Families Australia

2019

Welcome to Country

Aunty Vanessa Fisher of the Turrbal People provided a Welcome to Country to open the 2019 conference.

View recording of Welcome to Country

Oration

The 2019 Families Australia Oration, ‘Dreaming Our Children’s Future’ was delivered by Richard Weston, CEO of the Healing Foundation (2010-2019).

Addressing key theme one:

Print Improving outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children

Richard Weston

Richard is a descendant of the Meriam people of the Torres Strait. He has worked in Indigenous affairs for more than 20 years. His role at the time of delivering the 2019 Families Australia Oration was CEO of The Healing Foundation, a post he held for nine years.

The Healing Foundation is a national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisation that partners with communities to lead responses to ongoing trauma caused by actions such as the forced removal of children from their families and communities.

The Healing Foundation’s work has demonstrated that life changing outcomes can be achieved when Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are supported to lead and develop their own solutions to long standing, seemingly unsolvable problems that rob communities of hope and a sense of purpose.

Richard led the organisation which has supported more than 175 culturally strong, community led Indigenous healing projects around Australia. 45,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, women and men have participated in healing activities delivered by these projects, including members of the Stolen Generations and their descendants.

The Healing Foundation has a specific focus on building the capacity of our communities to heal from trauma by providing funding for Indigenous community organisations to design, develop and deliver their own healing projects.

In 2009-10 he worked in Brisbane as CEO of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Health Service and prior to that between 2000 – 2009 he was CEO of Maari Ma Health in far west NSW based in Broken Hill.

In Broken Hill Richard led the development and delivery of high quality health care and improved health outcomes for adults and children alike in a remote region known for the poor health status of its population. Key to this success was the upskilling and mentoring of Aboriginal health workers who played a pivotal role in the organisation’s success, the involvement of GPs, nurses and visiting specialists, and partnerships with NSW Health, small hospitals in the region, the Royal Flying Doctor Service, and the University of Sydney.

Richard also represented the Healing Foundation on the Board of Families Australia and a number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander forums and committees.

View recording of the 2019 Families Australia Oration

Keynote Speakers

Keynote addresses were delivered by:
Antoinette Braybrook: Early intervention and prevention for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and their mothers
Annette Michaux, Natalie Lewis, Prof. Clare Tilbury and Deidre Mulkerin: Keeping children safe and settled: achieving placement stability in out-of-home care
Paris McMahon, Claudia, Grace Edward, Hailie, Mary Harm, Kathryn Schmidt and Karlie Stewart: By young people, for young people – speaking out about safety
Maree Brown: “An opportunity for us to be bold and ambitious and to achieve meaningful change”: Developing New Zealand’s first Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy

  • KEYNOTE ADDRESS:
    Early intervention and prevention for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and their mothers

    Addressing key theme two:

    Print Improving access to prevention and early intervention – Joint service planning and investment

    Antoinette Braybrook
    CEO, Djirra & National (Aboriginal) Family Violence Prevention & Legal Services Forum

    Biography

    Antoinette Braybrook is an Aboriginal woman who was born in Victoria on Wurundjeri country. Antoinette’s grandfather and mother’s line is through the Kuku Yalanji, North Queensland. Antoinette has been CEO of Djirra (formerly FVPLS Victoria), since inception 16 years ago. Djirra delivers holistic, culturally safe and specialist supports to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people – predominantly women and their children. It also designs and delivers community-based early intervention and prevention programs and undertakes policy and advocacy work to improve access to justice, strengthen Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women’s resilience and reduce vulnerability to violence. Antoinette has held the elected position of National Convenor of the National FVPLS Forum since 2012. The National FVPLS Forum is the peak body for the 14 FVPLSs throughout Australia.

    Abstract:

    Across this nation, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are 10 times more likely than non-Aboriginal children to be taken from their families by child protection authorities. Family violence (predominantly men’s violence against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women) is the primary driver of the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. The realistic and ongoing fear of children being taken is a key barrier to our women disclosing experiences of violence and seeking support. Addressing the crisis of increasing removals of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children demands greater access to early intervention and prevention to address the violence experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women. With greater cultural safety, specialised and wrap-around support for our mothers to live free from violence, our children would be safe in their care instead of lost in the system – at risk of losing their cultural connections.

    By sharing the stories of the women and children Djirra works with every day, the audience will gain a deeper understanding of the ongoing impacts of colonisation, intergenerational trauma and contemporary policy for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and children and the real life impacts of discriminatory practices and victim–blaming attitudes within child protection systems. The audience will also learn about evidence-based solutions to the interlocking issues of family violence and child removals through best-practice examples of Djirra’s culturally safe and trauma informed frontline support and innovative early intervention and prevention programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and their children.

    RECORDING UNAVAILABLE FOR THIS KEYNOTE PRESENTATION

  • SYMPOSIUM:
    Keeping children safe and settled: achieving placement stability in out-of-home care

    Addressing key theme three:

    Print Improving placement stability for children and young people in out-of-home care – Reunification and other permanent care options

    Annette Michaux, Director, Parenting Research Centre

    Natalie Lewis, CEO, Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Protection Peak

    Professor Clare Tilbury, School of Human Services and Social Work, Griffith University

    Deidre Mulkerin, Deputy Secretary, NSW Family & Community Services

    View recording of keynote presentation

    Biographies:

    Annette Michaux is a Director at the PRC, providing leadership in social policy and reform cross-sectorally in relation to parenting and family support. Annette has over twenty years’ experience in child and family practice, policy and research management, including having served as General Manager of Social Policy and Research at The Benevolent Society, as CEO of the NSW Child Protection Council, and as a senior policy staffer at the NSW Commission for Children and Young People. She has also worked in frontline child welfare and community development in the UK and Australia.She has served on numerous boards and committees and delivered presentations on topics including knowledge translation and exchange, evidence-informed child and family practice, organisational and social change and improving service delivery.

    Natalie Lewis is a descendant of the Gamilaraay (Kamilaroi) Nation and is the CEO, QATSICPP. For over 20 years her experience has been called upon in Queensland and the US in areas of youth justice and child protection, providing direct service, program and policy development and organisational leadership. Natalie serves on the National Executive of SNAICC and co-chairs the Family Matters Campaign. She holds appointments on the QLD Domestic and Family Violence Implementation Council, Youth Sexual Violence and Abuse Steering Committee and the Queensland Policy Leaders Forum.

    Clare Tilbury is a Professor in the School of Human Services and Social Work at Griffith University. Her research focuses on child protection systems, performance measurement, accountability, and racial disparities. She has led significant national child protection research projects and publishes extensively in Australian and international journals. Prior to entering academia in 2004, Clare worked for twenty years in child and family practice, policy, management, and research roles. She serves on government advisory bodies and the Boards of various community and professional organisations related to child and family wellbeing, socio-legal issues, and access and equity. She is a member of the Griffith Criminology Institute, Australasian Regional Editor for Child and Family Social Work, and Editorial Board member of Australian Social Work.

    Deidre Mulkerin has worked in frontline roles in child protection and juvenile justice, managed regional operations across human services and led statewide reform initiatives for the Queensland Government. Between 2004 and 2016, she worked in a number of executive roles in statutory child protection, juvenile justice and public housing in both operational and program development roles in Queensland and New South Wales. Deidre is currently Deputy Secretary, Commissioning for the human service government agency FACS NSW. In this role, Deidre is responsible for ensuring that client outcomes and the use of robust evidence and data drive the decisions about how services are delivered, monitored and improved. As an inaugural participant in the NSW Public Service Commission’s Leadership Academy, Deidre has been recognised as an outstanding public sector leader.

    Abstract:

    Children develop and thrive when they live in stable home environments. This is especially critical for children in out-of-home care, who already face environmental and personal stressors. However, evidence shows that significant numbers of children in 2019 are still being moved around the system, putting their wellbeing at risk.

    Rising numbers of children in out-of-home care, and concerns about their wellbeing, have led governments across Australia to introduce major reforms. In this reform environment it is essential we ensure that placement stability in out-of-home care remains a priority issue.

    In this presentation we will briefly summarise recent research on placement stability and outline how this research is making a mark on policy and practice. We will identify approaches to improving stability such as SNAICC’s Family Matters Report Card and the Permanency Support Program in NSW. Speakers will highlight actions to improve the system for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people and the importance of using data to understand system dynamics and trends.

    The presentation will identify areas where we are not delivering on stability – and how we can achieve change. The presenters have been chosen to reflect diverse perspectives and expertise from policy, practice, advocacy, research and implementation, as well as for their cross-jurisdictional experience.

  • YOUNG PEOPLE’S PANEL :
    By young people, for young people – speaking out about safety

    Addressing key theme four:

    Print Keeping children and young people safe from abuse – Organisations and government

    Panel Facilitator:
    Paris McMahon, Young Thinker in Residence for the ACT Human Rights Commission

    Claudia, Young Advisor, Canberra PCYC

    Grace Edward, MYAN Australia’s Youth Ambassador for Queensland and a founding member of the MyQ (Multicultural Youth QLD) Youth Council

    Hailie, Young Advisor, Canberra PCYC

    Mary Harm, President of the Asia Pacific Youth Parliament for Water and Content Writer for Cultural Pulse.

    Kathryn Schmidt, Executive Committee Member, YMCA QLD Youth Parliament and practising Solicitor.

    Karlie Stewart, The Healing Foundation’s Youth Advisory Group member and Social Worker.

