriginal community organisation. The research will explore:

  • The outcomes for carers, children, organisations and communities using the Winangay Kinship Carers Assessment Tools, and how these compare to standard assessment methods
  • The system, community, organisation, practitioner and family factors which help or hinder the faithful implementation of these tools in practice
  • The impact of involving Aboriginal workers and community members in the kinship carer assessment process on outcomes and the cultural safety of the process
  • The degree to which the assessment process recognises and addresses the strengths and needs of Aboriginal kinship carers
  • Whether Winangay training meets the training needs of workers with regard to placing practice in the context of legislation, the application of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement Principle, locating and assessing kinship carers, confidence and skill in carer assessment, and culturally appropriate ways of working with Aboriginal carers

ICPS is supporting the implementation of the research in the eastern states, and will undertake 20 semi-structured interviews with aboriginal kinship carers. ICPS will lead the analysis of qualitative data.

For more information, contact Morag McArthur.

Investigators:

Dr Justin Barker, Prof Morag McArthur

Funding Source:

Family and Community Services, NSW Government

Aim:

The Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC), in partnership with ICPS, was commissioned by FACS to undertake a process and outcome evaluation and an economic assessment of the Youth Hope Program (YHP). The primary aim of the YHP is to maximise the safety and wellbeing of children, young people and their families who are involved in (or who are at risk of being involved in) statutory child protection services. The program also aims to pilot innovative models of service delivery, which means that the services delivered in each of the program sites differ.

The process evaluation examined the extent to which the YHP has been implemented as planned (and if not why not), while the outcome evaluation assessed the overall effectiveness of the program. Specifically, the evaluation addressed the following research questions:

  • Has the YHP been implemented as it was originally designed and as intended?
  • How responsive were the services to clients from a range of diverse backgrounds?
  • What have been the benefits and challenges associated with establishing multiple partnerships and strategic relationships with internal and external stakeholders?
  • To what extent is the YHP (including case coordination, life skills, therapeutic interventions, family support, referrals and crisis intervention) consistent with international best practice?
  • How could the service delivery models be improved or modified to deliver better outcomes for CYP and their families?
  • Were there any other positive, negative or unintended consequences for participating CYP and their families, program partner agencies and the community?
  • To what extent have the intended outcomes for CYP and their families been achieved?

The economic assessment of the YHP:

  • Determined the cost associated with implementing the YHP, both as it currently stands (ie operating in five sites) and if it was expanded into additional locations in NSW;
  • Identified both tangible and intangible costs and savings for program participants, stakeholders, FACS and the wider community resulting from the YHP; and
  • Determined the cost-effectiveness of the YHP (ie the costs associated with delivering the observed outcomes) and compared this with similar programs operating elsewhere.

Investigators:

Dr Justin Barker, Dr Tim Moore, Steven Roche

Funding Source:

Melbourne City Mission

Aim:

Consistent with recent conceptualisations of homelessness, the family-level ‘causes’ of youth homelessness are diverse and complex, and are interwoven with both individual and social/cultural factors. In response, this project aimed to explore the contemporary social and cultural factors that contribute to family conflict and breakdown that may lead to young people experiencing homelessness, as well as the risk and protective factors for family conflict and breakdown.

The research findings detailed the contemporary pressures and causes that contribute to family conflict that can lead to homelessness, provided an understanding of the contemporary social and cultural context of family conflict and homelessness for young people, and informed policy and practice and contribute to the development of measures to positively impact the lives of young people.

For more information about the program, contact Steven Roche.

2014 to 2016

Investigators:

Prof Morag McArthur, Dr Tim Moore, in partnership with Griffith University and the Queensland University of Technology

Funding Source:

Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

Aim:

This research project explored what children and young people experience and think about safety in institutional contexts. Specifically, the study explored how children conceptualise and perceive the extent to which they are safe in institutions; their views on what gives rise to these perceptions; what they consider is already being done to respond to unsafe situations in institutions; and what else they think might lead to children being and feeling more safe.

This study was designed to inform the Royal Commission's work in assessing the effectiveness of current prevention programs by directly hearing children and young people's views and knowledge of safety issues, as well as how they think these issues can and should be addressed.

For more information about this project, contact Dr Tim Moore.

Outputs:

Research report

Moore, T., McArthur., M., Heerde, J., Roche, S., & O'Leary, P. (2016). Our safety counts: Children and young people's perceptions of safety and institutional responses to their safety concerns. Melbourne: Institute of Child Protection Studies, Australian Catholic University.

Moore, T., McArthur, M., Noble-Carr, D., & Harcourt, D. (2015). Taking us seriously: children and young people talk about safety and institutional responses to their safety concerns. Melbourne: Institute of Child Protection Studies, Australian Catholic University.

