Families Australia



The Oration was delivered by The Hon Justice Peter McClellan AM Chair, Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.


Keynote Speakers

Keynote speakers included: Dr Darly Higgins, Professor Nigel Parton, Emeritus Professor Dorothy Scott OAM, Richard Weston and The Hon. Mary Wooldridge MP.

  • Professor Nigel Parton: Moving Beyond Individualised Child Protection Systems

    Speaker Biography:

    Professor in Applied Childhood Studies at the University of Huddersfield, England Nigel Parton has been teaching, writing and researching about child protection, child welfare and social work for over 35 years. In recent years a central focus of his work has been comparing child protection systems in different high income countries including the four jurisdictions in the UK. His publications include: Reforming Child Protection (with Bob Lonne, Jane Thompson and Maria Harries) (Routledge, 2009), and Child Protection Systems: International Comparisons and Orientations (edited with Neil Gilbert and Marit Skivenes) (Oxford University Press, 2011). His most recent book is The Politics of Child Protection: Contemporary Developments and Future Directions (Palgrave/Macmillan, 2014), a detailed study of child protection policy in England over the last 15 years.

    Abstract Summary:

    All studies of the prevalence of child maltreatment demonstrate that only about a tenth of the amount of child maltreatment ever becomes known to statutory child protection agencies and that there are a number of policy dimensions which need to be considered if we are serious about addressing the problem; issues related to gender, social class and inequality are central. I argue that current and long-standing problems indicate it is now time to move beyond individualised child protection systems. In being so concerned with the operation and failures of the child protection system, we have failed to address what we mean by child maltreatment and what we should do about it. I argue that child maltreatment is a significant social problem which cannot be ameliorated by individualised systems of intervention alone. I propose that a broad public health approach to child maltreatment can provide an important beginning framework for future policy and practice but that this needs to place a children’s rights perspective at its centre and that we need to recognise that there are a wide range of significant social harms which cause maltreatment to children, many of which are clearly related to structural inequalities. This will be demonstrated through a project entitled ‘Mothers of sexually abused children in charge’ which is led by mothers whose children have been sexually abused which has been highly successful. I recommend the importance of engagement with a variety of community-based groups in the process and that the processes of change are as important as the overall aims which we want to bring about.

    Download Nigel Parton.pdf

    Dr Daryl Higgins: Services to enhance safe and supportive family environments for Australia’s children

    Speaker Biography:

    Deputy Director (Research) Australian Institute of Family Studies BA (Melb), BA(Hons) (Deakin), PhD (Deakin) Daryl Higgins is a registered psychologist, and has been researching child abuse, family violence, sexuality and family functioning since 1993. He has extensive experience in managing and supervising research, and has led projects looking at child abuse and neglect, child protection, children in out-of-home care, child-safe organisations, Family Court processes for responding to allegations of child abuse, caring for a family member with a disability, welfare reform, jobless families, past adoption practices, and community development approaches to children at risk in Indigenous communities. He has a sound knowledge of state and territory policy contexts across Australia. He has considerable experience in evaluation methodology and frameworks across areas including child protection, out-of-home care, sexual assault, child care, parenting, care for family members with a disability, and family and community wellbeing. Daryl also has experience in conducting qualitative research and program evaluations with Indigenous communities, as well as understanding and analysing and interpreting quantitative administrative data (such as child protection departmental statistics relating to Indigenous Australians). In particular, Daryl has led projects examining best practice in Indigenous out-of-home care, and a range of community development projects focusing on early childhood, young people, and education engagement/mentoring for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people. He is currently leading AIFS’ contributions to the Closing the Gap Clearinghouse.

    Abstract Summary:

    Families can play a crucial role in protecting children by providing a safe and supportive environment. There is considerable research in Australia and internationally looking at the most ‘at-risk families’ (where statutory child protection systems are focused); however, there is relatively little focus on how children’s wellbeing is affected by different family environments in the broader Australian population. To illustrate this, I present data from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC) that show three broad family environments can be identified: cohesive, disengaged, and enmeshed (particularly where conflict between parents seeps into relationships between parents and children). Internationally, best practice in child abuse prevention is grounded in a public health approach – identifying risk factors (such as parental substance misuse, mental health problems, or family violence), and putting in place strategies to reduce the ‘burden of disease’ by altering the risk profile of the entire population. Our results suggest that potentially problematic dynamics within families are not just concentrated in particular socio-economic groups. Public health strategies can be enlisted to identify and respond to the needs of children in families characterised by disengagement or enmeshment (e.g., parenting programs, public information campaigns) and using universal services to lower the risk of dysfunctional family environments and target referrals for more intense services. This involves balancing the need for both universal and targeted services that are “child-aware” in order to enhance family environments for children (i.e., progressive or proportionate universalism). This combination shifts the risk profile of the entire population of families, as well as targeting those who need a more intense service. Data from LSAC showing changes in the family environment and child outcomes over time support the assumption that policy interventions to address family environments have the capacity to produce tangible outcomes for children. Examples of where services could screen for problematic family environments will be briefly addressed, along with other implications for service delivery.

    Download MON_AUD_1320_HIggins.pdf

    Emeritus Professor Dorothy Scott OAM: Towards a Child Aware Movement

    Speaker Biography:

    Australian Centre for Child Protection, University of South Australia Emeritus Professor Dorothy Scott OAM is a Director of Bracton Consulting Services and was the Foundation Chair and inaugural Director of the Australian Centre for Child Protection at the University of South Australia. She holds honorary professorial positions at both the University of South Australia and the University of Melbourne. Early in her career as a social worker she pioneered innovative approaches in the fields of child welfare, sexual assault and mental health for which she was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia. Professor Scott has conducted a number of child protection inquiries and provides policy advice to State and Commonwealth Governments. Her most recent book (co-authored with Professor Fiona Arney) is Working with Vulnerable Families by Cambridge University Press. Professor Scott is a member of the Australian National Council on Drugs, the Advisory Council of the Australian Institute of Family Studies, the Myer Foundation Board and the Tasmanian Early Years Foundation Board.

    Abstract Summary:

    Child Aware approaches are increasingly being adopted in both policy and practice domains. Such is the momentum building that it carries the hope of a transformational movement transcending the services sector and reaching deep into the community. There are inspiring innovations occurring at a local level across our land, and across a broad range of traditionally adult-focussed sectors such as mental health, alcohol and other drugs, family violence and homelessness. What are we learning from initiatives which aim to build the capacity of all organisations to “think child, think family” and to build strong bridges between sectors in the service of vulnerable children and their families? What are the obstacles and what are the opportunities for a Child Aware Movement?

    Download Dorothy Scott.pdf

Paper Presentations

Paper presentations were presented under the following themes:

  • Youth participation – The ‘How’

    Speaker: Dina Dasic

    Speaker Biography:

    Dina Dasic is the Voice of the Child project worker at Glastonbury Community Services. She has a background in International Relations andProject Management with an interest in human rights. Originally from Serbia, and briefly living in the US, Dina has worked with UNICEF and other organisations advocating for children’s rights.

    Abstract Summary:

    This presentation is a practical guide on how to engage children and young people. It will explore some of the strategies used to engage young people and will look at youth inclusive practices more broadly and explore the various ways children and young people can be involved in decision making. Topics covered include organisational and professional commitment to youth participation, skills development of both staff and young people and the underlying belief that youth participation will result in better outcomes.

    Download PDF: Youth participation – The ‘How’

    HEAR ME Children and Young PeopleInclusive Practices in Services – The‘How’

    Speaker: Dr Sarah Leach

    Speaker Biography:

    Dr Sarah Leach is responsible for overseeing the strategic and service development opportunities for Glastonbury. This senior leadership positions part of Glastonbury’s Executive Management team, with a focus on leading and developing research and innovation, growth, advocacy projects, service quality, the volunteer and community relations program and engagement with stakeholders.

    Abstract Summary:

    The Voice of the Child project advocates for the vulnerable children and young people in our community by promoting their participation and input in community services and the broader community as a whole. This gives young people a positive sense of self-worth and integrity and a feeling they are a worthwhile and valued person. The project implementation involves an Inter-agency reference group, informed by ideas from a Youth Advisory Group. This project is designed to empower young people and result in meaningful participation for them, as well as help organisations and service providers improve their service provision according to the youth’s recommendations.

    Download PDF: HEAR ME Children and Young PeopleInclusive Practices in Services – The‘How’

    Practical implications of youth participation

    Speaker: Shona Evans

    Speaker Biography:

    Shona Evans went through the community service sector in her teenage years, which spurred her passion for helping others, especially young people, and advocating for their rights.Shona works as a Residential Care Worker and is passionate to make a positive change for young people in care through participation and engagement.

    Abstract Summary:

    This presentation will explore the positive outcomes youth engagement and participation can have on young people and their outcomes and prospects in life. It will explore the hows of participation, providing practical examples of both positive and negative practice. It will also look at the perception issue of young people in an adult centred world, the ways these perceptions impact the dynamic between adults and young people, as well as how this impacts young people’s willingness to participate.

    Download PDF: Practical implications of youth participation

    A partnership approach to developing Child Safe Organisations: A case study in continuous improvement

    Speaker: Melinda Crole, Janise Mitchell

    Speaker Biography:

    Melinda Crole currently holds the position of National Executive Manager, Member Development and Licensing for YMCA Australia. She has had over 10 years experience in senior management for YMCA and career experience in children’s services and programs, childcare and compliance development.