    Listen to the audio recording of the panel

    Biographies:

    Paris is a highly motivated individual who has spent the past several years volunteering in several areas that focus on assisting the Canberra community. She established her own charity A Little Hand in 2014 to fundraise for Hands Across Canberra. She has also provided significant volunteer assistance to Global Schools Partners, helping young girls in Kenya receive an education. More recently, Paris has been the Young Thinker in Residence for the ACT Human Rights Commission, where she shares her views as a young person, develops projects and writes opinion pieces in addition to contributing to government forums. Paris is in Year 11 at Canberra Grammar School.

    Claudia is 16 years old and was born in Queanbeyan and has grown up in the Canberra region her whole life. During primary school Claudia never really fitted in. She was diagnosed with mental health issues when she was seven and missed a lot of school due to her health. This made it difficult to make connections in the school yard. Another event at school caused Claudia to feel really unsafe there which complicated things even further. As she continued into high school it did not get easier. She struggled academically due to dyslexia and was put into a Learning Support Unit. She was bullied by the people in her school year and her mental health continued to get worse. Claudia felt like she couldn’t catch a break until this year when she was referred to the PCYC Booyah program, after being completely disengaged from school.

    Grace was born in South Sudan, and after four years in the Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya, she arrived in Australia aged eight. Following in the footsteps of her parents and older siblings, she is a youth leader and advocate on issues that affect refugees and migrants in Australia, particularly young people. She works to address the barriers they face in becoming active citizens within their communities in Australia. She is MYAN Australia’s Youth Ambassador for Queensland and a founding member of the MyQ (Multicultural Youth QLD) Youth Council. She is currently completing a master’s degree in Creative Industries and has used her love of applied theatre to initiate and facilitate the ‘Linking Generations’ Forum Theatre Project, an innovative and powerful exploration of the intergenerational challenges experienced by Australian African Communities. She has just returned from the UK, having been selected to participate in a community theatre exchange program.

    Mary is a proud Samoan/Chinese/Fijian who grew up on the sunny coast lines of Brisbane. She is a recent communications graduate passionate about community and the notion of storytelling in creating social change. During her studies Mary played a key role in establishing The University of Queensland’s first ever South Pacific Islander Association – UQ SPIA and is the first female and current president of the Asia Pacific Youth Parliament for Water. She recently joined the climate justice space as a Pacific Climate Warrior, using her passion for storytelling to educate and mobilise communities to achieve global action on climate change. Mary is a content writer for Cultural Pulse sharing the achievements of multicultural Australians and through a highly competitive application process, was recently selected as a delegate to MYAN Australia’s national youth summit – FUSE 2019.

    Kathryn has extensive experience working with young people; particularly in the context of environments where young people require special assistance or support. From 2014 to 2017, Kathryn held the position of Convener of the Bond Sony Foundation Children’s Holiday Camp, an annual volunteer-run residential program for children with disabilities of all types. Kathryn’s experience working with a variety of profound physical and cognitive conditions has enabled her to develop an interest in drafting accessible and adaptable safety policy for persons who require additional or alternative consideration during risk assessment processes. Kathryn is currently a member of the Executive Committee of YMCA Queensland Youth Parliament. YMCA Queensland Youth Parliament is a non-partisan youth engagement program which is designed to facilitate parliamentary education, encourage community engagement and assist in personal development for young people across Queensland.

    Karlie is 23 years old and a proud Yuin woman from Nowra on the south coast of NSW. She has recently completed a Bachelor of Social Work (Honours) at the UNSW and has an innate passion in Children and Young People, Healing from Trauma and Intergenerational Trauma in the context of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Karlie is the second eldest of nine children, with the youngest being one year old and the oldest being 26. She is immensely proud of her Aboriginality, her family and her community. In the future, Karlie hopes to utilise her skills and build her capacity allowing her to engage in community development in her community.

    Abstract:

    Much of the current thinking about and approaches to child safety flow from adult notions of what we would like to protect children from. In this instance, ‘adults’ can mean people working with children and young people or parents and family members. In contrast however, most young people are able to understand the ideas of threat and protective behaviours, even if they do not always know how to protect themselves. They are also likely to have an individual concept of what ‘safety’ means for them and how this might be achieved. Greater appreciation of the world as it looks and feels to young people and the personal frameworks they use to understand the nature of risk and threat must help us design and implement effective organisational strategies to give young people a ‘safe place’.

    This panel session will be facilitated by a young person who will engage other young people in a conversation about their individual perspectives; their concepts of safety, examples of times and situations which have made them feel unsafe and what would have made those situations feel safer and more comfortable for them. Panel members will bring a diversity of personal experiences, study backgrounds, skill sets and cultural heritage. Delegates will gain unique insights into what safety is, and feels like, for these young people and hear in their own words what has and hasn’t helped to keep them safe from abuse in organisations and government systems.

  • KEYNOTE ADDRESS:
    “An opportunity for us to be bold and ambitious and to achieve meaningful change”: Developing New Zealand’s first Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy

    Addressing key theme five:

    Print Strengthening our focus on wellbeing Beyond 2020

    Maree Brown
    Director, Child Wellbeing Unit
    New Zealand Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

    View recording of keynote address

    Biography:

    Maree Brown is Director of the Child Wellbeing Unit in the New Zealand Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. She is responsible for leading cross-sector work on New Zealand’s first Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy, which will be published later this year. Prior to her current role Maree held senior positions in Oranga Tamariki – Ministry for Children, the Ministry of Social Development and the Ministry for Culture and Heritage and has spent most of her career in child and family policy roles.

    Abstract:

    In late 2018 the New Zealand Government passed landmark legislation to reduce child poverty and improve child wellbeing. The new laws require successive governments to set and report against targets to reduce child poverty, as well as developing a strategy to improve the wellbeing of all New Zealand children, with a particular focus on those in poverty or with greater needs. Significantly the new legislation was passed with almost unanimous support across Parliament.

    The Government has already stated its bold vision for the first strategy which will be published later this year: to make New Zealand the best place in the world for children and young people. As the Prime Minister has said, it presents an opportunity to be bold and ambitious and to achieve meaningful change.

    This address will provide an update on the development of the first strategy and the information that is helping to inform it – including key insights from children and young people on what good wellbeing means to them, what gets in the way and their ideas about what needs to be done.

    It will discuss the outcomes the Government is seeking for all children and young people and the need to work differently within government and with other sectors if we are to realise those outcomes. Finally, it will talk about the importance of framing public communications and narratives about child wellbeing in a way that builds momentum and wider support for the things that will make a difference.

 

XPRESS Podium Presentations

Speakers were given three minutes to present one idea, practice or product, using just one slide.

  • Aboriginal kids speak out

    Aunty Sue Blacklock AM, Chair, Winangay Resources Inc

    Gillian Bonser, Co-founder and developer, Winangay Resources Inc

    Addressing key theme one:
    Print Improving outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children

    View presentation video

    Biographies:

    Aunty Sue Blacklock AM (Chair of Winangay Resources Inc) is a respected Elder of the Nucoorilma people from Tingha, NSW. Aunty Sue has been a lifelong advocate for finding new strength-based ways of working with Aboriginal children and families. Aunty Sue is a member of the Order of Australia and the first Ambassador for Children (Australian Centre for Child Protection). She is a moving speaker and will share stories of her life and experiences.

    Gillian Bonser is a co-founder and developer for Winangay Resources. She is a psychologist, consultant and facilitator who specialises in creative lateral thinking and innovative resource development. She has a long history of social justice activism in relation to Aboriginal people and those who are living with trauma, particularly in the fields of mental health, community work and leadership.

     

    Abstract summary:

    This year a group of Aboriginal kids from Tingha gathered to create a new quilt with messages for the Child Aware conference. Aunty Sue encouraged the kids to have a say about the out-of-home-care system. We will present key messages from the quilt and summarise others.

  • The Adieu project: using artificial intelligence to support families when relationships breakdown

    Andrew Wight, CEO, Adieu

    Addressing key theme two:
    Print Improving access to prevention and early intervention – Joint service planning and investment

    View presentation video

    Biography:

    Andrew Wight is cofounder and CEO at adieu.ai, a startup which is using artificial intelligence to help humans resolve conflict, starting with separation and divorce. He has won multiple design and innovation awards and worked with some of the world’s largest and most interesting organisations including Barclays, Barclaycard, Deutsche Bank, China Airlines and Toyota.

    Abstract summary:

    Adieu is using artificial intelligence to support families when relationships breakdown. It is currently trialling Lumi, an AI-based separation guide with expertise in law, mediation and counselling, and the consensus accelerator, a system which enabled couples to reach legally‑sound financial agreements in an average of 19 minutes.

  • Strengthening the Residential Care Workforce in Queensland – the Hope and Healing Practice Framework

    Lindsay Wegener, Executive Director, Peakcare Queensland Inc
    Lesley Leece, Assistant Director, PeakCare Queensland Inc

    Addressing key theme three:
    Print Improving placement stability for children and young people in out-of-home care – Reunification and other permanent care options

    View presentation video

    Biographies:

    Lindsay Wegener is a Social Work graduate, University of Queensland. He began his career as a child protection and youth justice practitioner in government, holding a range of policy, program development and operational director positions over 20 years. After leaving government, Lindsay held management positions in out-of-home care and related services in non-government organisations, pioneering specialist foster care in Queensland. Currently Lindsay is the Executive Director of PeakCare QLD, the state’s peak body for child protection.