Click here to download the report summary for kids.

Associated publications

Moore, T., & McArthur, M. (2017). 'You Feel It in Your Body': How Australian children and young people think about and experience feeling and being safe. Children & Society, 31(3), 206-218.

Moore, T., McArthur, M., Roche, S., Heerde, J., & Barry, E. (2016).Our Safety Counts: Key findings from the Australian Survey of Kids and Young People - Perceptions of interpersonal safety and characteristics of safe institutions. Research to Practice Series: Issue 13. Canberra: Institute of Child Protection Studies, Australian Catholic University.

Moore, T., McArthur, M., Roche, S., Heerde, J., & Barry, E. (2016). Our Safety Counts: Key findings from the Australian Survey of Kids and Young People - help-seeking and institutional responses to safety concerns. Research to Practice Series: Issue 14. Canberra: Institute of Child Protection Studies, Australian Catholic University.

Moore, T., McArthur, M., Noble-Carr, D., & Barry, E. (2016). Children's views about safety in institutions. Research to Practice Series: Issue 12. Canberra: Institute of Child Protection Studies, Australian Catholic University.

Moore, T., McArthur, M., & Barry, E. (2015). Being Safe and Feeling Safe: Children's Conceptualisations of Interpersonal Safety. Research to Practice Series, Issue 11. Canberra: Institute of Child Protection Studies, Australian Catholic University.

Moore, T., McArthur, M., & Barry, E. (2015, 18 August). What do children and young people have to say about safety in institutions? [Opinion Article]. The Conversation.
Republished on Parenthub on 8 September 2015.

Presentations

ICPS. (2016).YouTube animation presenting findings of Children's Safety Studies. Canberra: Institute of Child Protection Studies, ACU.

Moore, T., & McArthur, M. (2015, 25 August). Being safe, feeling safe: Children's perceptions and experiences of safety in institutions. LSIA Dialogue Series, Melbourne: Learning Sciences Institute Australia, ACU. [Presentation recording]

Moore, T., & McArthur, M. (2015, 17 August). Launch of the Kids' Safety Report - Taking Us Seriously: Children and young people talk about safety and institutional responses to their safety concerns. Canberra: Institute of Child Protection Studies, ACU. [Prezi slides, no audio]

Investigators:

Prof Morag McArthur, Vicky Saunders and Steven Roche, in partnership with the Australian Centre for Child Protection.

Funding Source:

Department of Social Services

Aim:

This research aimed to provide in-depth and contextualised data about how services may better support refugee parents to care for their children, in an attempt to reduce the numbers of children of refugee parents entering the statutory care and protection system. It sought to better understand the social resources and connections required by refugee parents and their children to support positive parenting skills and family relationships.

This study developed new knowledge about refugee children and young people's views on social connectedness and how this influences their safety and well-being, and explored how services can create more responsive and integrated practices that will lead to better outcomes for children and young people living in families from a refugee background.

For more information about this project, contact Morag McArthur.

Outputs:

Research Report

Saunders, V., Roche, S., McArthur, M., Arney, F., & Ziaian, T. (2015). Refugee Communities Intercultural Dialogue: Building Relationships, Building Communities. Canberra: Institute of Child Protection Studies, ACU.

Associated Publications

Saunders, V., McArthur, M., Roche, S., & Barry, E. (2016). Supporting refugee families in Australia. Research to Practice Series: Issue 15. Canberra: Institute of Child Protection Studies, Australian Catholic University.

Saunders, V., Roche, S., McArthur, M., & Barry, E. (2017). Barriers to formal and informal supports for refugee families in Australia. Child Family Community Australia, 6 April.

Saunders, V., Roche, S., McArthur, M., & Barry, E. (2017). Improving formal service responses for refugee families in Australia. Child Family Community Australia, 12 April.

Investigators:

Dr Tim Moore, Prof Morag McArthur, Steven Roche, Dr Jodi Death, Prof Clare Tilbury

Funding Source:

Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

Aim:

This study builds on the Children’s Safety Study and explored the experiences of young people and their safety in residential care. It aimed to understand what young people believe institutions are doing to identify, prevent and respond to sexual abuse and problematic sexual behaviours among young people. The study included interviews with young people, and a workshop with young people and key stakeholders to develop a youth-centred response to sexual abuse. 

For more information about this project, contact Dr Tim Moore.

Outputs:

Research Report

Moore, T., McArthur, M., Roche, S., Death, J., & Tilbury, C. (2016). Safe and sound: Exploring the safety of young people in residential care. Melbourne: Institute of Child Protection Studies, Australian Catholic University. Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, Sydney.