    Janise Mitchell is a social worker and Deputy CEO at the Australian Childhood Foundation. She has experience in child protection, high risk adolescents, public policy analysis, program development and evaluation. She has a Masters degree examining the policy and practice under pinning therapeutic care initiatives in Australia. Janise is also an Adjunct Research Fellow with Monash University.

    Abstract Summary:

    YMCA Australia, Australian Childhood Foundation A range of factors within organisations can increase the risk of abuse and exploitation of children. The YMCA embarked on a partnership in 2006 with the Australian Childhood Foundation in regards to the Safeguarding Children Program –a voluntary accreditation scheme that facilitates organisations to become compliant with seven key child protection standards. A number of examples of the key issues and challenges in implementing child safe policies across a national multi-member organisation will be presented and analysed with the group. Participants will learn about how this partnership operates in reality.

    Download PDF: A partnership approach to developing Child Safe Organisations: A case study in continuous improvement

  • Collaborative Practice: innovative child focused family dispute resolution

    Speaker: Amanda Shea Hart

    Speaker Biography:

    Dr Amanda Shea Hart is an accredited mental health clinician, mediator and Collaborative Practitioner who specialises in family disputes in cases of violence and abuse. She introduced child inclusive family dispute resolution to Australia. Her Doctoral research was in children’s best interests in family law, in cases of family violence.

    Abstract Summary:

    Multidisciplinary Collaborative Practice poses a lot of challenges, particularly in cases of domestic violence. The multidisciplinary Collaborative team provides an innovative and influential approach to help avoid decision making over post separation parenting arrangements that gamble with the child’s future safety and wellbeing. This model supports Australia’s national framework to make child protection everyone’s responsibility and recognises cross disciplinary collaboration as being beneficial in addressing clients’ needs and reducing risks to the child.

    Download PDF: Collaborative Practice: innovative child focused family dispute resolution

    Innovative Approaches to working with children who are homeless

    Speaker: Elizabeth OConnor, Deanna Rohrsheim, Carolina Haro, Deborah Lockwood

    Speaker Biography:

    Deanna Rohrsheim, Team Leader of Together 4 Kids (T4K) has a background in Art Therapy and Developmental Trauma as experienced by children and young people. Deanna has been instrumental in developing a child focused therapeutic service for the homlessness sector in SA.

    Abstract Summary:

    The first of its kind in Australia and a finalist in the inaugural National Homelessness Achievement Awards in 2012, Together4Kids provides childfocussed professional development and training to the homelessness and domestic violence sector; assists and works in partnership with services to deliver therapeutic group work to children; and provides individual therapy and case management for children with complex needs. This workshop will showcase and demonstrate a range of simple, effective and innovative exercises from Together4Kids group programs, along with tools and training resources that every worker in the community sector can implement when working with children and families.

    Download PDF: Innovative Approaches to working with children who are homeless

    Collaborative conversations shaping child and family sensitive practice across a large diverse service organisation

    Speaker: Jennifer Evans, Jody Sachs, Donna Shkalla

    Speaker Biography:

    Jennifer Evans National Coordinator Families Children & Food Security Australian Red Cross, has extensive experience in leading service innovation and organisational change across the health, community, disability and child and family services sectors within a community and client focused capacity building framework. Jody Sachs has worked in human services for the past 20 years in roles ranging from field work to executive management. With qualifications in education, community services, training and management she has focussed her career in the disability and homelessness sectors. Presently Jody works with the Australian Red Cross leading homelessness prevention programs in South Australia.

    Abstract Summary:

    Australian Red Cross identified that a child and family sensitive practice strategy would best facilitate the organisation to maximise its reach to children who may be experiencing challenging situations. Red Cross sought guidance from the Australian Centre for Child Protection in shaping the approach and to conduct a pilot workshop. This paper will report on the path travelled so far, identify challenges and enablers and next steps.

    Download PDF: Collaborative conversations shaping child and family sensitive practice across a large diverse service organisation

    Children and families; the ‘forgotten victims’ of the offending cycle

    Speaker: Romy Same, Nikki Fairchild

    Speaker Biography:

    Nicole Fairchild is VACRO’s Family Links worker at the Geelong magistrates court. She has a background in the justice system.

    Abstract Summary:

    Victorian Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders Children and families are often the forgotten victims of the offending cycle. Research highlights the trauma, grief and distress experienced by children as their parent travels through this cycle. Impacts can also include behavioural issues, emotional difficulties and physical symptoms as well as significant disruption to their family and broader systems. Using visual aids and small group discussion, this presentation will highlight how VACRO works to build community knowledge and skills around these issues. Key learning outcomes will include the indicators and risk factors to be aware of, themes, strategies and challenges that arise from supporting children in the context of parental contact with the justice system and provide insight into the complex interactions between an individual, their family and community.

    Download PDF: Children and families; the ‘forgotten victims’ of the offending cycle

    Linking Research to Practice – how an agency in WA is working towards better outcomes for vulnerable families

    Speaker: Pauline Dixon

    Speaker Biography:

    Pauline Dixon is the Executive Manager of Family Services at Wanslea. She has 25 years experience working with vulnerable children and families. She currently manages a team that works across a range of programs including parenting, prevention of children entering care, reunification and support to children of parents with mental illness. She is passionate about building the capacity of professionals working with families and has recently been involved in the co-production and implementation of an evidence based practice framework for working with vulnerable families and their children.

    Abstract Summary:

    Wanslea Wanslea’s home based parenting services have engaged practitioners in a process of coproduction of a practice framework that linked existing practices to research evidence. This framework aims to build on practice wisdom and enable vulnerable families to receive evidence based interventions that ensure their children’s safety and wellbeing.

    Download PDF: Linking Research to Practice – how an agency in WA is working towards better outcomes for vulnerable families

    Supporting Staff & Managers to Identify and Respond Proactively to Abuse and Neglect in Children with Disability

    Speaker: Melanie Wall, Meredith Fordyce

    Speaker Biography:

    Meredith Fordyce is an Occupational Therapist who has specialised in supporting children with disabilities and their families over the last 25 years. She is currently a Group Manager, working with Yooralla Children’s Services.

    Abstract Summary:

    Yooralla This Yooralla Child Aware Initiative aims to increase staff and management confidence in their ability to identify risk factors in carers, recognise the early signs of carer stress and respond proactively to prevent abuse. The Training Module also assists with defining staff and management roles when responding to concerns of abuse, managing ongoing relationships with families following identified abuse and self-care strategies for staff.

    Download PDF: Supporting Staff & Managers to Identify and Respond Proactively to Abuse and Neglect in Children with Disability

    Children in Brunei Darussalam

    Speaker: Amy Young

    Speaker Biography:

    Amy Young is currently completing her PhD research at Griffith University. Her topic is child protection in Brunei Darussalam.

    Abstract Summary:

    This paper examines possible strategies for promoting culturally appropriate child and family wellbeing and safety in the Muslim-majority nation of Brunei Darussalam. It evaluates the strengths of practices already in place and provides an overview of the everyday realities experienced by children in Brunei. Tentative conclusions can then be drawn on how suitable these approaches may be in other contexts such as within recent migrant communities in Australia.

    Download PDF: Children in Brunei Darussalam

    Bringing the child’s perspective into postseparation family dispute resolution: a window to the current practice context

    Speaker: Amelia Wheeler

    Speaker Biography:

    Amelia Wheeler is a PhD Candidate (Social Work) at UNSW. Amelia completed her Bachelor of Social Work (Honours Cl. 1, University Medal) and has worked in various clinical roles with children and families. Amelia has taught in social policy and socio-legal courses in the Undergraduate Social Work program at UNSW.

    Abstract Summary:

    This workshop provides an opportunity for those employed in the broader child and family sector to reflect upon the ways in which clinicians can keep children’s perspectives at the forefront of practice. Emerging data from the presenter’s PhD study explores how Relationships Australia NSW clinicians and managers involved in family dispute resolution services understand and incorporate the perspectives of children into post-separation mediation. This workshop features rich, qualitative accounts from in-depth interviews with practitioners. Participants will gain knowledge of the multiple ways in which practitioners are including the perspectives of children in a primarily adult-focused service, as well as the issues and constraints associated with this practice area. We will encourage small-group discussion as well as feedback discussion in the larger group.

    Download PDF: Bringing the child’s perspective into postseparation family dispute resolution: a window to the current practice context

    Using neuroplasticity to improve outcomes for disadvantaged children: The Benevolent Society’s Shaping Brains program

    Speaker: Dr Samantha Batchelor, Sheryl Batchelor

    Speaker Biography:

    Dr Samantha Batchelor has over 10 years’ experience in research and evaluation. Her PhD investigated links between parenting, children’s feelings about school and educational outcomes in disadvantaged communities.

    Abstract Summary:

    The Shaping Brains program is an innovative program for children aged 5 to 8 years that aims to improve children’s learning and enhance their wellbeing by applying the principles of neuroplasticity (the brain’s ability to reorganise and grow new connections in response to experience). Shaping Brains offers a suite of evidence-informed interventions that target essential skills including self-regulation, working memory, attention, and auditory processing.