    Lesley Leece has worked in many fields of human services including child protection, disability, health, domestic and family violence, homelessness and older person’s programs. She qualified as a Social Worker from the University of NSW and has extensive experience in child protection in government and non-government, where she has applied her strong sense of social justice in leading service delivery and developing policy, thereby achieving outcomes for individuals and society. Lesley is currently Assistant Director, PeakCare QLD.

    Abstract summary:

    The Hope and Healing Framework for residential care services is being implemented across Queensland, as part of a minimum qualification requirement, through an innovative, engaging and fun e-learning approach. The resulting consistency of practice across the state is expected to lead to increased stability for children and young people.

  • Funny feelings aren’t funny

    Kim May, Author

    Addressing key theme four:
    Print Keeping children and young people safe from abuse – Organisations and government

    View presentation video

    Biography:

    Kim May is an independent Author and, as an abuse survivor, has a passion for keeping children safe. Kim has written a book titled ‘Funny Feelings Aren’t Funny’ for children aged three to eight, which aims to help them recognise their body’s reaction when they are feeling nervous, anxious or unsafe. A tool for health professionals, teachers and family to open up the lines of communication to assist children to express themselves.

    Abstract summary:

    Communication is key to keeping children safe. If a child identifies with experiencing a ‘Funny Feeling’, it could indicate that something is not OK. This book may act as a tool for health professionals, teachers and parents by opening the lines of communication and assisting children to express themselves.

  • South Australia’s Child Protection Department extends carer payments to 21 years of age

    Gabby Healy, Department for Child Protection (South Australia)

    Addressing key theme five:
    Print Strengthening our focus on wellbeing Beyond 2020

    View presentation video

    Biography:

    Gabby Healy is the Supervisor of the Stability in Family Based Care program in the Department for Child Protection, South Australia. Gabby has over 28 years’ experience working as a social worker and project officer in child protection across a broad range of program areas, including direct service to children and their families; placement support to children and their carers; operational and strategic policy development; and service development.

    Abstract summary:

    Once young people in care reach 18, carer support generally ceases, often resulting in young people’s ability to successfully “launch” into adulthood being compromised. The SA Government has extended carer payments to age 21 to provide placement stability and potentially contribute to savings in the areas of homelessness and justice.

 

Policy Think Space

Policy discussion identifying the relevance and application of policy to practice.

  • Child Placement Principle – NOT JUST ABOUT PLACEMENT

    Natalie Lewis and Megan Giles

    View presentation slides

    Biographies:

    Natalie Lewis is a Gamilaraay yinar and CEO of QATSCIPP. She is the Chair of the national Family Matters campaign and played a major role in influencing the Queensland Government to embed the Family Matters building blocks as the foundation of the Our Way strategy. Natalie was recently appointed to the Queensland First Children and Families Board to provide guidance in the implementation of the strategy.

    Megan Giles is the Executive Director, Policy and Legislation, CSYW, Queensland Government. Megan practiced in areas of criminal law, family law and child protection, primarily representing children before joining the public service. Megan is committed to respectfully deepening her understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and cultures and recognizing the issues affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.

    Abstract summary:

    This session will explore the concept of “active efforts” and unpack its meaning across all five elements of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement Principle. It will explore examples of promising practices in applying active efforts legislation, policy, programs and practices in jurisdictions across Australia.

    Securing health and justice through partnerships for children and families at risk

    Dr Tessa Boyd-Caine

    View presentation slides

    Biography:

    Dr Tessa Boyd-Caine has worked in health, criminal justice and human rights organisations in Australia and internationally. She was previously Deputy CEO of the Australian Council of Social Service, is a graduate of the AICD Company Directors course and is the recipient of the inaugural Fulbright Professional Scholarship in Nonprofit Leadership. Her PhD was published as a book, Protecting the Public? Detention and Release of Mentally Disordered Offenders, by Routledge in 2010.

    Abstract summary:

    Using examples drawn from health justice partnerships across Australia, this Policy Think Space will explore the opportunities and challenges of collaboration across service silos and professional disciplines to improve service effectiveness to support the health and wellbeing of at-risk children and their families.

    Active Efforts: Strategies for ensuring the safety and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children

    Natalie Lewis and Janelle Young

    View presentation slides

    Biography:

    Natalie Lewis is a Gamilaraay yinar and the current Chief Executive Officer of QATSICPP. Her professional experience has been acquired in Queensland and in the United States in the areas of youth justice and child protection over the past twenty years. Natalie possesses established and recognised expertise in the content area and more broadly in the development of legislation, policy and program responses to address personal, social and systemic risk factors impacting the disproportionate representation of vulnerable populations in statutory systems.

    Abstract summary:

    The purpose of this session is to further explore the concept of active efforts and unpack its meaning across all five elements of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement Principle in Australia. Participants will be asked to identify and reflect upon opportunities for implementing active efforts within their fields of practice, unpacking barriers to implementation.

  • Primary prevention through Respectful Relationships Education – policy to practice

    Joanna Brislane

    View presentation slides

    Biography:

    Joanna Brislane oversees a team of staff within Our Watch who are leading a pilot of a whole-of-school approach to respectful relationship education in primary schools, in partnership with the Victorian Department of Education and Training and the Queensland Department of Education. Prior to this, Jo directly supported schools that participated in the Victorian Government’s Respectful Relationship Education in Secondary Schools pilot and co‑authored Our Watch’s evidence paper on respectful relationships in schools.

    Abstract summary:

    Combining the wisdom of family violence prevention policy experts and educators who have experience implementing respectful relationships education, this session will present practical information for a broad range of policy makers about how evidence‑based respectful relationships education can be implemented in schools across Australia.

    Secondary system reforms in Queensland: Prevention and early intervention through joint service planning and investment

    Catherine Baulch, Dr Brian Jenkins, Dr Catherine Wade, Kirsten Firman

    View presentation slides

    Biographies:

    Catherine Baulch is Manager of Child and Family Programs in the CSYW QLD. Catherine has 12 years policy and program experience in CSYW and responsibility for state-wide rollout of Family and Child Connect and Intensive Family Support services. Catherine has been a Practitioner including in roles at the Princess Alexandra Hospital, Child and Youth Mental Health and Family Court.

    Dr Catherine Wade is Principal Research Specialist with the PRC. Catherine leads research and evaluation activities at the Centre. She is also a Research Affiliate with the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Sydney. With over 15 years of experience conducting social policy research, Catherine has expertise in quantitative and qualitative research design, data collection and analysis. Catherine’s research interests span public health priority groups including vulnerable and disadvantaged populations.

    Kirsten Firman is Manager, Community Training Centre (CTC) Youth and Community Services and is responsible for implementation of the Family and Child Connect, Intensive Family Support and Principal Child Protection Practitioner initiatives across South Burnett.

    Abstract summary:

    This presentation describes the suite of service reforms recently implemented in Queensland. Along with a description of the co-design and implementation of the reforms, the presentation will illustrate how the initiatives are working through discussion of independent evaluation findings plus a real-world example from a service provider implementing the reforms.

    Collaborator, Critical Friend, Disruptor – framing research-informed advocacy in Tasmanian family preservation and restoration

    Lindsey Fidler and Teresa Hinton

    View presentation slides

    Biography:

    Lindsey Fidler has over 20 years’ UK and Australian experience in social research and advocating for changes in policy and programs for disadvantaged communities. She has worked within the community, government and higher education sectors. Her work has influenced UK policies for students’ welfare benefits, finance and housing standards and London residents’ education and employment opportunities – recognition for which she attended the Queen’s Garden Party. At SARC she is advocating for family‑inclusive Tasmanian Child Safety reforms.

    Abstract summary:

    Participants will explore the SARC’s processes and roles in influencing policy and programs within Tasmania’s Child Safety reforms, including ensuring that families involved with the Child Safety system are at the centre of identifying issues and scoping recommendations. Participants will compare research-informed advocacy processes across jurisdictions.

  • Creating innovative systems that support stability for vulnerable children

    Daniel Barakate, Jamie Hodgson, Michelle Smith, Dr Melissa Kaltner

    View presentation slides

    Biographies:

    Dr Melissa Kaltner has a long standing passion for informing social policy and practice through research, with an extensive research track record in child protection and out-of-home care. She currently holds the role of Manager, Program Performance in FACS. Melissa is dedicated to facilitating applied, practice‑focused research which addresses health and wellbeing inequalities faced by vulnerable children in our community.

    Daniel Barakate is Director, Child and Family Design and Stewardship – FACS. Daniel has worked in health, disability and child protection in front line, policy development and operational management, as well as program leadership roles. He leads significant, evidence-informed program and policy design initiatives at FACS. Daniel has a passion for project, program and change management and for facilitating meaningful change that improves outcomes for the children, young people and families of NSW.

    Michelle Smith has a BA (Psychology), MA

    (Psychology) and Master of Management (Public Sector). Michelle has since spent the majority of her career working across FACS NSW, including in front line child protection and OOHC and a variety of roles in both strategic and operational policy. Currently, Michelle is the Director of Implementation and Performance and is responsible for implementing the Permanency Support Program across NSW. She is interested in ensuring that children and families are at the centre of what we do.

    Jamie Hodgson is the Director for Key Assets in New South Wales (NSW) and Norfolk Island where he leads the strategic development and operations of Key Assets. Jamie has worked for Key Assets since 2012 and has over 20 years’ experience in out-of-home-care and human services in both Australia and the UK. Jamie is a qualified Social Worker and is completing a Master of Business Administration (Social Impact) at UNSW.