Associated Publications

Moore, T., McArthur, M., Death, J., Tilbury, C., & Roche, S. (2017). Young people's views on safety and preventing abuse and harm in residential care: "It's got to be better than home". Children and Youth Services Review.

Moore, T., McArthur, M., & Roche, S. (2017). Safe and Sound: The safety concerns of young people in residential care. Issue 17, Research to Practice Series. Canberra: Institute of Child Protection Studies, Australian Catholic University.

Moore, T., McArthur, M., & Roche, S. (2017). Safe and Sound: Creating safe residential care services for children and young people. Issue 18, Research to Practice Series. Canberra: Institute of Child Protection Studies, Australian Catholic University.

Presentations

ICPS. (2017). YouTube animation on young people's safety in residential care. Canberra: Institute of Child Protection Studies, ACU.

Investigators:

Prof Fiona Arney (Australian Centre for Child Protection), Dr Tim Moore, Prof Morag McArthur

Funding Source:

The Healing Foundation

Aims:

The Healing Foundation is an independent Indigenous organisation engaging communities to develop healing amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. It commissioned three Aboriginal controlled agencies in Kununurra, Darwin and Brisbane to develop programs that help communities (particularly children, young people and families) to deal with intergenerational trauma. In partnership with the Australian Centre for Child Protection (ACCP), ICPS evaluated these initiatives.

This evaluation was the first large-scale study across multiple jurisdictions to provide empirical evidence of the effectiveness of diverse approaches to addressing intergenerational trauma for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people.

For more information, contact Dr Tim Moore.

Investigators:

Associate Professor Stephanie Taplin, Dr Giovanna Richmond, Professor Morag McArthur

Funding Source:

Australian National Council on Drugs

Aim:

This report describes policies and practices across Australia, reviews the literature on the identification of maternal alcohol and other drug use, and identifies 'best practice' in the management of substance-using pregnant women. The outcomes of this project will provide valuable findings to inform policy and practice in relation to maternal alcohol and other drug use nationally.

For more information about this project, contact Associate Professor Stephanie Taplin.

Publications:

Taplin, S., Richmond, G., McArthur, M. (2015). Identifying alcohol and other drug use during pregnancy: Outcomes for women, their partners and their children (PDF, 645KB). Canberra: Australian National Council on Drugs.

Investigators:

Dr Justin Barker, Prof Morag McArthur

Funding Source:

Community Services Directorate, ACT Government

Aims:

In 2013, the Community Services Directorate commissioned ICPS to develop an evaluation plan for the ACT Child, Youth and Family Services Program (CYFSP). The CYFSP commenced in 2012 and provides an integrated and collaborative service system for vulnerable children, young people and families in the ACT. The Evaluation Plan was submitted in July 2013.

In 2014 the Community Services further commissioned ICPS to develop and conduct a process evaluation to assess the extent to which the CYFSP has been successfully implemented as intended and identify key issues and lessons learnt to aid future program implementation. This project assessed the feasibility of an outcome evaluation that would focus on the effectiveness of the CYFSP, asking the question: how much has the CYFSP achieved its desired outcomes?

A report was submitted to the Community Services Directorate in late 2014.

This scoping study was conducted by two social work students, Jayna Farnham and Christine Dean, under the supervision of researchers from ICPS, Debbie Noble-Carr and Steve Roche.

The study aimed to deepen our understanding of the experiences and impacts of fostering on biological children of foster carers, by answering the following research questions:

  1. What are the needs and experiences of the biological children of foster carers within the ACT?
  2. What are the policy and practice implications of these children's needs and experiences for the ACT foster care sector?

Although the study was limited in time and scope, the study included three distinct research phases. Phase one included a systematic and targeted literature review on the issue of biological children of foster carers. Phase two allowed for consultations with key stakeholders to identify the current policy and practice responses for biological children of foster carers in the ACT and Australia. Phase three involved the research team conducting a series of focus groups with foster carers and their biological children (aged 8-18 years) in the ACT.

Outputs:

Research Monograph

Noble-Carr, D., Farnham, J., & Dean, C. (2014). Needs and Experiences of Biological Children of Foster Carers: A Scoping Study. Canberra: Institute of Child Protection Studies, ACU.

Associated Publications

Roche, S., & Noble-Carr, D. (2017). Agency and its Constraints among Biological Children of Foster Carers. Australian Social Work, 70(1), 66-77.

Noble-Carr, D., Farnham, J., Dean, C., & Barry, E. (2015). Needs and Experiences of Biological Children of Foster Carers. Research to Practice Series, Issue 8, January. Canberra: Institute of Child Protection Studies, ACU.