    Download PDF: Using neuroplasticity to improve outcomes for disadvantaged children: The Benevolent Society’s Shaping Brains program

    Using neuroplasticity to improve outcomes for disadvantaged children: The Benevolent Society’s Shaping Brains program

    Speaker: Tina Guido

    Speaker Biography:

    Tina Guido has a Masters in Social Work and Graduate Diploma in Child and Family Practice Leadership, which has supported her lifelong commitment to working with marginalised members of society, especially vulnerable children and youth. She has worked with street and destitute children in India, during which time she co-founded the Coordination Committee for Vulnerable Children, funded by UNICEF. Tina’s vast experience as a relationship counsellor, and family and children’s counsellor and supervisor, has driven her current role at The Alannah and Madeline Foundation.

    Abstract Summary:

    The Alannah and Madeline Foundation ‘Children Ahead’ is a model of care developed by The Alannah and Madeline Foundation in partnership with RMIT University for children/youth affected by violence and trauma. The program’s uniqueness lies in its child-focus, long term and holistic work to aid recovery and build resilience. It addresses physical and mental health, emotional wellbeing, educational support, connection to family and community, resilience building, healthy and respectful relationships and social skills and development of competencies and talents.

    Download PDF: Using neuroplasticity to improve outcomes for disadvantaged children: The Benevolent Society’s Shaping Brains program

    Emerging Findings: ‘My Changing Family and Me’ – a group to support children through parental separation

    Speaker: Claudia Stephenson, Robyn Stowe

    Speaker Biography:

    Claudia Stephenson: Relationship Education and Family Safety Co-ordinator, North Region, Relationships Australia, NSW. Claudia has been part of Relationships Australia for over 6 years, initially as a Couple and Family Therapist and more recently as an integral part of the Group Work Program. Robyn Stowe: Senior Family Advisor at the Northern Beaches Family Relationships Centre. Robyn has worked for Relationships Australia for the past 6 years, and has been involved with the My Changing Family and Me program since its conception in 2010.

    Abstract Summary:

    Relationships Australia NSW ‘My Changing Family and Me’ program aims to engage and facilitate positive change for families experiencing separation and conflict. We contribute to the limited research available on children’s groups and outline effective strategies for increasing self-esteem and peer connections for clients. Findings from our ongoing evaluation demonstrate that treatment engagement was improved by the program, and that parental help seeking had increased.

    Download PDF: Emerging Findings: ‘My Changing Family and Me’ – a group to support children through parental separation

    Ditto’s Keep Safe Adventure! Personal safety education protecting against child sexual assault

    Speaker: Sharon Stewart

    Speaker Biography:

    Sharon Stewart worked as a teacher in both state and independent primary schools and worked in various roles in the community service sector prior to joining Bravehearts in 2013. With a Bachelor of Education (Primary) and a Diploma in Community Service Co-ordination, Sharon is the National Education Program Manager for Bravehearts. Sharon is passionate about nurturing and empowering children through early intervention programs that educate them with personal safety skills to help them stay safe and ultimately reduce the incidence of child sexual assault.

    Abstract Summary:

    Bravehearts Inc Ditto’s Keep Safe Adventure! Education Program (DKSA) has been developed by Bravehearts Inc as an important developmentally-appropriate child sexual assault prevention strategy. It is delivered to children from pre-school to Grade 3 and is based on protective behaviour programs. This paper will present an overview, sharing knowledge, experience and strategies to protect children from sexual harm.

    Download PDF: Ditto’s Keep Safe Adventure! Personal safety education protecting against child sexual assault

    Fostering together: better support and participation for the children of foster carers

    Speaker: Stephan Lund, Wendy Prete

    Speaker Biography:

    Stephan Lund is the Executive Manager Out of Home Care and Specialist Services at Wanslea Family Services. Stephan’s particular interests include innovation in fostering, evidence based practice, specialised fostering and research and evaluation. He has 15 years’ experience in the field and is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Western Australia, researching the area of permanence and stability in foster care.

    Abstract Summary:

    Wanslea There has been a significant research interest in the last 20 years in the biological children of foster carers and the support that they receive. Wanslea Family Services partnered with Edith Cowan University to develop electronic and printed resources to assist foster carers and support agencies to better support children of foster carers. The research team conducted focus groups with foster carers and children of foster carers to inform the resources to be developed. This workshop will present the innovative resources and give examples of how to use them. Included in this workshop will be the opportunity to view and discuss the DVD which features biological children of foster carers giving their view of the challenges and rewards of fostering.

    Download PDF: Fostering together: better support and participation for the children of foster carers

    Embedding child aware approaches: implementing change that lasts

    Speaker: Briannon Stevens, Karyn Walsh, Alison Thorburn

    Speaker Biography:

    Karyn Walsh is the Coordinator of Micah Projects Inc in Brisbane, President of the Queensland Council of Social Services (QCOSS) and a Director on the Board of Common Ground Queensland.

    Briannon Stevens is the Team Leader of the Innovation, Research and Evaluation Team.

    Alison Thorburn is Team Leader of the Family Support and Advocacy Team.

    Abstract Summary:

    Micah Projects Inc This interactive workshop provides participants an opportunity to learn about and apply contemporary implementation frameworks to embedding child aware approaches in their own context, using a case study from a community organisation in Brisbane. At the heart of the initiative has been a desire for all children and families who access services at Micah Projects to achieve a home, health, safety and strong connections. Participants will:

    • learn about a collaborative project to embed child awareness in a community organisation
    • take away practical knowledge of best practices in change management to support implementation of child aware approaches in their organisation
    • learn strategies for implementing change with practitioners, moving beyond training
    • take away practical child awareness resources and tools that can be implemented in their own organisations.


    Download PDF: Embedding child aware approaches: implementing change that lasts

    Protection and rights: How child protection systems can work to enact rights and responsibilities

    Speaker: Mary Ivec

    Speaker Biography:

    Mary Ivec has over twenty-five years’ experience in human services ranging from the not-forprofit sector, government, research, social work education and cross cultural mental health and trauma counselling with refugee communities. Her research interests include the application of restorative justice and responsive regulation in child protection and in social work practice.

    Abstract Summary:

    Australian National University Protecting children while preserving and supporting families is not an irreconcilable position to hold in child protection practice. While policy intent on engagement with families is evident, attention to how this engagement could be strengthened at an operational level is lacking. This presentation will focus on national and international strategies and approaches which have shown to be promising practices. Using a pyramid of parental engagement strategies start as a model for child protection, will be presented.

    Download PDF: Protection and rights: How child protection systems can work to enact rights and responsibilities

    Upholding rights and protection

    Speaker: Valerie Braithwaite, Sharynne Hamilton

    Speaker Biography:

    Valerie Braithwaite is a professor in the Regulatory Institutions Network, ANU. Her work focuses on the interplay between regulators and regulatees, the governing and the governed, asking the questions: What sort of institutional practices generate defiance and disrespect? What role does social capital play in regulatory effectiveness and failure? She has authored Defiance in Taxation and Governance: Resisting and Dismissing Authority in a Democracy (2009) in which she argues that successfully managing relationships is central to effective regulatory practice. She is currently working on child protection regulation and human rights with Sharynne Hamilton, Mary Ivec and Nathan Harris.

    Sharynne Hamilton is a Ngunnawal woman, and Research Assistant who works at the Regulatory Institutions Network at the ANU on the Community Capacity Building in Child Protection project, Ms Hamilton has many years’ experience in family inclusion in child protection practice, is a founding member of the Family Inclusion Network in WA and has been extensively involved in the development of the Family Inclusion Network in Australia. Research interests include the transfer of trauma across generations of families who have child protection interventions, and in rights-based and restorative approaches to child protection practice. Sharynne Hamilton graduated from the Australian National University in 2013 with BA Hons 1 (Political Science) and is looking to undertake graduate studies in the near future.

    Abstract Summary:

    Australian National University Child protection authorities in Australia work under enormous pressures to evaluate claims of abuse and neglect and put in place measures to protect children. At the same time, their working relationships with families and partner agencies to contribute constructively to finding solutions for children are poor. The authors identify key aspects and principles in restorative justice and regulatory theories, which can assist with system responsiveness and present a solution for effecting practical, multilevel system change.

    Download PDF: Upholding rights and protection

    Developing and implementing Evidence- Informed Practice (EIP): promoting resilience in vulnerable children

    Speaker: Greg Antcliff, Cherie Nay

    Speaker Biography:

    Greg Antcliff is a registered psychologist and Director Professional Practice with the Benevolent Society. Greg’s work focuses on developing and implementing evidence-informed practices (EIP’s) across diverse programs in child and family; community ageing and disability; and mental health services.

    Abstract Summary:

    The Benevolent Society The Benevolent Society is implementing a Resilience Practice Framework that focuses on maximising the likelihood of better outcomes for children by building a protective framework around them. This paper describes the application of three theoretical models and will present preliminary descriptive data findings for early implementation efforts, and future directions.

    Download PDF: Developing and implementing Evidence- Informed Practice (EIP): promoting resilience in vulnerable children

    Connect with Children: consulting with children across Australia

    Speaker: Daniel Leach-McGill

    Speaker Biography:

    Daniel Leach-McGill works for Good Beginnings Australia as Manager, Policy and Practice Integration and as Site Coordinator in Doveton. Daniel has a background in early childhood and community services with a particular interest in community development and integrated service delivery and is currently undertaking PhD research in Early Childhood Education.

    Abstract Summary:

    Good Beginnings Australia Good Beginnings is grappling with ways to authentically engage with young children and to bring their voices to the fore in guiding practice, policy and advocacy on the children’s behalf. This paper outlines aspirations and goals in becoming an organisation that systematically listens to children and represents them in action. The presentation will outline the process and approach taken and present the findings from this national consultation with children as an innovative Child Aware Approach.