    Abstract summary:

    In 2017, FACS introduced one of the most significant changes to their child protection and OOHC system to date, the Permanency Support Program (PSP). This Policy Think Space will share NSW experiences and encourage debate on the ability of policy to drive permanency outcomes.

    More than a court order: Building relational permanence when children enter the care system.

    Jessica Cocks, Tammy Prince Doyle, Felicity Kime

    View presentation slides

    Biography:

    Jessica Cocks is a social worker and researcher with over 25 years’ experience in child and family practice. She is the national practice lead for children, young people and families at LWB. Jessica is a co-founder of Family Inclusion Strategies, in the Hunter, a parent/ worker co-led organisation promoting family inclusion and parent-led change in the child protection system. In 2018, Jessica completed a Churchill Fellowship researching family inclusion in child welfare

    Felicity Kime is a parent leader of Family Inclusion Strategies in the Hunter. She is the mother of four children including two daughters now restored to her care, a son who was never removed and one son who remains in care. Felicity is a regular speaker and facilitator with groups and at events about family inclusion and relational permanence, and is dedicated to systemic change in the interests of children.

    Tammy Prince Doyle is a parent leader of Family Inclusion Strategies in the Hunter. She is also a child welfare worker who supports and cares for traumatised children and young people in our care system. Tammy is the mother of six children, two of whom spent time in care. Tammy is on the steering committee of the international parent advocacy network. Tammy is a regular speaker and facilitator with groups and at events about family inclusion and is dedicated to systemic change in the interests of children.

    Abstract summary:

    Our current policy approach to permanence for children in care as a legal construct misunderstands the needs of children and may be contributing to further grief and loss. We will argue for a relational understanding of permanence that is family inclusive, child focused and relationship based.

    A policy framework for kinship care in Australia?

    Dr Meredith Kiraly, Associate Professor Wendy Foote, Natalie Lewis, Tracey Hamilton, Bryan Smith, Tricia Murray, Jo Roff

    View presentation slides

    Biographies:

    Dr Meredith Kiraly is a psychologist with over thirty years practice experience, much of this in out‑of‑home care. She is a part-time Research Fellow in the Social Work Department at the University of Melbourne and has a small consultancy in human services. Her specialty research area is kinship care on which topic she has published extensively; she is also engaged in advocacy for children in kinship care. Her work has a strong focus on children’s rights.

    Associate Professor Wendy Foote has worked in a variety of human services, legal, and teaching research settings. She has just left the Association of Children’s Welfare Agencies (ACWA) after being DCEO for over six years – now Associate Professor, Social Work, University of Newcastle. Wendy has a strong practice, research and policy background across different domains of child health/welfare. At ACWA Wendy worked in advocacy and identifying systemic issues that impact on practice, policy and outcomes for children.

    Natalie Lewis is a Gamilaraay yinar and the current Chief Executive Officer of QATSICPP. Her professional experience has been acquired in Queensland and in the United States in the areas of youth justice and child protection over the past twenty years. Natalie possesses established and recognised expertise in the content area and more broadly in the development of legislation, policy and program responses to address personal, social and systemic risk factors impacting the disproportionate representation of vulnerable populations in statutory systems.

    Tracey Hamilton took on full-time care of her two nephews and niece at age 27. At the start she found it extremely difficult to source any ongoing support for the children and herself. She battled for recognition as a kinship carer for over two years, and has now received full recognition. The children have now been in Tracey’s care for over four years with full financial support and support for their trauma difficulties being received.

    Bryan Smith became a Foster Carer in 1992. Bryan studied Behavioural Counselling and at the same time became a State Representative for foster carers, as well as undertaking Train-the-Trainer in Foster Care pre-service training. Bryan has since worked in a range of foster and kinship situations and held various governance roles for Foster Care Queensland. Bryan has qualifications in Behavioural Science, Behavioural Counselling, Community Services Management, Community Welfare and Training and Assessment.

    Tricia Murray is Chief Executive Officer, Wanslea, WA. She has worked in the community sector for over thirty years, primarily in management positions, with a focus on child protection, homelessness, family violence and children’s services. Tricia is Chair of the Children and Family Welfare Agencies Association and sits on other national and state boards. She has a degree in Social Work, a Master of Service Administration and is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management.

    Joanne Roff is Area Manager IFYS child protection programs. She has worked across the child protection continuum for over 25 years and is passionate about innovative responses for children and families that are outcome focused. Jo is an Industry Fellow with the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) and a member of the Academic Board for Social Work at QUT and USC.

    Abstract summary:

    Associate Professor Wendy Foote will lead this Policy Workshop as an interactive panel presentation with key experts in areas relating to kinship care including policy and programs. Panel members will identify key priorities for the development of kinship care policy in Australia aligned with their area of expertise and invite questions from the floor.

    Giving due weight to children and young people’s views: Improving placement stability in out-of-home care

    Meaghan Vosz

    View presentation slides

    Biography:

    Meaghan Vosz has twenty years’ experience in community work, including working with young people with experience in out-of-home care experiencing homelessness. An inclusive facilitator, she is now teaching university students and researching the practices of giving due weight to the views of children and young people in out‑of‑home care policy making. She has a keen interest in relational accountability and how a focus on practice can shed light on the complexities of policy development.

    Abstract summary:

    An opportunity to discuss how children and young people’s perspectives can be mobilised to improve placement stability. Participants will be invited to use practice-oriented tools for critical discussion about the practices of giving due weight to their views in the complex policy work of permanency planning and placement stabilization.

  • Co-design of the National Strategy to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse

    Kathryn Mandla

    View presentation slides

    Biography:

    Kathryn Mandla commenced as the inaugural Head of the National Office for Child Safety in July 2018. The National Office provides leadership in the development of national strategies to enhance children’s safety. Ms Mandla has been a senior executive in the Australian and Queensland governments responsible for child protection and family safety, and previously headed up Queensland’s Office for Women. Ms Mandla also chaired the OECD Working Party on Social Policy from 2016 to 2019.

    Abstract summary:

    This session will discuss and identify the key considerations to inform the development of a National Strategy to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse. The National Strategy is led by the National Office for Child Safety and is a key recommendation of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

  • Rethinking child and youth participation in policy making and practice

    Dr Marilyn Casley, Dr Jennifer Cartmel, Associate Professor Ann Dadich, Ms Kerry Smith, Dr Ali Black, Dr Rebekah Grace

    View presentation slides

    Biographies:

    Dr Marilyn Casley is a lecturer in the School of Human Services and Social Work, Griffith University. Marilyn’s research focus is around using conversational processes to listen to, and talk with, children and young people for the purpose of understanding their perspectives on matters that affect them. Marilyn’s teaching includes preparing practitioners to engage in conversations with children and young people and in building trusting relationships with them.

    Dr Ali Black is a narrative researcher and early childhood educator. Her arts-based research and scholarly work fosters connectedness, community, wellbeing and meaning-making through the building of reflective and creative lives and identities. Ali’s storied and visual methodological approaches re-present the lived life. Her research and writing highlights the transformative power and impact of collaborative and relational knowledge construction.

    Dr Jennifer Cartmel is a senior lecturer in the School of Human Services and Social Work, Griffith University. She has been involved in a wide range of research projects within children’s services, most recently about children’s social and emotional learning. Dr Cartmel has extensive experience conducting focus groups with adults and young people, inclusive of young people on the spectrum.

    Dr Rebekah Grace is the Deputy Director of the Centre for TReSI at Western Sydney University. Rebekah’s research gives focus to the service and support needs of vulnerable children and their families. She employs a cross-disciplinary, mixed-methods approach and has expertise in the translation of research so that it is transformative to policy and practice. Rebekah is committed to the conduct of participatory research with children and young people.

    Abstract summary:

    Rethinking child participation is critical if we are to improve the outcomes for children and young people. The ‘Kids in Action’ panel will profile exemplars of effective participatory health research with children and young people. A critical conversation will follow to consider what could be different now and beyond 2020.

    How CSIA took Commissioning for Outcomes investment logic from research to policy and practice

    Belinda Drew

    View presentation slides

    Biography:

    Belinda Drew is CEO of the CSIA and has extensive executive experience across the community services. She is passionate about Commissioning for Outcomes and what it can do for the delivery of community services to our most vulnerable Australians. Coupling this with her ability to use storytelling, she can share information, knowledge, findings and learnings in a meaningful and adaptive way.

    Abstract summary:

    CSIA CEO Belinda Drew will share the industry-led approach used for developing the Commissioning for Outcomes approach to shift investment design and policy. She will share how they took this guide for policy development and put it into practice through demonstration projects.

 

Workshops

Workshops followed the five conference themes:

  • Breaking new ground in remote Aboriginal assessments – Winangay partnering with the SA Department

    Aunty Sue Blacklock AM, Gillian Bonser, David Francis, Robyn Skilbeck

    View presentation slides

    Biographies:

    Aunty Sue Blacklock AM (Chair of Winangay Resources Inc) is a respected Elder of the Nucoorilma people from Tingha, NSW. Aunty Sue has been a lifelong advocate for finding new strength-based ways of working with Aboriginal children and families. Aunty Sue is a member of the Order of Australia and the first Ambassador for Children (Australian Centre for Child Protection). She is a moving speaker and will share stories of her life and experiences.