 

2012 to 2013

Investigators:

Vicky Saunders

Funding Source:

ACT Health Directorate, and SHINE for Kids

Aim:

This qualitative needs analysis aimed to deepen the understanding of children's needs by exploring their experiences of parental incarceration. Commissioned by SHINE for Kids, it identified appropriate individual, family and community responses, informed by children, their caregivers, and other key groups; in the context of multiple system involvement (e.g. child protection, criminal justice, health, education, family support).

This needs analysis provided new insights into how service systems might work more effectively and responsively together to reduce future involvement in welfare, health and criminal justice systems, improve children's well-being and increase their participation in society. Current research informs us that children whose parents are imprisoned are likely to be affected by higher levels of disadvantage than their peers; for example they are more likely to experience multiple and complex health, social and welfare problems including poverty, family violence, substance abuse and mental health issues.

For more information about this project, contact Vicky Saunders

Outputs:

Research monograph

Saunders, V., & McArthur, M. (2013). Children of Prisoners: Exploring the needs of children and young people who have a parent incarcerated in the ACT. Canberra: SHINE for Kids.

Associated publications

Saunders, V. (2017). Children of prisoners - children's decision-making about contact. Child & Family Social Work, 22(S2), 63-72.

Flynn, C., & Saunders, V. (2015). Research with Children of Prisoners: Methodological Considerations for Bringing Youth in from the Margins. In S. Bastien & H. B. Holmarsdottir (Eds.), Youth 'At the Margins': Critical Perspectives and Experiences of Engaging Youth in Research Worldwide. Volume 4. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.

Saunders, V., McArthur, M,. & Moore, T. (2015). Not Seen and Not Heard: Ethical Considerations of Research with Children of Prisoners. Children of Prisoners, Special Issue of Law in Context, 32, 108 – 125. 

Institute of Child Protection Studies. (2013, 4 December). Seminar recording: Forum: Children of prisoners in the ACT [Rich Media Playback]. Canberra: Institute of Child Protection Studies, ACU. 

Institute of Child Protection Studies. (2013, 3 December). Forum: Children of prisoners in the ACT [Media Release]. Canberra: Institute of Child Protection Studies, ACU.

Institute of Child Protection Studies, SHINE for Kids. (2013, 31 October). Supporting children of prisoners in the ACT: Program and report launch [Media Release]. Canberra: Institute of Child Protection Studies, ACU.

Institute of Child Protection Studies. (2013, 31 July). Children of Prisoners: An often invisible group [Media Release]. Canberra: Institute of Child Protection Studies, ACU.

Saunders, V., & Barry, E. (2013). Children with Parents in Prison. Research to Practice Series, Issue 4, December. Canberra: Institute of Child Protection Studies, ACU.

 

Investigators:

Debbie Noble-Carr, Dr Justin Barker, Prof Morag McArthur

Funding Source:

ACU Institute for Catholic Identity and Mission

Aim:

This qualitative study explored the role and potency that concepts such as identity, and a search for meaning, have in the lives of vulnerable young people. Literature has found that having a positive view of self, the world and the future is important in the lives of vulnerable young people. However, much of this research is international (predominately the UK and USA), and little is actually known about how the current service system in Australia does, or should, support vulnerable young people in a search for positive identity and meaning.

During 2012, 24 interviews were completed with vulnerable young people in the ACT aged between 15 and 25 years. Through these interviews, the study elicited an in-depth narrative of the young people's life experiences, with particular reference to how they view themselves and make sense of their world and their place within it. The implications this has for how the service sector provides support to vulnerable young people was also explored.

For more information about this project, contact Debbie Noble-Carr or Dr Justin Barker.

Outputs:

Research monograph

Noble-Carr, D., Barker, J., & McArthur, M. (2013). Me, Myself and I: Identity and Meaning for Vulnerable Young People. Canberra: Institute of Child Protection Studies, ACU.

Associated publications

Noble-Carr, D., & Woodman, E. (2017). Considering identity and meaning constructions for vulnerable young people. Journal of Adolescent Research.

Institute of Child Protection Studies. (2013, 16 April). Research Report Launch: Me, Myself and I - Identity and meaning for vulnerable young people [Media Release]. Canberra: Institute of Child Protection Studies, ACU.

Noble-Carr, D. (2013, 16 April). Seminar and Launch: Identity and Meaning for vulnerable young people [rich media playback]. Canberra: Institute of Child Protection Studies, ACU.