    Download PDF: Connect with Children: consulting with children across Australia

    Promoting child and family wellbeing and safety

    Speaker: Lesley Taylor

    Speaker Biography:

    Lesley Taylor founded NAPCAN in the Northern Territory in March 2000 and is currently the NT Manager. Over the past 10 years, Lesley has delivered a range of workshops promoting the safety and wellbeing of children to thousands of people across the Territory in urban, rural and towns and communities. Lesley and a colleague were awarded the inaugural National Child Abuse Prevention (Rural and Remote) Award, 2012.

    Abstract Summary:

    NAPCAN The All Children Being Safe (ACBS) Protective Behaviours program for Preschool and Early Primary school aged children, was developed in partnership with Green Hill Community (New South Wales). ACBS draws on best practice in Protective Behaviours and Violence Prevention education, and complements both the Early Years Learning Framework, and Early Primary school curricula. ACBS is a Protective Behaviours program with a twist. Each of the six lessons for children are based around stories about bush animals; and include interactive modes of learning from movement, to craft, small group discussion and role play. This presentation will highlight community engagement processes that have supported the active adaptation of the ACBS stories and program to be delivered in local languages, and to match the local environment in Central Australia.

    Download PDF: Promoting child and family wellbeing and safety

    Youth Care UPA LCP: preparing young people in OoHC for independence

    Speaker: Angela Reid, Aiden Thomas

    Speaker Biography:

    Angela Reid has a Degree in Social Science and a Diploma in Management. She has worked in OoHC for the past seven years with children, young people and their carers and has a passion for ensuring young people leaving OoHC are physically and emotionally prepared.

    Aiden Thomas has worked extensively in OoHC for the past 15 years as a foster carer, mentor, youth worker and now Caseworker. He is currently studying a Bachelor of Behavioural Neuroscience and has a passion for developing new resources to enhance the lives of young people in OoHC.

    Abstract Summary:

    Youth Care UPA The Youth Care UPA Leaving Care Planner (LCP) was designed and developed in response to the crucial gap in the aftercare preparations of young people leaving Out of Home Care (OoHC). The planner details the skills and knowledge every young person in OoHC and their carers need to know before the young person exits their care situation. This presentation will showcase what the planner is, how it is used and why it was developed; it will also include an overview of the LCP interactive workshops that enhance the planner and aim to get young people physically involved in learning the skills and knowledge they need. The audience will have the opportunity to work in small groups with the LCP to generate their own ideas to engage Young People in preparing for their futures.

    Download PDF: Youth Care UPA LCP: preparing young people in OoHC for independence

    How do we know we are making a difference?

    Speaker: Tomasz Sitek

    Speaker Biography:

    Tomasz Sitek is a Research and Evaluation Officer at the Benevolent Society. He is involved in a number of evaluations across the social service sector, including evaluations of programs delivering home and community care as well as place based early intervention. He has recently been heavily involved in developing an organisation wide outcomes measurement framework, working across evaluation, IT, and practitioner teams.

    Abstract Summary:

    The Benevolent Society To answer the question, “Are we making a difference?” the Benevolent Society set out to develop a child and family outcomes measurement framework. This presentation will discuss the organisation’s journey to create and embed an outcomes framework across a range of child and family programs. It will discuss preliminary evaluation results and some of the lessons learnt in measuring an outcomes framework across a large, diverse organisation.

    Download PDF: How do we know we are making a difference?

    Circles of Change Revisited: using generative dialogue with professionals working with children and families to shape and improve practice

    Speaker: Dr Jennifer Cartmel, Marilyn Casley

    Speaker Biography:

    Marilyn Casley BEd BTeach(ECE) PhD(candidature) is an Associate Lecturer in Child and Family Studies Field Education, School of Human Services and Social Work. Marilyn has over 30 years experience in children’s and community services. Marilyn is a designer and facilitator of conversational processes and experiential learning programs. Marilyn’s research interests focus around using conversational processes to develop resilience and leadership skills in young children and the development of pedagogical leadership and integrated practice in children’s and human services.

    Dr Jennifer Cartmel, Senior Lecturer – School of Human Services and Social Work, Griffith University has worked in a range of children’s services. Her research interests include workforce development in children’s services and the many facets of school age care services. She has been presented with national university awards for outstanding contribution to student learning.

    Abstract Summary:

    School of Human Services and Social Work, Griffith University The Child and Family Studies team at Griffith University has a focus on developing the skills of critical reflection for those who undertake professional work with children and families. Their work stems from a teaching and learning grant (awarded in 2003) that developed the highly effective Circles of Change Revisited model (Cartmel, Macfarlane & Casley, 2012; Macfarlane & Cartmel, 2012). The model is part of a current research study investigating the outcomes of using the COC model over a 2 year period with Inclusion Support Agencies and with kindergarten and prep teachers, pedagogical leaders and child care centre managers. It has also developed into a tool (commissioned by the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations) to be used nationally by the children’s services sector for preservice training and professional development. The tool supports the implementation of critical reflection as part of every educator’s core practice, thus supporting the facilitation of quality practices in early childhood settings. This session is designed to use the COC model to engage in a professional conversation about the COC methodology and possibilities for engaging with professionals, families and children. By attending this workshop participants will:

    • Be engaged in experiential learning
    • Explore the COC model of critical reflection
    • Critically reflect on the use of this model in shaping and improving practice


    Download PDF: Circles of Change Revisited: using generative dialogue with professionals working with children and families to shape and improve practice

  • Working outside the silo: trialling a model for an inter-agency co-located team

    Speaker: Andrew Peschar & Catherine Schofield

    Speaker Biography:

    Andrew Peschar is the Principal Project Officer for the Office for Children, Department of Health and Human Services Tasmania.

    Catherine Schofield is the Nursing Director, Mental Health Services and Children and Youth Services, Department of Health and Human Services, Tasmania.

    Abstract Summary:

    The Tasmanian Government’s Office for Children is trialling a model for a collocated case assessment team to support the work of existing inter-agency programs. The presentation will discuss the origin of the team; the challenges in developing and operating the new service model; the experiences of practitioners who are able to step outside their normal duties and work in a very open and collaborative fashion and the potential benefits for families.

    Download Andrew Peschar.pdf

    A tale of two programs: integration and collaboration in one location

    Speaker: Jenny Terry

    Speaker Biography:

    Jenny Terry has over twenty years of experience as a Social Work Practitioner and, more recently, as a researcher and Clinical Manager. Jenny has specific responsibility for Wanslea’s reunification and Children of Parents with Mental Illness programs. She has a passion for working with children and young people.

    Abstract Summary:

    Wanslea This presentation describes the ways in which two child-centred, family-inclusive programs based in one WA agency operate to integrate service provision that specifically benefits the needs of vulnerable children. It discusses both the agency’s reunification program, where risk factors necessitating the removal of childrenare frequently associated with mental health issues, and the complementary child-centred COPMI Program.

    Download Jenny Terry.pdf

    Integration in Action: A Case Study

    Speaker: Lynn Farrell

    Speaker Biography:

    Lynn Farrell is the Integrated Services Manager at The Infants’ Home Ashfield. TIH employs early childhood teachers and allied health professionals who work within an interdisciplinary model to provide high quality services for children and families with complex support needs. Lynn has a strong commitment to children’s rights and social justice which informs her practice and leadership.

    Abstract Summary:

    The Infants’ Home This presentation will share knowledge learnt and the journey of working from an interdisciplinary model of service provision when working with a family with complex support needs. It will be presented from the perspectives and voices of the child, their family, the case worker and the key worker. It will also overview learnings from external agencies. Some of the key elements when working from an interdisciplinary perspective include strong leadership, collaborative partnerships, shared goals, professional identity and transparency. These will be explored as they emerged from real life meaningful practice. The importance of evaluating and reviewing processes and practices with a critical eye will complete the picture and provide participants with an opportunity to critically reflect and engage in dialogue with peers.

    Download Lynn Farrell.pdf

    The Parental Regard Project: Integrating a Relational Approach into Post- Separation Family Dispute Resolution

    Speaker: Amelia Wheeler, Bill Hewlett

    Speaker Biography:

    Amelia Wheeler is a PhD Candidate (Social Work) at UNSW. Amelia completed her Bachelor of Social Work (Honours Cl. 1, University Medal) and has worked in various clinical roles with children and families. Amelia has taught in social policy and socio-legal courses in the Undergraduate Social Work program at UNSW.

    Bill Hewlett currently works as a trainer and supervisor in Family Dispute Resolution with Relationships Australia. He has extensive experience in child inclusive mediation, having practised as a child consultant for nine years. Bill provides training and supervision for Family Relationship Centres, Family Relationship Service providers and Child Protection agencies.

    Abstract Summary:

    Relationships Australia New South Wales This workshop will report on the Parental Regard Pilot Project, conducted at the Blacktown Family Relationship Centre between 2011 and 2013. Amelia Wheeler will present rich qualitative accounts from research conducted with clients and practitioners, including a reflection on outcomes for children, and a discussion of the theoretical frameworks underpinning the Parental Regard model. Bill Hewlett will provide a unique and engaging presentation of the Parental Regard model through the use of role play with actors. An interactive dialogue between presenters, participants and actors will form a core part of the workshop. Participants will gain an understanding of how relational, client-centred models of practice can inform work with post-separation clients and an understanding of the importance of, and techniques to assist with, client engagement and rapport-building.