    Gillian Bonser is a co-founder and developer for Winangay Resources. She is a psychologist, consultant and facilitator who specialises in creative lateral thinking and innovative resource development. She has a long history of social justice activism in relation to Aboriginal people and those who are living with trauma, particularly in the fields of mental health, community work and leadership.

    David Francis is a proud member of the Narungga people of the Yorke Peninsula of South Australia. David has worked for the Department for Child Protection for 17 years and also previously worked with a non-government organisation, Aboriginal Family Support Services, for six years. David has a Bachelor of Applied Science in Indigenous Community Management and Development and is passionate in addressing social justice for Aboriginal people.

    Robyn Skilbeck began her career as an educator and youth worker and has worked for over 30 years as a senior manager within child protection across policy, planning, systems and service development roles, with a strong focus on delivery of services for children and carers in out-of-home care. Robyn is passionate about improving outcomes for Aboriginal children in out-of-home care and has been a kin carer for the last 20 years.

    Abstract summary:

    The workshop provides opportunities to trial a new, visual, Winangay initial kin assessment tool that allows more immediate placement. Aboriginal workers for the remote APY lands were trained in a new initial Winangay assessment tool. This approach provides better outcomes for kids and better career opportunities for Aboriginal Workers.

  • Positive Shift (+SHIFT): An innovative program for women who use force

    Paula Andersen, Denise O’Dowd, Lisa Young Larance, Professor Dave Vicary

    View presentation slides

    Biographies:

    Paula Andersen has 10 years’ experience supporting marginalised adults and families. Throughout Paula’s career she has supported women who have experienced family violence. Paula is currently the Trial Manager for +SHIFT, a therapeutic, trauma informed, strengths-based group program that supports women who have used force in their intimate relationships. Prior to Paula’s work at Baptcare, she was Team Leader of the ‘Out of the

    Dark’ program, a psycho-educational group program that supports women in prison.

    Denise O’Dowd has over 20 years’ experience in the Family Violence and Homelessness fields. Denise commenced work in a residential unit for teenage girls in Ireland before moving to Australia in 1998 where she worked in the homelessness, family violence and disability sectors. Denise worked at the Department of Health and Human Services portfolios of housing and family violence before commencing work at Berry Street. Denise manages the Family Violence and Housing team at Berry Street.

    Abstract summary:

    Family violence is an endemic and pernicious issue confronting our communities. Although it is widely recognised that men are responsible for most family violence perpetration, less understood is women’s use of force against their intimate partners. This interactive workshop provides an understanding of women’s use of force and its complexities.

    Engaging children as partners: Good positioning for good practice

    Christopher Dolman

    View presentation slides

    Biography:

    Christopher Dolman is a social worker who has been working for the past fifteen years with individuals, couples and families. Chris currently works as a Child and Family Partnership Coordinator with Emerging Minds’ National Workforce Centre for Child Mental Health and as a counsellor with Country Health SA. Previously Chris has worked as a counsellor, supervisor and manager in a family and relationships counselling service. He is a member of the Dulwich Centre Teaching Faculty.

    Abstract summary:

    This interactive workshop will explore the concept of ‘engaging children as partners in practice’ as a foundation for prevention and early intervention responses to concerns about children’s safety, mental health and wellbeing, and the positioning of practitioners and children that brings forward children’s agency, views, needs and aspirations.

    Working at the frontier: Innovative ways to improve access and outcomes for at-risk families

    Dr Teena Clerke, M’Lynda Stubbs, Associate Professor Nick Hopwood

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    Biographies:

    Dr Teena Clerke has participated in a range of health and educational research projects at UTS for more than 12 years. This includes early intervention and prevention services in child and family health, primary health responses to adolescent self-harm, primary health reform initiatives, work-integrated learning in engineering, doctoral education, leadership education in transdisciplinary teams, as well as feminist research in design scholarship. Teena’s expertise is grounded in visual research methodologies and underpinned by feminist research principles.

    M’Lynda Stubbs has worked as a registered health practitioner with children and families for over 30 years. She has project-managed the Child and Family Centres in Tasmania and is currently Centre Leader of a Child and Family Centre in Hobart. M’Lynda uses her training in health and education, and passion for collaborative partnership models, to lead innovative early intervention strategies, build parenting capacity and strengthen community social capital to provide best outcomes for children.

    Abstract summary:

    This workshop looks at approaches that move away from seeing families with vulnerable children as ‘hard to reach’ and instead, implement innovative approaches that make services more accessible. Participants will take home insights from evidence‑based examples from Tasmania and South Australia that are relevant to policy, management and frontline work.

    Developing nurturing and enabling environments with children at risk of abuse and neglect

    Karl Brettig

    View presentation slides

    Biography:

    Karl Brettig is manager of Salisbury Communities for Children facilitated by the Salvation Army. He convenes the Children Communities Connections Learning Network which brings together family support practitioners, policy makers and researchers. Network publications he has edited/authored include ‘Building Integrated Connections for Children their Families and Communities’ (with Professor Margaret Sims), ‘Quality Play and Media in Childhood Education and Care’ (with Australian Council on Children and the Media) and ‘Building Stronger Communities with children and families’.

    Abstract summary:

    This workshop will assist participants in developing early intervention strategies promoting family engagement by using data and trauma-informed practice for holistic early childhood development. It will include an exploration of some social innovation that has improved child outcomes as measured by the AEDC, substantiated notifications data, academic achievement and bullying behaviours.

  • Creating a Child Safe Organisation: The why, the how and the what now?

    Marie Slattery

    View presentation slides

     

    Biography:

    Marie Slattery has qualifications in psychology, lead auditing and leadership. She has worked for almost two decades across three countries, cultures and systems providing services to children, youth and families with complex needs in out-of-home care and in the community. Marie is a passionate advocate for children’s rights, child safety, equality and culture change.

    Abstract summary:

    Gain insight into the implementation of the Royal Commission’s recommendations on Child Safe Standards. Understand real-life implications on children and staff of creating new child safe processes and systems in the service sector. Participants will get a firm grasp on how to make their workplace child safe and the importance of culture change.

  • Excellence framework for child safe organisations: Moving from compliance to a pursuit of excellence

    Beth Dwine

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    Biography:

    Beth Dwine is a Senior Project Officer with CSIA. As a Social Worker with 20 years’ experience. Beth possesses a breadth of skills and experience in practice and leadership that she has brought to workforce and sector development and the capability and capacity building of organisations working with vulnerable people. Beth has been instrumental in sector development and community-based partnerships to build community capacity and influential stakeholder relationships across child and family services.

    Abstract summary:

    This is an interactive workshop from CSIA on the Industry-led and designed Excellence Framework for Child Safe Organisations. Build your understanding and learn how to use the model and the full suite of tools and resources to empower your organisation to engage with child safe standards.

  • Siblings are for life

    View presentation slides

    Biographies:

    Rob Ryan, Caroline Brown, Dr Reeny Jurczyszyn

    Rob Ryan is the CEO of Key Assets. Rob has worked in the children’s service area for over twenty-five years. Rob completed a Churchill Fellowship in Child Protection and is the Chair of the Forde Foundation Board of Advice.

    Caroline Brown is the State Director of Key Assets Tasmania. She has been working in children’s service for almost thirty years and has a background in clinical psychology.

    Dr Reeny Jurczyszyn has been a social worker for 19 years and has worked in both Justice and Health. Reeny’s PhD related to transition from care and she lecturers at University of Queensland. Reeny is the Manager, Child Protection in Children’s Health Queensland (Queensland Health). Reeny has served on the Create Foundation board for over five years and spent 18 years in both family foster care and residential care in Queensland.

    Abstract summary:

    Showcasing a unique sibling program operating in Tasmania, in this workshop the presenters will engage participants with stories and examples of keeping siblings together. Audience members will be participants in a live experience that showcases outcomes, strengths, challenges and stability data that supports the value of keeping sibling groups intact.

 

Oral Paper Presentations

Papers were presented under the five conference themes:

  • A Practice Story: Transferring kindergartens from mainstream to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community control

    View presentation slides

    Presenters:

    Pamela Spall, Manager, Creche and Kindergarten Association
    Kirsten Holland, Director, Early Childhood Education at the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Health Service

    Biographies:

    Pam Spall is Manager, Research and Evaluation at the Creche and Kindergarten Association. Pam has worked in government, NGOs, as a consultant and NGO Board Director in health and community services. She undertook a Churchill Fellowship on child abuse prevention in the USA and Canada. Pam has a BSocWk, MBA, PhD, GAICD and served on the QUT Human Research Ethics Committee. Pam was a team member who recently won a QUT excellence award for partnerships.

    Kirsten Holland is Director, Early Childhood Education at the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Health Service. She is driven to provide quality early childhood education and care options where children thrive. Kirsten has a Master of Education and Bachelor of Teaching. Her began as a kindy teacher in Brisbane and has since worked overseas for 14 years, including as an early years teacher with the UN. More recently she held positions in senior leadership roles in educational organisations.

    Abstract summary:

    ECEC is recognized as a solid investment in providing young children with the best protective start in life. This paper discusses the benefits, drivers, enablers and challenges of transferring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander specific kindergartens from mainstream to a community controlled Indigenous organisation.