Noble-Carr, D., & Barry, E. (2013). Identity and meaning in the lives of vulnerable young people. Research to Practice Series, Issue 2, June. Canberra: Institute of Child Protection Studies, ACU.

Investigators:

Lorraine Thomson, Prof Morag McArthur, Erin Barry

Funding Source:

Community Services Directorate, ACT Government

Aims:

The ACT Child, Youth and Family Services Program (the CYFSP), funded by the ACT Community Services Directorate, provides an integrated and collaborative service system for vulnerable children, young people and families in the ACT. The CYFSP commenced in 2012, with 28 non-government organisations providing a range of services in the community.

ICPS developed a detailed Evaluation Plan for the CYFSP, including an evaluation framework, evaluation approach, and a set of tools for data collection during the life of the evaluation.

For more information, contact Morag McArthur.

Outputs:

Thomson, L., McArthur, M. (2013). Detailed Evaluation Plan: Child, Youth and Family Services Program. Canberra: Institute of Child Protection Studies, ACU.

Investigators:

Dr Justin Barker, Prof Morag McArthur

Funding Source:

Hanover Welfare Services and the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs

Aim:

This project aimed to document, analyse and synthesise the national and international academic and community services literature on effective programs, service models and practices with children (12 years and under) experiencing homelessness and family violence.

It identified the key elements, mechanisms and practice tools/resources employed in effective service models and practices with these children and their care-givers; and identified the similarities and differences between services provided through the homelessness sector and those provided through family violence services for infants, preschool and primary school aged cohorts. It also referenced key approaches (e.g. family sensitive practice) and service models in the child protection and family support services programs.

For more information about this project, contact Dr Justin Barker.

Outputs:

Barker, J., Kolar, V., Mallett, S., & McArthur, M. (2013). What works for children experiencing homelessness and/or family/domestic violence? Part 1: Literature Synthesis. Melbourne: Hanover Welfare Services.

Kolar, V., Barker, J., Mallett, S., McArthur, M., & Nette, A. (2013). What works for children experiencing homelessness and/or family/domestic violence? An Abridged Report. Melbourne: Hanover Welfare Services.

Investigators:

Justin Barker, Peter Humphries, Morag McArthur, Lorraine Thomson

Funding Source:

Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs

Aim:

This evaluation of 'Reconnect' assessed the appropriateness and effectiveness of responses and intervention strategies for working with young people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. It examined the extent to which Reconnect services implemented early intervention strategies that directly helped them to achieve their intended objectives. The findings from the evaluation will inform the future direction of Reconnect.

The project was guided by the proposed key evaluation questions outlined by FaHCSIA:

  • Which early intervention strategies are most effective for young people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness?
  • Which of these identified strategies are practically applied by Reconnect service providers?
  • Which, if any, of these strategies are more or less effective for specific demographics targeted by the Reconnect Program?

Using a mixed-methods approach, the evaluation incorporated both qualitative and quantitative methods. It drew upon existing data and reviews and collected new data for analysis. An international literature review was produced that outlines available evidence addressing strategies for working with young people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

Outputs:

Research monographs

Barker, J., Humphries, P., McArthur, M., & Thomson, L. (2012). Literature Review: Effective interventions for young people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Canberra: Australian Government Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs.

Barker, J., Humphries, P., McArthur, M., & Thomson, L. (2012). Reconnect: Working with young people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Canberra: Australian Government Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs.

Association publications

Barry, E., & Barker, J. (2013). Interventions and practice principles for supporting young people who are homeless. Research to Practice Series, Issue 1, March. Canberra: Institute of Child Protection Studies, ACU.

Investigators:

Prof Morag McArthur, Lorraine Thomson

Funding Source:

Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs

Aim:

This project was a national analysis of workforce trends and approaches that affect Australia's statutory child protection workforce. It aimed to identify:

  • The national trends that impact upon recruitment and retention in the statutory child protection workforce;
  • Successful strategies that are, or will be employed by state and territory governments to recruit, retain and support the statutory child protection workforce; and,
  • Identify priorities at jurisdictional and national levels that could be considered to further develop capacity and expertise of the statutory child protection workforce.

The analysis drew upon the research evidence and current knowledge and strategies used by state and territory child protection services. FaHCSIA contracted the Institute to undertake this work under the 'National Framework for Protecting Australia's Children', of which 'Building Capacity and Expertise' is a National Priority.

For more information about the National Framework for Protecting Australia's Children, click here.

Outputs

McArthur, M., & Thomson, L. (2012). National Analysis of Workforce Trends in Statutory Child Protection. Canberra: Institute of Child Protection Studies, ACU.