    Download Bill Hewlett & Amelia Wheeler.pdf

    Alternative realities: comparing the views of prisoners, their families and professionals on meeting children’s needs

    Speaker: Dr Catherine Flynn, Tess Bartlett, Paula Fernandez, Dr Anna Eriksson, Dr Kay McAuley

    Speaker Biography:

    Dr Catherine Flynn, Dr Anna Eriksson and Kay McAuley are Senior Lecturers at Monash University, from Social Work, Criminology and Nursing and Midwifery respectively, who are examining the care needs of children of prisoners in Victoria and New South Wales as part of an ARC Linkage grant. Paula Fernandez and Tess Bartlett are Research Associates on this grant.

    Abstract Summary:

    Monash University This paper reports on an ARC funded study being conducted in Victoria and NSW, which examines how children are responded to when their primary carer is facing prison, with a specific focus on care arrangements. Drawing on data gathered from around 120 incarcerated parents, carers and children, as well as 113 expert practitioners, this paper compares the needs for service delivery as identified by professional stakeholders and families.

    Download Catherine Flynn.pdf

    Building Animal Relationships with Kids (BARK)

    Speaker: Kedy Kristal

    Speaker Biography:

    Kedy Kristal has been working to support women and children to escape domestic violence since 1983. She joined the Patricia Giles Centre in 1992. Over the last 21 years the Patricia Giles Centre has grown into a specialist Domestic and Family Centre providing high quality and innovative services to women and children.

    Abstract Summary:

    Patricia Giles Centre BARK is an animal assisted therapeutic group program for children affected by family violence. The program promotes empathy, healing and trust in primary aged children who have experienced family violence and who have lost a pet due to adult violence, leaving their home or hurting animals themselves due to their exposure to family violence. The program is facilitated by a children’s counsellor, child support worker and animal educator from the RSPCA.

    Download Kedy Kristal.pdf

    Grandparent Advisers

    Speaker: Meredith Oglethorpe

    Speaker Biography:

    Meredith Oglethorpe is one of six Grandparent Advisers across Australia providing specialist services in the Families and Child Care portfolios. She brings to this role 20 years of experience in the Department of Human Services. Working across Victoria and Tasmania, Meredith has assisted and supported more than 500 grandparent carers’ families obtain access to programs.

    Abstract Summary:

    Department of Human Services Centrelink Grandparent Advisers are available in selected states to support grandparents with fulltime caring responsibility for their grandchildren. Grandparent advisers work to understand family circumstances and provide information and access to payments and services. Appointments with specialist staff and referrals to other service providers are also given. This workshop will provide examples of the expanding role of Grandparent Advisors and seek discussion of future needs of grandparent carers.

    Download Meredith Oglethorpe.pdf

    Steps to Prep: Integrating early education, health and family support for a better start to school

    Speaker: Dr Samantha Batchelor, Sue Durance, Carol Mortensen

    Speaker Biography:

    Dr Samantha Batchelor has over 10 years’ experience in research and evaluation. Her PhD investigated links between parenting and educational outcomes in disadvantaged communities.

    Sue Durance and Carol Mortensen are Senior Practitioners who developed the Steps to Prep program at The Benevolent Society’s North Gold Coast Early Years Centre.

    Abstract Summary:

    The Benevolent Society Steps to Prep is an innovative transition to school program that uses a tripartite referral and assessment process, building links between families, childcare centres, primary schools and the health system, to facilitate a smooth start to school for children identified as at risk. This presentation will describe the development and implementation of the program and present preliminary evaluation results.

    Download Samantha Batchelor.pdf

    Intervening early through Play: Building understanding and capacity between parents and children

    Speaker: Dr Kym Macfarlane

    Speaker Biography:

    Dr Kym Macfarlane has experience as an early childhood teacher and in higher education in the field of Human Services and Child and Family Studies. Her research and publication work covers a wide range of topics related to the disciplines of human services and education and she demonstrates a strong understanding of practice related issues in these disciplines. Dr Macfarlane’s PhD research entitled “An analysis of parent engagement in schooling in contemporary Queensland” has stretched her research into philosophical and sociological perspectives on education and particularly relates to the notion of community engagement in schooling and the issues for parents that result from this engagement in the current context. This work compliments her early childhood education and care knowledge and enables her to deliver teaching and research that is underpinned by multiple knowledge bases.

    Abstract Summary:

    Griffith University, 2The Salvation Army Play can be used as a soft entry, early intervention and prevention activity that assists families to build and strengthen interactions, attachments and relationships. This paper explores the notion of ‘authentic play experiences’ and investigates how such experiences might be implemented and used to build relationships between parents and children.

    Download Kym MacFarlane.pdf

    PLAY. A strength based, individual, holistic parent child interaction program for vulnerable families

    Speaker: Debbie Maddocks, Beth Kershaw

    Speaker Biography:

    Debbie Maddocks started teaching at a young person psychiatric unit before joining Manchester’s Sure Start Team, home visiting some of England’s most vulnerable families. She left England in 2011 and joined the Early Years Team at Glastonbury. Debbie strongly advocates that every child has the right to a positive childhood.

    Beth Kershaw’s background is in teaching and social work, working with vulnerable families and their children. Beth has worked in the Early Years Team at Glastonbury for 10 years, developing, delivering and evaluating the PLAY program. Beth is passionate about social justice and the impact of trauma on child development.

    Abstract Summary:

    Glastonbury Community Services Glastonbury’s Early Years PLAY Program provides parents with children 0-6 the support needed in enhancing their child’s development through play. We focus on parental engagement, attachment and building parent capacity, knowledge and self-esteem. The child centred, strength based PLAY program is delivered within the home so parents can generalise skills learnt in their natural environment. The program has been built from research and evidence collected from over 10 years of delivering Glastonbury community programs. We recognise that all parents are their child’s first and main educator. But at some point some parent’s capacity can be impacted by various factors such as mental health, isolation, substance abuse or themselves having had poor parenting modelled to them as a child. This workshop will look at how the PLAY program evaluated and adapted a strengths based, family focused method of delivery and to review some of the outcomes attained.

    Download Debbie Maddocks & Beth Kershaw.pdf

  • Deaf Children Australia’s Safe Program

    Speaker: Alice Brennan

    Speaker Biography:

    Alice Brennan has a Bachelor and Honours Degree in Psychology. She plans to do further post-graduate study to achieve her goal of working in prevention and promotion of youth mental wellbeing. Being profoundly deaf with two Cochlear implants, Alice has a wealth of personal experience in deafness and hopes to use this to address the needs of those who are deaf or hearing impaired. Her work at Deaf Children Australia involves promotion of a web-based safety and awareness program. She also works for a mentoring program for hearing impaired youth and is a psychology research assistant at La Trobe University.

    Abstract Summary:

    International research has consistently highlighted that deaf and disabled children are at a substantially greater risk of being the subject of abuse. Deaf Children Australia’s ‘Safe’ programme supports the personal safety skills training of children through a ground breaking web based resource, helping teachers, social workers and psychologists give children aged seven and over the awareness, information and language to protect themselves.

    Download Alice Brennan & Alan Campbell.pdf

    Joining the dots to promote child wellbeing and safety by connecting national initiatives

    Speaker: Lauren Tyrell, Bradley Morgan, Helen Francis, Cathie Valentine

    Speaker Biography:

    Lauren Tyrell started work in the area of social policy, holding research and evaluation roles at the University of Melbourne and the Brotherhood of St Laurence. She has worked as a Senior Project Officer for MHPN since 2009, where she supports the establishment of networks of mental health professionals across the country. Lauren enjoys the opportunity to collaborate with other organisations who share similar objectives and values, to enhance each organisation’s capacity to achieve common goals.

    Bradley Morgan is Director of the Children of Parents with a Mental Illness (COPMI) national initiative. Bradley has previous experience working in the rural health sector as an occupational therapist in early childhood development and mental health prevention. Bradley has also been involved in public health research, health promotion initiatives and workforce development.

    Helen Francis has extensive experience from working in the non-government sector, significant project and contract management knowledge as well as her grounded and practical involvement in Community Development and Community Capacity Building initiatives.

    Cathie Valentine manages Cardinia Communities for Children for Anglicare Victoria. She is committed to building collective responses to make a difference for vulnerable children and their families.

    Abstract Summary:

    Mental Health Professionals Network, 2 Children of Parents with a Mental Illness, 3 Australian Centre for Child Protection, 4 Anglicare Victoria Communities for Children Collaboration: a process by which parties who see different aspects of a problem can constructively explore their differences and search for solutions that go beyond their own limited version of what is possible. (B Gray 1989). This symposium will demonstrate the benefits of strategic collaboration by sharing the journey of how four nationally funded initiatives came to join the dots and bring their collective wisdom, knowledge, and resources to support community action with a focus on vulnerable children and their families. Using the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children as the policy environment, we will explore the synergies between the Mental Health Professionals Network (MHPN), Children of Parents with a Mental Illness (COPMI), the Australian Centre for Child Protection through the Protecting and Nurturing Children; Building Capacity Building Bridges initiative and the Communities for Children Program. Each speaker will outline their agency’s journey to child aware approaches, and then how collective conversations and a combined approach has extended their area of influence in communities. This Symposium will show how collaborating with other organisations who share similar goals and values across professions and sectors at both an organisational level, as well as at a local network level, enhances the capacity of each organisation to achieve the common goal of increasing child aware practice.