    Personalised Learning Plans – Improving outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and families

    Johanne Spek, Parent Educator, Catholic Schools Office, Diocese of Broken Bay
    Rebecca Leahy, Aboriginal Education worker

    View presentation slides

    Biographies:

    Jo Spek has a background in counselling, with 15 years’ experience in Education working with families across 44 schools in the Broken Bay Diocese. Jo is the Aboriginal Education Coordinator for the Diocese working alongside Aboriginal Education Workers to support and implement Personalised Learning Plans (PLP’s) for Indigenous students. This involves meetings with all stakeholders, building rapport and relational trust with the student and families to support their wellbeing, academic outcomes and community involvement.

    Rebecca Leahy, Aboriginal Education worker, has a long standing background in Community Services. She is based at one of the largest catholic primary schools in one of the lowest socio-economic areas on the Central Coast. Rebecca supports Aboriginal students culturally and academically. Her primary focus is to assist students to improve their educational outcomes, monitor the progress of students, and works in partnership with teachers, parents and community, to ensure that each student achieves their full potential.

    Abstract Summary:

    Personalised Learning Plans support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families to develop a sense of belonging to the school community through trust and relationship building with all stakeholders involved in the child’s spiritual and emotional wellbeing and educational outcomes.

    What does healing mean for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people in Australia?

    Tyarna Larkin, Eric Toby, Harry Williams

    Biographies:

    The Healing Foundation’s Youth Advisory Group is comprised of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders from across Australia. The Youth Advisory Group was established to guide The Healing Foundation on a range of youth healing initiatives including the development of a national youth healing framework.

    Eric Toby is from the Torres Strait, with his mother’s connections to the central cluster Yam Island and his father’s connections to the top western Boigu Island. Eric is a member of the Healing Foundation’s Youth Advisory Group and is supporting the development of a national youth healing framework. He is completing a Certificate III in Mental Health and was an Outreach Support Worker across the Torres Strait. Toby has recently commenced a new role as a Mental Health Support Worker in Cairns.

    Harry Williams is a descendent of the Wiradjuri people from Cowra, NSW. Harry grew up in Canberra where he continues to live and work. Harrly is a member of the Healing Foundation’s Youth Advisory Group and is supporting the development of a national youth healing framework. He is passionate about educating people about the true history of our country. He considers himself fortunate for the opportunities he has had throughout his career in the community and public service sectors.

    Tyarna Larkin is a Bundjalung and Wiradjuri woman from Tweed Heads, Northern NSW. Tyarna is currently completing a Bachelor of Social Work with Honours at UNSW Sydney. Tyarna is a member of the Healing Foundation’s Youth Advisory Group and is supporting the development of a national youth healing framework. She also works as a Children’s Program Worker at the University of Sydney’s Settlement Centre. Tyarna is passionate about working with the Indigenous community, particularly children, knowing that anything is possible with the right support and foundations.

    Abstract Summary:

    Members of the Healing Foundation’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Youth Advisory Group will present the key findings of the first ever national youth healing forum and their proposed solutions to improve the social and emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people.

    Supporting Stronger Futures: Cultural Therapeutic Way

    Sue-Anne Hunter, VACCA

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    Biography:

    Sue-Anne Hunter is an Aboriginal woman who is strong in her culture and descends from the Wurundjeri people. She is committed to self-determination and advocating for the rights of her people. Sue-Anne has worked at VACCA for 18 years and is currently the Statewide Principal Practitioner.

    Abstract Summary:

    The VACCA approach to Aboriginal children and young people and families integrates culture, trauma informed and self-determination theories to guide healing practice. This cultural therapeutic approach, Cultural Therapeutic Ways is informed by an evidence base and includes tools and resources to support implementation.

  • Playgroups, making a difference in the first 1000 days

    Fiona May

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    Biography:

    Fiona May is CEO of Playgroup Australia, the peak body for state and territory playgroup organisations, a position she has held since July 2018. Fiona has extensive experience as a leader in the community sector both as a CEO and as a Board director. In 2018, Fiona was awarded the ACT Not-for-profit Leader of the Year by the Institute of Managers and Leaders and also received the ACT Chief Ministers award for Championing Human Rights.

    Abstract summary:

    This presentation provides a brief overview of the diversity of research into the role and value of playgroup across three outcomes themes: for children; for parents and families; and for community and society. Forthcoming research on the developmental, social and economic value of play and playgroup will also be explored.

    Reframing Parenting: How we can change public perceptions of parenting in Australia

    Annette Michaux, Bethany Lamont, Dr Kirsty Nowlan

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    Biography:

    Annette Michaux is a Director at the PRC where she leads a number of practice design, evidence building and implementation projects. She has been leading the work with the FrameWorks Institute on the Reframing Parenting communications research project since 2015.

    Bethany Lamont is the Director, Child and Youth Initiatives Section, Families and Children Branch at the DSS and is a kinship carer. She leads several child and youth intervention initiatives under the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children (2009‑2020) and for the Australian Government’s ‘Try, Test and Learn’ fund. Bethany is also Australia’s National Data Coordinator for the World Health Organization’s Global Status Report into Preventing Violence against Children.

    Dr Kirsty Nowlan is an Executive Director with The Benevolent Society. She is also the Co-Chair of the Every Child campaign which aims to ensure that families get the skills and support they need so that every child can thrive. Previously, Kirsty was Global Director of Public Policy at World Vision where she led advocacy initiatives in areas including child mortality and child protection. Kirsty holds a PhD in international law and politics.

    Abstract summary:

    This presentation will outline key messages from the Reframing Parenting Research recently undertaken in Australia and how the results are being implemented in two major campaigns. The project identifies what works and what doesn’t when talking about parenting in Australia and offers practical strategies for changing public perceptions of parenting.

    Family Foundations evaluation – lessons learnt on delivering an integrated early intervention parenting support strategy

    Nathalia Alfonso, Sarah Conway, Anna Tewson, Sebastian Trew, Professor Daryl Higgins

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    Biographies:

    Sebastian Trew has experience conducting research with and for vulnerable populations. He interviewed the participants, workers and stakeholders of the Family Foundations program for the evaluation. Sebastian has worked within the out-of-home care sector including residential care, intensive family support, youth housing and homelessness and disability support.

    Sarah Conway was a member of the Family Foundations Evaluation Reference Group and oversees the Family Foundations program on behalf of the ACT Government’s Community Services Directorate. Sarah has extensive experience working in partnership with community organisations to achieve positive outcomes to support vulnerable children, young people and families in the ACT.

    Abstract summary:

    This presentation will present findings from an evaluation of Family Foundations – an early intervention therapeutic parenting program that provides flexible support to parents of children aged 0-5 years. The findings provide insights into effective messaging about parenting and how to deliver a well-integrated system of evidence-based parenting supports.

    Improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families’ access to prevention and early intervention

    Michael Hawton

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    Biography:

    Michael Hawton is an Australian psychologist, trained teacher, author, international speaker and media commentator. His books on parenting have sold over 85,000 copies globally. He has extensive experience in working with children and families from diverse cultural backgrounds. He has worked as a consultant on parenting in the Seychelles, China and Vietnam. His programs are largely aimed at developing self‑regulation in children and young people. He has an extensive background in child protection.

    Abstract summary:

    This presentation provides a summary of the method used for adapting the 1-2-3 Magic and Emotion Coaching parenting program to a format suitable for an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander audience. The program developers have accommodated the learning needs of an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander audience by adapting the teaching style used in the program.

    What are the experiences of mothers with mental illness? Exploring mothers’ narratives from supported playgroups

    Kristen Burriel

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    Biography:
    Kristen Burriel has been a senior social worker for more than 33 years and is a current PhD candidate at the University of Wollongong. Kristen has been involved in policy and research initiatives throughout her career and is the author of the supported playgroups named POPPY that assist mothers and their young children in several locations in Australia. Kristen has presented at national / international conferences with a prevention and early intervention focus and published a recent international journal article.

    Abstract summary:

    The conference paper provides a summary of a recent post-graduate study to explore the experiences of mothers with mental illness and the importance of social supports such as supported playgroups for their own wellbeing and the healthy development of their young child in a preventative and early intervention framework.

    Multi-disciplinary early intervention support for young parents – A case study

    Kylie Bolland, Jodie Gatley

    View presentation slides

    Biography:

    Kylie Bolland has worked in communities across Queensland for over 20 years supporting individuals and families, with an emphasis on working alongside young families. She has particular interest in supporting women impacted by domestic and family violence, homelessness or involved with the child protection system. She is passionate about developing partnerships and building systems collaborations to address systemic responses to families. Kylie currently is Team Leader at Caboolture Young Mothers for Young Women, Micah Projects.

    Jodie Gatley is part of the leadership team at Micah Projects in Brisbane. She has over 15 years’ experience in the community and government sectors, with an emphasis on program development and implementation. She has a keen interest in models of support for vulnerable families that work with both parents and children together and offer wrap-around integrated support. She feels strongly about building the evidence base of programs that work.

    Abstract summary:

    This presentation will outline a model of support for vulnerable young families working to support outcomes for parents and children. It will showcase the early intervention service for young parents 20 years and under, Caboolture Young Mothers for Young Women. Learnings, benefits, challenges and first year outcomes will be highlighted.

    Growing Strong Brains®: An interactive toolkit to enhance the wellbeing of children in Aboriginal communities

    Jenny Allen, Darlene Roginson

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    Biography:

    Jenny Allen is a passionate team member and advocate for Ngala Community Services. Jenny has been Director, Regional Services at Ngala and has an MBA. Jenny began working with children and young people in remote Australia as a teacher. She has gained invaluable experience working alongside Aboriginal people, families and communities. Delivering and adapting the Growing Strong Brains® Toolkit has been a recent highlight of Jenny’s work.