Investigators:

Prof Gail Winkworth, Michael White

Aim:

Adjunct Professor Gail Winkworth and colleague Michael White have developed an evidence based tool to guide organisations and networks in an action research process, to improve the way they work together and plan for the future. The Rubric assists different types of networks, including:

  • Newly formed networks to plan the development of their partnerships;
  • Established networks to monitor how their partnerships are working and what areas need attention;
  • Networks experiencing difficulties to identify areas of conflict and agreement so that they can move forward;
  • All networks to agree on shared goals and outcome; and,
  • Organisational units within organisations which need to work more collaboratively with each other.

Focusing on outcomes for clients, the Rubric was developed over multiple research projects. It connects key types of partnerships with 18 key factors found to underpin successful collaboration.

These factors are described in a developmental way so that services can monitor how their collaboration is progressing over time.

Outputs

Winkworth, G., & White, M. (2012). A rubric for building effective collaboration. Canberra.

2011

Investigators:

Prof Peter Camilleri (School of Social Work), Prof Morag McArthur, Lorraine Thomson

Funding Source:

Australian Research Council Discovery Grant

Aim:

This project was funded by an ARC Discovery Grant, with the ACT study one of nine parallel studies, one covering each state and territory and the ninth, based on the eight others, focusing on Australia as a whole.

The aim of the study was to address the following research questions:

  • What is the contemporary status of, and current challenges faced by, Australia's Children's Courts in relation to both their child welfare and criminal jurisdictions from the perspective of its judicial officers and other key stakeholders?
  • What issues and challenges do judicial officers and other key stakeholders believe the Children's Court will face over the next decade?
  • What are the judicial officers' and other key stakeholders' assessments of, and degree of support for, child welfare and juvenile justice jurisdiction reforms that have recently been canvassed in Australia and overseas?

Outputs:

Research monograph:

Camilleri, P., McArthur, M., & Thomson, L. (2011). ARC Discovery Grant Project: Challenges, possibilities and future directions: A national assessment of Australia's Children's Courts. ACT Report. Canberra: Institute of Child Protection Studies, ACU.

Associated publications:

Thomson, L., McArthur, M., & Camilleri, P. (2017). Is it 'fair'? Representation of children, young people and parents in an adversarial court system. Child and Family Social Work, 22(S2), 23-32.

Camilleri, P., Thomson, L., & McArthur, M. (2013). Needs or deeds? Child protection and youth justice in the Australian Capital Territory. Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law, 35(2), 193-206.

Camilleri, P., Thomson, L., & McArthur, M. (2013). The Childrens Court in the Australian Capital Territory. In R. Sheehan & A. Borowski (Eds.), Australia's Children's Courts Today and Tomorrow, 7, 9-26: Springer Netherlands. 

Investigators:

Lorraine Thomson, Prof Morag McArthur, Bronwyn Thomson

Funding Source:

Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs

Aim:

This Project looked at the effects on young people and their parents of the Australian Government's changes to Family Tax Benefit A (FTB A). The changes to FTB A mean that in order for parents to continue to receive FTB A for young people aged 16 - 20, those young people need to be in education or training to achieve Year 12 or equivalent, or have completed Year 12 or equivalent.

The study aimed to assist in building an appreciation of how young people and their parents understand and respond to the condition of participation in education in order to receive FTB A and of the impact that it will have on their lives. It also aimed to: uncover any unintended consequences of the policy changes; consider whether any measures need to be put in to place to mitigate these effects; and identify what young people see as enablers and barriers to education and training.

Outputs:

Thomson, L., McArthur, M., & Thomson, B. (2012). Supporting young people in education: Impact of changes to FTB A on young people and their families. Canberra: Institute of Child Protection Studies, ACU.

Investigators:

Prof Morag McArthur, Stella Conroy, Fran Wilson

Funding Source:

Australian Research Council, for the Regulatory Institutions Network

Aim:

This project was a national study that aimed to explore the personal, professional and organisational values of child protection workers and team leaders and the relationship this has to retention and resilience of professionals working in this sector.

Outputs:

McArthur, M., Conroy, S., & Wilson, F. (2011). How Relevant is the Role of Values in Child Protection Practice? A national survey of Statutory Child Protection Staff 2009. Occasional Paper. Canberra: Regulatory Institutions Network, ANU.

Investigators:

Dr Justin Barker, Violet Kolar, Dr Shelley Mallett, Prof Morag McArthur, Vicky Saunders

Funding Source:

Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs

Aim:

The aim of this mixed method study was to explore the experiences of homeless fathers, with or without an active parenting role.

This research project was commissioned by the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs. It identifies the social, emotional and material consequences of the homeless experience for fathers, and their relationship with their children; and examines how their identity and role as fathers impacts on their lives in general and their experience of homelessness.