    Download Lauren Tyrell.pdf

    Interpretations of meaning: the “white welfare” voice and Aboriginal child, family and Community voices in the official dialogue of cultural consultancy

    Speaker: Anne Nicolaou, Leila Plush

    Speaker Biography:

    Leila Plush is a Kaurna and Narrunga woman and the Cultural Consultant for Aboriginal Family Support Services.

    Anne Nicolaou is Leila’s manager, who prior to moving to AFSS, worked in statutory child protection for many years.

    Abstract Summary:

    Aboriginal Family Support Services This presentation will explore some of the commonly expressed “white welfare” representations of Aboriginal children and families that continue to dominate and define the care and protection dialogue, and deconstruct this voice to the underlying themes about power, influence, and recognition of the experiences and needs of Aboriginal people. The presentation has a practical focus in offering insights and advice to those working in frontline care and protection processes with Aboriginal children and families.

    Download Anne Nicolaou & Leila Plush.pdf

    Parenting Skills for Stormy Times

    Speaker: Sarah Decrea

    Speaker Biography:

    Sarah Decrea is an educator/community development worker with the Indigenous Parenting Support Services. Sarah is a Torres Strait Islander woman (Sabai Island) who grew up in Port Ausgusta. Sarah has worked in early childhood both in Adelaide and Port Augusta.

    Abstract Summary:

    1Relationships Australia As a non-government organisation, it is important that Relationships Australia South Australia provides a safe healing space for Aboriginal parents; a non-judgmental and non-blaming space where parents can talk about what has happened and a space where they can share their struggles with other parents who have the same lived experiences. This workshop will demonstrate best practice principles and creative ways to support vulnerable people when working with multiple providers. Participants will learn how to facilitate successful reunification/access meetings for parents and their children in an environment of complex and competing needs.

    Download Sarah Decrea.pdf

    Developing a Reflective Practice Tool for Engaging with Socially Isolated New Parents

    Speaker: Dr Wendy Foote, Dr Robert Urquhart

    Speaker Biography:

    Dr Wendy Foote, PhD is the D/CEO of the Association of Child Welfare Agencies NSW. She is also an adjunct lecturer in Social Work Practice at UNSW where she previously worked and has continued her involvement in research at ACWA. Wendy has worked across a number of intervention areas and sectors while maintaining a focus on children and families: forensic/family law; research/child protection; child sexual assault counselling/family support; early intervention/ Children’s services. Wendy is interested in translating research and current knowledge into best practice.

    Dr Robert Urquhart, PhD is Senior Researcher, Association of Children’s Welfare Agencies (ACWA) and a trained social worker. He is also a highly experienced research manager, social science researcher and social policy analyst and has participated in research covering a broad range of areas related to children’s wellbeing and within a variety of leading University-based and government research institutions and nongovernment organisations. Robert is interested in understanding the value of formal and informal support to vulnerable children and families.

    Abstract Summary:

    Association of Children’s Welfare Agencies (ACWA) This workshop explores the development of a resource that is designed to support workers in their work with engaging socially isolated clients. Participants will have the opportunity to hear the tool described, and trial the tool in small groups using case study examples. The workshop will suit participants who are looking for better ways to work with socially isolated clients and who are interested in learning about, and contributing ideas to, the further development of a reflective practice tool. We will share insights from the pilot project into how reflection can help overcome the challenges of working with the socially isolated. You will learn how to integrate reflective practice with your work and help clients to begin to build social connectedness and access to parenting support.

    Download Wendy Foote & Robert Urquhart.pdf

    Strengthening Children’s Voices: Strategies in Engaging Parents in Child Focused Thinking

    Speaker: Joanne Trentin, Norma Williams

    Speaker Biography:

    Joanne Trentin currently works as the Senior Practice Advisor – Child and Family Wellbeing – Family Law Services. Joanne has previously been the Manager and Senior Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner for an FRC in Queensland. Joanne has qualifications in Law and Social Science.

    Norma Williams is a Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner and Manager of FRC Logan, Brisbane. Norma has a background spanning over 30 years in social science with a focus on child and human development; conflict resolution; and education and training. Norma’s work as manager and practitioner has a focus on staff professional development.

    Abstract Summary:

    UnitingCare Community In this interactive workshop we will focus on how child-focussed practice in a family law context can support and assist children and their parents affected by long-term high conflict and attachment trauma post-separation. This workshop supports the principles of the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children. We will share how Family Dispute Resolution Practitioners can engage with clients in a ‘child informed’ experience within a legislative and family law context, and with this clarity of purpose in dispute resolution, create a developmentally therapeutic and solutions focussed environment during the crisis. Our workshop will focus on evidencing the premise that parenting disputes cannot be ‘resolved’ pragmatically and provide a safe and secure parenting base for children.

    Download Joanne Trenitin & Norma Williams.pdf

    Child Aware Approaches – recognising and implementing child aware principles and practice

    Speaker: Rhys Price-Robertson, Cathryn Hunter

    Speaker Biography:

    Rhys Price-Robertson joined the Institute in 2009. His areas of interest include family relationships and child protection. As well as experience in research and information exchange, he has worked as a nurse in the aged care and mental health sectors, and as an intern in the Ethics and Health Department of the World Health Organization in Geneva.

    Cathryn Hunter joined the Institute in 2010. She is a research officer in the Child Family Community Australia (CFCA) information exchange researching across the areas of family relationships, parenting and child protection. She is also involved in several program evaluations related to couple relationships and parenting.

    Abstract Summary:

    1Australian Institute of Family Studies The Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) was commissioned by the Department of Social Services to produce a paper outlining some of the key principles of Child Aware Approaches National Initiative and to showcase best practice examples. The main purpose of this paper was to make the application of Child Aware Approaches practical for service managers and practitioners working in the human services, and in particular those working in adult-focused service sectors. In this session, the key components of the AIFS paper will be outlined. This will be followed by an interactive discussion and small group activities, where participants will have the opportunity to reflect on how Child Aware principles and practices may apply to their own settings. The key learning outcomes for participants will be the identification of how Child Aware principles and practices can be applied at the local level (e.g., in their own sector or workplace). It is hoped that the information generated in this session can contribute to future Child Aware initiatives.

    Download Rhys Price-Robertson & Cathryn Hunter.pdf

    Keeping Kids Central: an interactive workshop

    Speaker: Dr Tim Moore, Prof Morag McArthur

    Speaker Biography:

    Prof Morag McArthur is the founding Director of the Institute of Child Protection Studies at Australian Catholic University. Her research expertise include issues facing vulnerable children, young people and families including homelessness, substance abuse, implementation of social policy and early intervention approaches using innovative and participatory methodologies.

    Dr Tim Moore joined ICPS in 2005 after working in the community sector and has since conducted projects engaging children, young people and families on a number of sensitive issues using participatory research. Tim developed the Kids Central toolkit and training package to help workers develop their child-centred practice..

    Abstract Summary:

    Australian Catholic University Although there is general agreement that services should be child aware, there is often little guidance as to how to appropriately and effectively support children’s participation in practice. This interactive workshop will provide participants with a series of tools and strategies for working in child-centred ways and in listening, hearing and acting on what children say and need. Participants will have an opportunity to reflect on their current practice, to identify openings for new ways of working and in helping children engage in program planning and development. Participants will also have an opportunity to try out some of the tools developed by the Institute of Child Protection Studies at the Australian Catholic University in its Kids Central toolkit.

    Download Tim Moore and Morag Macarthur.pdf

    Retaining a sense of self while being bulldozed: Does a manualised resiliencebuilding program have any positive effects on participants’ self-esteem?

    Speaker: Angela Markovic, Dr Pamela Connor

    Speaker Biography:

    Angela Markovic: Provisional Psychologist, studying a Master in Clinical Psychology at the University of Canberra. Angela graduated with a first class honours and was also awarded the University Medal in 2012. Angela is particularly interested in working with children and endeavours to gain a greater understanding in the development of attachment and resilience.

    Dr Pamela Connor: Dr Connor is the Director of the Psychology Clinic at the University of Canberra. Prior to accepting this position, Dr Connor was employed as Director of the Psychology and Social Work Department at Calvary Healthcare ACT. She was previously employed as the Implementation Manager for the Intensive Treatment and Support Program, Disability ACT; as a Senior Psychologist for Care and Protection Services; as Senior Psychologist in the Assessment Unit of Family Services; and as a psychologist within Mental Health ACT. Dr Connor also conducts clinical practice in her own private practice.

    Abstract Summary:

    Provisional Psychologist: University of Canberra, Associate Professor / Director, Psychology Clinic: University of Canberra A study has been developed to evaluate the effectiveness of a recently developed antibullying intervention program. Goodbye Bully is a cognitive-behavioural intervention that targets resiliency, assertiveness, self-concept, healthy friendships, coping with criticism, cyber bullying, and problem solving for school-aged bullied children. As low self-concept is a prominently harmful effect of bullying, it is a worthwhile factor to focus attention towards.

    Download Angela Markovic & Pamela Connor.pdf

    Working in the Cloud – making personal records accessible?