    Abstract summary:

    The Growing Strong Brains® toolkit is a culturally appropriate resource that promotes awareness of early brain development. It reinforces the importance of prevention and early intervention to enhance the wellbeing of Aboriginal children. The presentation focuses on the use of the toolkit in an Aboriginal parenting service in WA.

    Meet Your Brain

    Dr Jennifer Cartmel, Debbie Miller, Madelaine Winstanley, Dr Hyacinth Udah

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    Biography:

    Dr Jennifer Cartmel is a senior lecturer in the School of Human Services and Social Work. She has been involved in a wide range of research projects within children’s services, most recently about children’s social and emotional learning and about intergenerational programs. Her fields of expertise include early childhood education and care, outside hours school care, work integrated learning, and policy, curriculum and practice in children’s services.

    Madelaine Winstanley is an Education and Engagement Consultant at Pathways to Resilience Trust. She is an experienced primary teacher and program writer, with a background in drama, environmental education, mindfulness and yoga for children. Madelaine is the author of “Journey to the Island of Calm: Wellbeing in the upper primary classroom” and “Meet Your Brain”.

    Abstract summary:

    This paper discusses Meet Your Brain, a program for primary-aged children about the components of the brain and how they work. Children reported a deeper sense of self awareness about how they could regulate the functioning of their brain in positive ways.

    Rethinking threshold: The new front door to services for Tasmania’s vulnerable children and families

    Noelene (Noel) Fittock

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    Biography:

    Noel Fittock is a manager with Tasmania’s Children and Youth Services and is responsible for operationalising key elements of the State Government’s Strong Families Safe Kids reform agenda within the Child Safety Service. Noel has worked across a range of children, young people and family focused health and community services. Noel has spent considerable time working in the outer western suburbs of Sydney, in rural NSW and over 4½ years in the United Kingdom.

    Abstract summary:

    The drivers that prompted the Tasmanian Government to rethink its approach to child protection services are common enough. The approach that the Tasmanian Strong Families Safe Kids Reform took to address these challenges is unique and exciting. Using Professor David Thorpe’s “The New Front Door” approach, Tasmania is rethinking threshold.

    Volunteer Family Connect: A structured social support early intervention for vulnerable families with young children

    Dr Rebekah Grace, Dr Kelly Baird, Emma Elcombe, Dr Jayne Meyer-Tucker, Leith Sterling, Grainne O’Loughlin, Simone Gianelli, Professor Jacqueline, Barnes, Professor Lynn Kemp

    View presentation slides

    Biography:

    Dr Rebekah Grace is the Deputy Director of the Centre for TReSI, School of Nursing and Midwifery at Western Sydney University. Her research spans the health, psychology and education fields, focusing on understanding and addressing the support needs of children and families who are vulnerable. Rebekah’s research is multi-disciplinary in nature and is most often conducted in collaboration with government and NGO partners to support high quality, evidence based, service implementation.

    Dr Kelly Baird is an Associate Research Fellow at the Centre for TReSI, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Western Sydney University. Kelly takes a collaborative, applied and community-embedded approach to research, partnering with organisations delivering support services to children, young people and families. She has a particular research interest in addressing the service and support needs of those within our communities who are most vulnerable.

    Abstract summary:

    Results from a randomised controlled trial of Volunteer Family Connect, a structured social support early intervention, demonstrated effectiveness in improving community connectedness and parenting competence of families experiencing vulnerability. This research makes a significant contribution to the evidence base for the continuum of services necessary to early intervention for vulnerable families.

    Developing common approaches to service delivery in prevention and early intervention

    Will Mollison and Fiona Macgregor

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    Biographies:

    Will Mollison is Executive Officer of Families ACT, a peak body supporting organisations working with children, young people and families in the ACT. He has a degree in social work. Will started his career working with vulnerable children and young people in SA. In the 1990’s he lectured in social work at La Trobe University in Wodonga. For 15 years Will was a consultant working with not-for-profits and government on research projects, evaluation and social planning.

    Fiona Macgregor’s background is in education. In her early career she taught art in ACT schools, working with disadvantaged children and children with disabilities. Later, as senior manager with the Education Department, she ran the School Counselling Service, School Equity and Student Wellbeing Programs and was Principal of the School at the Youth Detention Centre. More recently she has been senior manager of a range of Community Sector programs supporting vulnerable members of the ACT community.

    Abstract summary:

    Families ACT is a peak body supporting organizations working with children, young people and families in the ACT. We have a long-standing involvement in workforce development and the design of practice tools. Recently the ACT Government funded Families ACT to develop a Casework Tool to improve outcomes for clients.

    Getting into their heads: A neurosequential brain development approach to youth employment program

    Lisa Keegan, James Ryan, Dr Jennifer Cartmel, Debbie Miller

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    Biographies:

    James Ryan is the Director of Wellbeing for Pathways. He writes resilience, mindfulness, brain talks and other custom PD sessions. James is guiding a pilot program that works with long-term unemployed youth. James is a husband and dad, has been through initiatory ceremonies, practised mindfulness for over twenty years and is currently writing a book.

    Lisa Keegan has 27 years’ experience working with young children and advocating for quality early childhood care and education. She is a PhD candidate, has presented at national conferences and published several research articles. Recent research includes trauma and neurosequential development outcomes for children and young people.

    Abstract summary:

    Empowering Youth to Thrive utilises neuroscience research to support the development of the skills necessary for positive engagement in the workforce. The focus is to empower vulnerable and at-risk youth, in particular to help Indigenous youth to develop soft and hard work-readiness skills and improve their health and wellbeing outcomes.

    Son to mother violence: Rebuilding relationships following experiences of violence

    Dr Jemma Venables, Dr Amy Young, Professor Patrick O’Leary, Dr Jennifer Boddy

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    Biographies:

    Dr Jemma Venables is a social work lecturer and researcher at the University of Queensland. Motivated to improve outcomes for vulnerable children, young people and their families, her research explores how social policy is implemented in practice. Jemma’s research illuminates the lived experience of service users as they navigate service systems and builds knowledge of factors that shape how frontline workers ‘do’ practice. Underpinning her research is an interest in participatory practice and justice.

    Dr Amy Young is an experienced researcher with technical skills in program evaluation and review, literature review and a range of qualitative and quantitative research and evaluation methodologies. She has a passion for promoting children’s rights, participation and protection, and addressing domestic and family violence.

    Abstract summary:

    Son to mother violence is increasingly acknowledged as an area that needs to be addressed by child protection and domestic violence practitioners and justice services. This presentation discusses the needs of families experiencing son to mother violence and identifies the core components that programs need to address such behaviours.

    Reducing the risk of harm for a child with special needs when parents are separating

    Carly Siviour and Nicola Byrne

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    Biography:

    Carly Siviour has a background in working with children and adolescents experiencing complex or developmental trauma and has been working with separated families for 15 years. Carly has worked as a Family Therapist, Family Mediator, Family Advisor and Child Consultant. Carly has studied Psychology, Family Mediation and Family Psychotherapy and is currently studying a Master in Clinical Family Therapy at the Bouverie Family Centre and La Trobe University.

    Abstract summary:

    Better Place Australia has found that in a high percentage of mediations where there is a child with special needs, parents often have very different views or perceptions of their child’s needs. This poses a risk of harm to the child. A model of care has been developed in response.

    Missing What Matters? Separated parents’ experiences of family violence and the Australian Family Law System

    Leanne Francia, Dr Prue Millear, Dr Rachael Sharman

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    Biography:

    Leanne Francia is a PhD candidate in psychology at the University of the Sunshine Coast. Leanne’s focus is on family violence and conflict following separation and its impact on parent-child relationships and child adjustment and wellbeing. Leanne has worked in legal and child-related fields and remains committed to research that ensures children and families are supported following separation.

    Abstract summary:

    This study explored the experiences of separated parents in family violence within the Australian family law system. Results revealed that engaging with the Australian family law system caused considerable anxiety and distress for parents, with cumulative experiences pointing to an aftermath of long-term emotional and psychological trauma for both parents and children.

  • Coaching innovation in real time in OOHC placements

    Matthew Thomas

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    Biography:

    Matthew Thomas is a psychologist with experience in OOHC, corrections, child and adolescent mental health and disability. He started with Marymead in 2017 as Clinical Leader with clinical oversight of a variety of programs with a high initial focus on OOHC. Matt aims to bring evidence-based practices to the programs using novel approaches. The clinical team that he has developed for OOHC comes with parent mentor/coaches that work with families.

    Abstract summary:

    To develop skills quickly and effectively requires real time feedback and coaching. This is true for providing parenting for a traumatized child in care. Marymead’s program provides both the plan for evidence-based trauma informed care and the coaching to not only stabilise but also enhance foster and kinship placements.

    Key Assets Practice Framework: Coaching approach to working with carers

    Catherine Murphy, Meagan Probert

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    Biographies:

    Catherine Murphy is a Practice Design and Implementation Specialist at the PRC who works with family support and education agencies to improve outcomes for families, children and young people. Catherine has focused her career on working to improve the opportunities for those living in vulnerable or disadvantaged circumstances.