The report also examines how homelessness services currently support single fathers, and identifies policy and service delivery changes that could result in improved outcomes for this largely invisible population.

This research was done in partnership with Hanover Welfare Services and Melbourne City Mission, and addresses the National Homelessness Research Agenda 2009-2013 priority 'to inform and improve the service system and practice, including evaluation'. It fills a gap in our understanding by providing both qualitative and quantitative evidence about how best to support fathers who are homeless particularly around their parenting.

Outputs:

Research monograph:

Barker, J., Kolar, V., Mallett, S., McArthur, M., Saunders, V. (2011). More Than Just Me: Supporting Fathers who are Homeless. Canberra: Institute of Child Protection Studies, ACU.

Associated publications:

Barker, J., & Morrison, T. (2014). Supporting fathers who are homeless. Research to Practice Series, Issue 5, March. Canberra: Institute of Child Protection Studies, ACU.

Institute of Child Protection Studies; Hanover Welfare Services. (2012, 3 September). More than just me: Supporting fathers who are homeless [Media Release]. Canberra: Institute of Child Protection Studies, ACU.

Investigators:

Prof Morag McArthur, Vicky Saunders, Bronwyn Thomson

Funding Source:

ACU Faculty Linkage Grant, and the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs

Aim:

The aim of this research was to scope the boundaries and possible methodologies of future research into refugee children and their families' experience of settling into Australian communities.

One of the major challenges facing the world today is protecting refugees who have been forced to leave their homes for fear of death or persecution due to either armed conflict or human rights abuses. This project sought to identify critical areas of vulnerability and resilience during this transition and the formal and informal processes that can transform risk trajectories into adaptive pathways. This was achieved by exploring refugee families' and children's lived experiences and by analysing how they were constructed and responded to as refugees.

Outputs:

Research monograph

Saunders, V., McArthur, M., Moore, T., Inglis, A., & Golic, V. (2012). Getting it right: how best to engage refugee children and their parents in research about their Resettlement in Australia. Canberra: Institute of Child Protection Studies, ACU.

Associated publications:

Saunders, V., & McArthur, M. (2013). Getting it right: Research with refugee background children. In K. De Gioia & P. Whiteman (Eds), Immigrant and Refugee Families (pp. 23-40). Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Investigators:

Prof Morag McArthur, Lorraine Thomson, Merrilyn Woodward, Dr Justin Barker, Megan Layton, Dr Gail Winkworth

Funding Source:

Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, and the Attorney-General's Department

Aim:

The evaluation of the Supporting Children after Separation Program (SCASP) and Post-Separation Cooperative Parenting service (PSCP) aimed to establish the appropriateness and effectiveness of service models and the extent to which they achieve their intended objectives. It also assessed the extent to which the programs gave priority to at-risk, vulnerable and disadvantaged families and how they generally increased family access to services through more collaborative service arrangements.

The evaluation incorporated existing data and reviews but moved beyond the reliance on adult focused data (ie: service providers and parents) to hear directly from young people themselves. It also used evidence based models of collaboration to analyse how the programs were working within relevant broader service delivery systems.

Outputs:

McArthur, M., Thomson, L., Woodward, M., Barker, J., Layton, M., & Winkworth, G. (2011). Evaluation of the Supporting Children After Separation Program and the Post Separation Cooperative Parenting Program. Canberra: Institute of Child Protection Studies, ACU.

Investigators:

Debbie Noble Carr

Funding Source:

Australian Children's Commissioners and Guardians

Aim:

This book, produced by the ACCG, the network of Children's Commissioners and Guardians from each State and Territory in Australia, contains quotes and artwork created by children and young people across Australia. The quotes and artwork were selected from consultation and community engagement activities undertaken by the nine Australian Children's Commissioners and Guardians.

Outputs:

Australian Children's Commissioners and Guardians & Noble-Carr, D. (2011). What Australian kids say about their world. Australian Children's Commissioners and Guardians.

2010

Investigators:

Dr Gail Winkworth, Kate Butler

Funding Source:

Australian Government - Protecting Australia's Children Framework

Aim:

This project was funded by the Australian Government under the Protecting Australia's Children Framework to assist vulnerable families earlier by linking them with services and supports, thereby preventing where possible their involvement, with statutory Child Protection.

Over eight months weekly intake meetings were held at which ACT Housing and ACT Care and Protection Services referred families to specific non-government agencies for support and assistance. ICPS supported the project using an action research approach to assess how the partnership was going and to identify specific issues that required further work

Outputs:

Winkworth, G., & Butler, K. (2009). A report on the progress of 'Protecting Australia's Children' Panel - a project to increase collaboration between ACT Housing, ACT Child Protection Services and ACT Community Service Providers. Canberra: Institute of Child Protection Studies, ACU.