    Speaker: Dr Margaret Kertesz, Prof Cathy Humphreys

    Speaker Biography:

    Dr Margaret Kertesz is a research fellow with the Alfred Felton Research Program at the University of Melbourne. With a background in both historical research and social work, Margaret has worked in out-of-home care services and also spent some years as a researcher in the Child and Family Welfare sector.

    Abstract Summary:

    University of Melbourne Working in the Cloud project is exploring the possibilities of a digital storage space for personal documents of those in out-of-home care. Young people are working as expert consultants alongside researchers to design a ‘virtual locker’ in an easily accessible format for all users – children in care, and their workers and carers. The security of the personal information held is paramount and is a significant feature of the research.

    Download Margaret Kertesz.pdf

    The Common Approach for Communities Working With Families

    Speaker: Amarylise Bessey, Katrina Bester

    Speaker Biography:

    Amarylise Bessey is a Senior Research Manager with ARACY, where she has led the formative evaluation of the Common Approach and its implementation in FMHSS and in other agencies. Amarylise’s particular areas of expertise are in conducting research with children and families, and in communications research.

    Katrina Bester is employed by Anglicare Tasmania in the ‘Communities for Children’ Program as an Advanced Skills Worker. Katrina has Masters of Social Work and Bachelor of Education and Social Work degrees. Katrina is passionate about equality for all and working toward assisting all people to achieve their full potential.

    Abstract Summary:

    The Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth, Anglicare Tasmania Inc The Common Approach to Assessment, Referral and Support, developed by ARACY, skills practitioners in first contact with families to better engage with, identify strengths and needs, and link families with the supports they need before problems escalate into crises. This presentation details the implementation of The Common Approach in a Communities for Children setting in northern Tasmania, facilitated by Anglicare Tasmania, including the steps required to establish support among service providers, identify potential barriers and facilitators to successful implementation, training and support. This workshop format will allow for discussion of the benefits of The Common Approach for different settings and organisations, and unpacking of the intricacies of the implementation.

    Download Amarylise Bessey & Katrina Bester.pdf

    Addressing filicide in Australia: developing professional knowledge and service provision

    Speaker: Prof Thea Brown, Dr Danielle Tyson, Paula Fernandez Arias

    Speaker Biography:

    The Monash University Filicide Research Team of Professor Thea Brown, Dr Danielle Tyson and Paula Fernandez Arias, has been conducting research on filicide since 2009. They have published articles on filicide in Children Australia and Child Abuse Review (UK) and presented papers at conferences in Australia and overseas. They are the organisers of the international conference series on Filicide in Prato Italy. Addressing Filicide: The International Cross- Country Comparison and Dialogue.

    Abstract Summary:

    Monash University, Caulfield VIC This paper presents the findings of the first Australian study to examine filicide deaths in broad outline and in detail. Using Coroner’s files, the study investigated ten years of filicide deaths in Victoria to learn of incidence, the nature of the events, the perpetrators, the factors associated with the events, and the families’ contact with community services. Key findings from the study and recommendations as to how professionals and services can improve their approach in order to overcome these serious events will be presented.

    Download Thea Brown.pdf

    Moving to prevention: exploring outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children through intensive/ targeted family support services

    Speaker: Garry Matthews, Prof Clare Tilbury

    Speaker Biography:

    Garry Matthews, from the Eora nation of NSW, has been CEO of Coffs Harbour Aboriginal Family Community Care Centre since 1994, and has served on the SNAICC National Executive since 1999. Prof Clare Tilbury of Griffith University has over thirty years’ experience as a social work practitioner, researcher and educator. Her research interests include child protection outcomes, accountability and performance management.

    Abstract Summary:

    Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care (SNAICC), Griffith University Many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families remain significantly impacted by the intergenerational trauma that has resulted from past policies of forced child removal, and processes of colonisation and assimilation. This presentation reports on continuing research that is evaluating practice in five Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled organisations providing intensive support for families at risk of, or subject to, child protection intervention. The research is revealing important aspects of good practice that are delivering strong outcomes for vulnerable families.

    Download Clare Tilbury.pdf

    Child aware means being trauma aware

    Speaker: Dr Cathy Kezelman

    Speaker Biography:

    Dr Cathy Kezelman is President of Adults Surviving Child Abuse, the leading national organisation for adults abused or traumatised as children. She is a medical practitioner with her own lived experience of childhood trauma. She is the co-author of ASCA’s Practice Guidelines for Treatment of Complex trauma and Trauma Informed Care and Service Delivery.

    Abstract Summary:

    Adults Surviving Child Abuse, Mental Health Coordinating Council This presentation will present the current progress and future objectives towards integrated systems and services which are informed about, and responsive to, trauma and its impacts. Being child aware means being trauma aware, with trauma informed workers and organisations, and skilled practitioners working with traumatised children, adolescents, adults and families. This presentation will present the progress already made towards policy reform, research, research into practice, workforce education and training and organisational change processes.

    Download Cathy Kezelman.pdf

    Supporting practitioners’ engagement with parents with multiple and complex needs to improve child wellbeing: eLearning

    Speaker: Helen Francis, Christine Gibson

    Speaker Biography:

    Helen Francis is the Project Manager of the Protecting and Nurturing Children Building Capacity Building Bridges Initiative. Christine Gibson has extensive experience as a social worker, and has contributed to a wide range of activities including a series of projects aimed at helping to improve services for homeless children and families.

    Abstract Summary:

    Australian Centre for Child Protection The Child Aware Supervision e-learning resource uses the knowledge gained from conducting the three-year initiative; Protecting and Nurturing Children: Building Capacity, Building Bridges. This practical e-learning resource can assist practitioners whose clients face multiple and complex issues by informing practice change. This workshop will demonstrate the practical features of this e-learning tool and show how it can develop knowledge, skills and confidence to assist practitioners to improve child wellbeing.

    Download Helen Francis & Christine Gibson.pdf

    You want a bit of everyone when you are growing up: Involving children and young people to link up services

    Speaker: Dr Karleen Gwinner, Angela Jegou

    Speaker Biography:

    Play a Part is a program advancing child abuse and neglect preventative strategies. In 2013, Dr Gwinner (CYRC) undertook an evaluationresearch to establish evidence of the program’s positive influence for families, young people and children and evaluate how the program assists communities to action and sustain child friendly activities.

    Abstract Summary:

    Child and Youth Research Centre QUT (CYRC), NAPCAN Play a Part (PaP) NAPCAN’s Play a Part program is unique as a prevention program in the way that it engages children and young people to have a voice and to be heard to address the complex problems of child abuse and neglect. This presentation will provide delegates with knowledge of both formal and informal practices that facilitate and monitor child-led, rights-based notions of participation in the prevention of child abuse and neglect.

    Download Karleen Gwinner.pdf

    Beyond the rhetoric: how do we learn to really include children in health service planning and delivery?

    Speaker: Dr Sue Packer AM

    Speaker Biography:

    Dr Sue Packer AM has been a paediatrician since 1972 and worked as a Community Paediatrician with a special interest in child abuse and abuse prevention since 1990. Sue works at the Child at Risk Health Unit, ACT, where her role regularly includes assessing children for concerns of abuse and neglect. Sue was awarded the Order of Australia for services to Paediatrics, Child Protection and the Community, in 1999.

    Abstract Summary:

    Families Australia Board / NAPCAN As a nation we are not skilled in hearing children’s voices. Is it important for health service delivery? I have worked for the last 20 years in a health service for children and teenagers where there are concerns about abuse and neglect. I will discuss my learnings from my experiences designing this service and maintaining and developing the services and facilities from the perspective of children. I will explore possibilities for including children more effectively.

    Download Sue Packer.pdf

  • How do mothers with mental illness plan the care of their children when facing imprisonment?

    Speaker: Alannah Burgess

    Speaker Biography:

    Alannah Burgess is a PhD candidate at Monash University’s Department of Social Work who is looking at how imprisoned mothers with a mental illness plan the care of their children when facing imprisonment. She also works as a research assistant for the Department of Social Work, Monash University.

    Abstract Summary:

    As part of a multi-state study examining how primary carers plan the care for their children when they are arrested, sentenced and imprisoned, mothers with a mental illness imprisoned within Victoria were interviewed. Complementary data was gathered from professionals from Forensicare, Victoria’s forensic mental health service. The results indicated that a range of personal and systemic factors influence the mother’s ability to transverse multiple adult focused systems in order to plan the care of their children at the three crucial time-points of arrest, sentencing and imprisonment.

    Download Alannah Burgess.pdf

    More than just words: New approaches to children’s participation

    Speaker: Dr Tim Moore, Prof Morag McArthur

    Speaker Biography:

    Prof Morag McArthur is the founding Director of the Institute of Child Protection Studies at Australian Catholic University. Her research expertise include issues facing vulnerable children, young people and families including homelessness, substance abuse, implementation of social policy and early intervention approaches using innovative and participatory methodologies.

    Dr Tim Moore joined ICPS in 2005 after working in the community sector and has since conducted projects engaging children, young people and families on a number of sensitive issues using participatory research. Tim developed the Kids Central toolkit and training package to help workers develop their child-centred practice.

    Abstract Summary:

    Australian Catholic University There is a strong view that to be child aware, practitioners must provide multiple openings and opportunities for children’s views to be heard and acted upon. This workshop will take a theoretical view of children’s participation, providing participants with a strong rationale and a framework for identifying ways that children’s views and wishes might best be elicited, understood and taken into account when providing services within child, youth and family support programs. The benefits for individual children, families, workers and organisations will be explored by the group as will some of the challenges of implementing participatory approaches. The workshop will include group discussion and activities. Delegates will gain an understanding of the international literature and findings from research conducted by the Institute of Child Protection Studies.