Investigators:

Prof Morag McArthur, Vicky Saunders, Dr Tim Moore

Funding Source:

ACT Government Carer Recognition Grant, for Carers ACT

Aim:

Carers ACT commissioned ICPS to assist in completing their research project 'Exploring the needs and supports of young adult carers living in the ACT'. The purpose of this project was to develop an enhanced understanding of the needs of young adults (aged 18-25 years) living in the ACT who are caring for a family member or friend. This understanding will be used to inform the development and improvement of support services in order to mitigate impacts on physical and mental health often caused by the demands of an unsupported caring role.

Outputs:

Saunders, V., & Moore, T. (2010). Exploring the needs and supports of young adult carers living in the ACT. Canberra: Institute of Child Protection Studies, ACU.

Investigators:

Kate Butler, Prof Morag McArthur, Dr Gail Winkworth, Bronwyn Thomson, Renee Crowe

Funding Source:

Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs

Aim:

This qualitative project aimed to explore how becoming a mother affected the lives of young women and their families. As the social context for both young people and motherhood changed, there was a clear need to identify the experiences and needs of young mothers (aged under 25 years at the birth of their first child).

This project also sought to find out about the types of support young mothers received, from both family and friends and from formal services that designed to assist them, and aimed to find out what made it hard for young mothers to use services and how this could be improved.

Outputs:

Research monograph

Butler, K., McArthur, M., Winkworth, G., Thomson, B., & Crowe, R. (2010). Experiences and Aspirations of Younger Mothers. Canberra: Institute of Child Protection Studies, ACU.

Associated publications

McArthur, M., & Barry, E. (2013). Younger Mothers: Stigma and Support. Research to Practice Series, Issue 3, September. Canberra: Institute of Child Protection Studies, ACU.

McArthur, M., & Barry, E. (2012, 17 October). Taking the big stick to single parents is not the answer [Opinion Article]. The Conversation.

McArthur, M. & Winkworth, G. (2013). The hopes and dreams of Australian young mothers in receipt of income support. Communities, Children and Families Australia, 7(1), 47-62.

Investigators:

Urbis Social Policy Team: Prof Morag McArthur, Kate Butler, Claire Grealy, Karen Olver

Funding Source:

Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, Victoria

Aim:

The Supported Playgroups and Parent Groups Initiative operates across a number of communities in Victoria for vulnerable children and their families. In partnership with Urbis consulting this longitudinal research project assessed whether this model of supported playgroups delivered benefits for families and influenced the uptake of other early childhood services.

Outputs:

McArthur, M., Butler, K., Grealy, C., & Olver, K. (2010). Supported Playgroups and Parent Groups (SPPI) Outcomes Evaluation. Urbis Social Policy Team. Victoria: Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development. 

Investigators:

Kate Butler, Prof Morag McArthur, Michael White, Dr Gail Winkworth

Funding Source:

ACT Education and Training Directorate

Aim:

The provision of education hubs in several communities in the ACT that aim to provide integrated family support services, child care, health and other community based services represents a significant shift in how early childhood services are delivered. This project developed an evaluation model, to contribute to ensuring that common evaluation processes were used across the participating early childhood schools.

Outputs:

Butler, K., White, M., Winkworth, G., & McArthur, M. (2010). Evaluation Framework: ACT Early Childhood Schools Initiative. Canberra: Institute of Child Protection Studies, ACU.

Investigators:

Lorraine Thomson, Prof Morag McArthur, Kate Butler, Bronwyn Thomson

Funding Source:

ACT Community Services Directorate

Aim:

The Integrated Family Support Project was established as a pilot project from 2008 to 2010 to develop a model for collaboration between government and non-government agencies and families, with the aim of providing sustained, integrated services to families at risk. The project aimed to engage with families from a strengths perspective early in the life of the child and the life of the problem, before the problems necessitated court intervention.

Outputs:

Research monograph

Thomson, L., McArthur, M., Butler, K., & Thomson, B. (2010). Integrated Family Support Project Outcome Evaluation. Canberra: Institute of Child Protection Studies, ACU.

Associated publications

McArthur, M., & Thomson, L. (2011). Families' views on a coordinated family support service. Family Matters, 89. 

Have a question?

askacu

We're available 9am–5pm AEDT,
Monday to Friday

Live chat with us now

Chat to our team for real-time
answers to your questions.

Launch live chat
Visit our FAQs page

Find answers to some commonly
asked questions.

See our FAQs