    Download Tim Moore & Morag Macarthur.pdf

    Our Men Our Healing

    Speaker: Steven Torres-Carne

    Speaker Biography:

    Steven Torres-Carne Senior Project Officer, The Healing Foundation, Our Men Our Healing Project NT. Bardi name Djumbleboy; Yolngu name Bilij Bilij. Descended from Jabbir Jabbir and Bardi Nation’s Dampier Peninsula Kimberley WA also Scottish, English, French, Philippino,/Spanish heritage. Worked with Northern Land Council, Social Security, North Australian Aboriginal Legal Aid Service, Relationships Australia NT (Family Relationship Centre), Yilli Rreung Regional Council Indigenous Youth Issues & Needs Consultancy, Miwatj Aboriginal Health Service, Yirrkala Council & School, Anglicare WA (Family Relationship Centre Broome) FRC Mediator and Facilitator of ‘Hey Dad’ Indigenous Dads, Alternative to Violence and Red Dust Healing programs, Suicide Response Team Member and Chairperson Broome Men’s Outreach Service (2 years).

    Abstract Summary:

    The Healing Foundation Our Men Our Healing is a project that the Healing Foundation has been undertaking in three remote localities in the Northern Territory in partnership with the Office of Children and Families. The projects are assisting men to explore the nature of their healing in the context of their relationships with their families and children and utilising a codesign methodology to drive systemic change. The workshop will:

    • give participants an understanding of how men have been engaged in the co-design of their own healing projects and been enabled to drive and lead change in their communities in relation to domestic and family violence and child abuse
    • detail the impact that this has had on men in the community and the pathway to healing it has enabled
    • outline the learnings and challenges to date including how the Healing Foundation has used implementation science to guide and develop our processes.

    The workshop, with Q&A, will include representatives of the Men from the communities the project is being delivered in.

    Download Steven Torres-Carne.pdf

    Open adoption for children and babies from care

    Speaker: Dr Susan Tregeagle

    Speaker Biography:

    Dr Susan Tregeagle has been Program Services Senior Manager at Barnardos Australia for the last twenty years. She is a social worker with a PhD in Social Administration. Susan has published extensively on permanency planning, case management, costing of services, service user participation, and, information and communication technology in child welfare.

    Abstract Summary:

    Barnardos Australia This paper considers the rights of non-Indigenous children who are otherwise caught in an inadequate foster care system and destined for a life where they never really ‘belong’ to a family. There is a new form of adoption that is ‘open’ and ensures ongoing contact between a child and their birth parents. We will present findings of a study on ten years practice of open adoption involving 65 children.

    Download Susan Tregeagle.pdf

    Enhancing inter-sectoral practice between alcohol and other drug services and the child and family welfare sector

    Speaker: Michael White

    Speaker Biography:

    Michael White is the Senior Project Manager – Workforce Development at NCETA. Michael has more than 20 years of experience in the community sector with a focus on workforce development and learning. Michael’s current work includes a focus on the intersection between alcohol and other drugs and the wider welfare system with an emphasis on engaging with child welfare, domestic violence and family support services. Michael’s previous roles include: Workforce Development Leader, Australian Centre for Child Protection; Executive Director of Victoria’s Community Services and Health Industry Training Board; and, Learning and Development Director at the Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare in Victoria.

    Abstract Summary:

    National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction, Flinders University This presentation will explore the opportunities and challenges that arise when the alcohol and other drug sector seeks to work collaboratively with a range of other services to deliver ‘child and family sensitive’ services. The presentation will highlight some of the resources that have been developed to support child and family sensitive practice and discuss the process involved in co-developing resources across sectors with different philosophical orientations, values and perspectives.

    Download Michael White.pdf

    My Kids and Me: Building capacity in the parents of at risk children

    Speaker: Angharad Candlin, Christine Gibson

    Speaker Biography:

    Angharad Candlin is a Psychologist with over 20 years experience working with families. Currently, she is the Co-Ordinator of Parent Education with CatholicCare Sydney and an Adjunct Supervisor with Macquarie University’s Psychology Department. Prior to her current role she worked in the area of Adoption for 15 years; initially as a caseworker and then as the Principal Officer of Centacare Adoption Services NSW followed by Manager of the NSW Post Adoption Resource Centre. Angharad has researched, designed and written a number of parenting courses and regularly facilitates groups for parents and training for professionals.

    Christine Gibson BSW, MPS is the Community Research Liaison Coordinator for the Australian Centre for Child Protection, a national research centre based at the University of South Australia. Christine has led many diverse evaluation and other projects including many with a focus on services to children. Before moving to Adelaide in 2007 she was the Manager of Research and Quality Assurance for UnitingCare Burnside, a large children’s welfare agency in NSW. Christine was Partner Investigator on an ARC-funded project The Needs of Children in Out of Home Care. Earlier she had worked for community legal centres before applying her accumulated experience to teach in the School of Social Work at UNSW.

    Abstract Summary:

    CatholicCare Sydney, Centre for Child Protection, Hawke Research Institute Uni of South Australia The majority of families that attend secondary and tertiary child protection services come with entrenched and complex issues, resulting from intergenerational childhood trauma. In order to promote the safety and wellbeing of the children, it is essential to provide an opportunity for parents to heal their inner child and to meet the emotional milestones that they missed out on in their early years. This workshop will commence with a presentation on the work of the Newpin program and will outline some of the key interventions. The Newpin model is underpinned by attachment theory and trauma informed practice. Families attending the program are either working towards the reunification of their children from the care system or they are at imminent risk of their children being taken into care. Workshop participants will explore, in small groups, ways in which they can enhance the healing opportunities for children and parents within their particular work settings.

    Download Angharad Candlin & Christine Gibson.pdf

    What recent research tells us about overcoming the adversity of early stress and trauma

    Speaker: Dr Howard Bath

    Speaker Biography:

    Dr Howard Bath is the Children’s Commissioner for the NT. In this role he has responsibility for ensuring that government operated or funded services in the child protection, youth justice, mental health and disability arenas are meeting the needs of children and young people. Howard has a long-standing interest in improving services for vulnerable children.

    Abstract Summary:

    Children’s Commissioner, NT We have recently heard a lot about the longlasting impacts of trauma and chronic stress during childhood and there has been a lot of research that identifies how these adverse experiences affect brain development, behaviour and overall adaptation through the lifespan. A more recent emerging stream of research focuses on how the effects of early adversity can be changed for the better and how young people can bounce back to lead productive, contented and well-adjusted lives and develop rewarding relationships. This presentation will focus on the very hopeful research findings that are emerging from neuroscience and developmental psychology.

    Download Howard Bath.pdf

    Lessons from the past: implications for today

    Speaker: Simon Gardiner

    Speaker Biography:

    Simon Gardiner has worked in health, community health, child protection and family services for 35 years as both a practitioner and a manager. He is currently the manager of Open Place, the Victorian support service for Forgotten Australians.

    Abstract Summary:

    Open Place, Support Service For Forgotten Australians This presentation will provide a brief overview of the Forgotten Australian ‘care’ experience and subsequent ‘life’ experience. Comparisons will be drawn between past care leaver attributes with current desired outcomes. It asks what have we learnt from these past experiences and how are these learnings being applied. Are we doing better?

    Download Simon Gardiner.pdf

    Where’s the child? Child-aware lessons from past policy and practice

    Speaker: Dr Daryl Higgins

    Speaker Biography:

    Dr Daryl Higgins is a psychologist with 20 years’ research experience. He is Deputy Director (Research), Australian Institute of Family Studies, where he oversees projects on family wellbeing, protecting children, out-of-home care, sexual assault, family law, child development, past adoptions, migrant settlement services, and closing the gap on Indigenous disadvantage.

    Abstract Summary:

    Australian Institute of Family Studies It is a mistake to assume that we benefit from hindsight and avoid repeating mistakes of the past. Can we in fact translate those lessons to comparable or related areas of contemporary policy and service delivery? In this presentation, I draw on empirical research from those affected by a range of policy and practices including: closed adoptions (which peaked in the early 1970s); the Stolen Generations and the legacy for Indigenous families and communities; care leavers; and victims of institutional child sexual abuse.

    Download Daryl Higgins.pdf

    Learning from the past, influencing the Future

    Speaker: Caroline Carroll OAM

    Speaker Biography:

    Caroline Carroll OAM is Chair, Alliance for Forgotten Australians and Records and Reunions Coordinator at OPEN PLACE, the Victorian service for Forgotten Australians. Caroline is a survivor of abuse in many institutional and foster care placements during her childhood in NSW. She was separated as an infant from her entire family (including her seven siblings). Caroline aims to promote greater awareness and understanding of the needs of people who have been harmed in institutional and other forms of out-of-home-care with the aim of reducing, over time, the risks of inter-generational abuse and trauma.

    Abstract Summary:

    Alliance for Forgotten Australians During the 20th Century, around half a million children found themselves in orphanages, Homes, detention centres, training schools or foster care in Australia. Vast numbers of these children suffered abuse and neglect along with the loss of family, community connections and identity. Drawing on personal experience, Ms Carroll compares outcomes for children in modern child protection with her experiences and others of her generation, to promote support for families as the bedrock of a civil society.

    Download Caroline Carroll.pdf