    Meagan Probert is the Practice Development Manager for Key Assets. Her role is focused on the development and implementation of innovative quality practice across Key Assets Australia. Within this role, Meagan leads the implementation of the Key Assets Practice Framework. Meagan is passionate about making a difference in the lives of others, leading through growth and change within systems and sharing stories about the journey.

    Abstract summary:

    Building the capacity of carers of children in out‑of‑home care promotes stability of placement, child wellbeing and safety. The Key Assets Practice Framework outlines a coaching approach social workers can use in their day to day practice with carers to promote carer problem solving and self‑regulation skills.

    Achieving permanency for young children entering foster care: Outcomes from the Barnardos’ Temporary Family Care model

    Kerry Moore and Melanie Andrews

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    Kerry Moore has worked extensively in the child and family services field across both non-government and government sectors. She has established and managed a range of innovative early intervention, intensive family preservation, new entry out-of-home care, restoration and kinship care services. Kerry currently has executive responsibility in Barnardos Australia for these services in regional and rural NSW and the ACT.

    Melanie Andrews has worked in the community service sector for 20 years across children and family, mental health, disability and aged care services throughout greater Sydney. Melanie has held senior management positions in large non-government organisations for over 10 years. As a social worker, Melanie is passionate about working collaboratively across non-government and government services to identify solutions that tackle underlying social issues and improve immediate and long-term outcomes for children, young people and families.

    Abstract summary:

    Built upon a robust body of evidence, the Temporary Family Care model is positioned at the front end of the permanency continuum, where it acts as the initial point of contact for children as they enter the OOHC system. Independent analysis on outcomes trends including placement stability and restoration will be presented.

    Learning from children and families about practices to support birth family connections in permanent care

    Dr Susan Collings and Associate Professor Amy Conley Wright

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    Biography:

    Dr Susan Collings is Research Fellow at the University of Sydney’s Institute of Open Adoption Studies. Her professional background in casework management and practice informs her approach to applied research. She uses collaborative and participatory methods informed by practice-based wisdom and lived experience. Her current research aims to build consensus on the casework skills and practices needed to support children and families affected by child protection and out-of-home care, including support for birth family contact.

    Associate Professor Amy Conley Wright is Director of the Institute of Open Adoption Studies at the University of Sydney. Amy has held previous academic social work positions in Australia and the USA. Her teaching, research and practice experiences are in child advocacy, child and family policy, family support and child maltreatment prevention. She has served as a board member and has consulted on child and family services for government and non‑government organisations.

    Abstract summary:

    Contact is important for children’s lifelong birth family connections. Research with children and families in NSW was used to understand what makes contact work. Families want caseworkers to help them work together and learn to communicate constructively and respectfully. Children want contact to be enjoyable and predictable.

  • The Child Safe Journey: The role of organisations and families in upholding children’s rights

    Dr Susan Nicolson

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    Biography:

    Dr Susan Nicolson has worked in child protection, out-of-home care and juvenile justice for 30 years. She held senior roles at NSW Office of the Children’s Guardian, FACS and Office of the NSW Ombudsman. She joined the AHRC as Director Children’s Rights in 2012. In 2017, she worked as a principal adviser on the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the NT.

    Abstract summary:

    This paper focuses on human rights and, in particular, children’s rights, and the important role that they play in ensuring the safety and well-being of children and young people. It does this in the context of the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations.

    Keeping children safe: The journey to organisational congruence

    Mary McKinnon

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    Biography:

    Mary McKinnon is a passionate and experienced senior leader focused on practice improvement through implementation of  evidence-informed practices and programs in everyday service delivery. She has extensive experience across a range of executive, managerial and operational roles in government and NGO settings and currently serves as the Executive Director, Practice and Quality, at LWB.

    Abstract summary:

    This presentation shares LWB’s journey toward congruence across our child, youth and family services, outlining the work to develop a principlebased approach that facilitates understanding, integration and problem solving so that organisational parts are more likely to work together.

    Safety through connections – the power of technology to keep children and young people safe

    Chris Boyle

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    Biography:

    Chris Boyle is a social worker who has worked in the child protection system for over 24 years, across non-government, government and now as CEO and Co-Founder of the Commsync Foundation. He has a passion for social justice and giving a voice and opportunity to the most vulnerable children, young people and families in our community. In 2012, he was awarded a Churchill Fellowship. Commsync seeks to shift investment back to children and not systems.

    Abstract summary:

    Networks build safety, not systems. The safety of children, often compromised due to the fear of asking for help, may result in an arrest, report or removal. Commsync has taken the child’s safety plan off the fridge door and automated into wearable technology, activating their chosen networks of safety.

    Are we asking the right questions? Enhancing approaches to recruitment and assessment of foster carers

    Dr Belinda Mayfield

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    Biography:

    Dr Belinda Mayfield’s work in the Practice and Quality Team includes supporting practice quality through a range of functions including leading implementation of evidence-based programs, reflective practice and program development. Belinda has extensive experience as a social worker in the child and family field across a range of practice and policy roles. Belinda has a particular interest in supporting evidence-informed practice, which was a focus of her doctoral study.

    Abstract summary:

    This presentation will focus on a project to develop a comprehensive recruitment and assessment framework, specifically focused on eliciting information from prospective foster carers, relevant to the risk of sexual violence and abuse in out- of-home care settings. The presentation will include information about co-designed practice tools.

    Client safety in action: Establishing a dedicated child safety assurance team in UnitingCare Queensland

    Jaine Smiley

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    Biography:

    Jaine Smiley commenced her career as a Care and Protection Social Worker in New Zealand nearly 20 years ago. Jaine’s passion for ensuring our most vulnerable children, young people and their families are safe and free from abuse and neglect so they can in turn reach their fullest potential, remains as committed now as it was then.

    Abstract summary:

    Committed to a zero tolerance of harm led to the establishment of a dedicated Client Safety Team that provides independent oversight with identifying and responding to actual, perceived or anticipated risk of harm for children, young people and their families.

    Keeping children safe from harmful sexual behaviour: An examination of Bravehearts’ therapeutic approach

    Dr Rebekah Chapman and Kathleen Chalmer

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    Biographies:

    Dr Rebekah Chapman is Senior Researcher at Bravehearts. With a background in psychology, Rebekah has developed an expertise in youthfocused research. Prior to joining Bravehearts in 2015, Rebekah’s work focused primarily on adolescent health promotion and the development, implementation and evaluation of school-based health education programs. With a passion for child protection and positive youth development, Rebekah’s current research is focused on responding to, and preventing, the occurrence of child sexual abuse in the community.

    Kathleen Chalmer is a Clinical Coordinator within the Bravehearts Therapeutic Services team. Since becoming a registered psychologist in 2002, Kathleen has specialised in trauma and worked with children, adults and families in a variety of positions, including as a sexual assault counsellor, within employee assistance programs and in private practice. As a Bravehearts Clinical Coordinator, Kathleen is responsible for overseeing and supervising a team of clinicians, while also undertaking her own clinical work.

    Abstract summary:

    Early intervention into a child’s problematic or harmful sexual behaviour is vital to ensure the safety of the child and others. This presentation outlines Bravehearts’ therapeutic approach to addressing problematic/harmful sexual behaviour among children and provides an understanding of clients and their outcomes using data from a recent service evaluation.

    Multisystemic Therapy for child abuse and neglect: Creating sustainable outcomes for children and their families

    Jacqueline Le Mesurier, Justine Harris

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    Biography:

    Jacqueline Le Mesurier is a clinical Psychologist who has worked in the non-for-profit sector in the field of trauma from abuse since 2013, providing assessment and evidence-based intervention to children, young people and their families. Jacqueline has experience managing clinical staff and programs, including MST-CAN and engaging with a range of stakeholders, particularly child protection agencies.

    Abstract summary:

    This presentation is a brief introduction to MST-CAN – an evidence-based program to improve outcomes in families where maltreatment has occurred.

    You are not allowed to tell: Organisational culture a barrier for child protection worker well-being

    Dr Fiona Oates

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    Biography

    Dr Fiona Oates is an experienced, social work trained, child protection practitioner, consultant, educator and researcher with expertise working in urban and rural settings. Fiona has a passion for supporting the mental health and wellbeing of practitioners working in trauma-laden environments. Fiona is committed to contributing toward addressing the disproportionate representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families in the child protection system. Fiona is based in Cairns, Far North Queensland.

    Abstract summary:

    Child protection work is difficult, complex and often traumatic for practitioners. Findings from a recent doctoral study indicate that negative organisational responses to practitioners experiencing traumatic stress is a significant barrier for practitioners seeking support to manage and resolve symptomatology.

    Rethinking ‘care teams’ – looking to Safety and Support Networks

    Dr Meegan Crawford

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    Biography:

    Dr Meegan Crawford is a social worker and currently works as the Director, Practice Quality and Clinical Support, CSYW QLD. In this role she oversees a number of teams: Practice Improvement; Practice Advice and Support; Practice Response and Practice Development and three Practice Leader positions. A key focus of her work over the past four years has been the development and implementation of the Strengthening Families Protecting Children Framework for Practice, a strengths-based, safety‑oriented framework.

    Abstract summary:

    Queensland’s Child Safety Department has shifted the dial to consider a collectivist approach to safety. This models what Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families have been using for generations to ensure the safety of their family members. This paper explores the benefits of extending the ‘care team’ concept to Safety and Support Networks across formal and informal networks.

    Parents as Protectors: A qualitative study of parents’ views on child sexual abuse prevention

    Dr Julia Rudolph and Professor Melanie Zimmer-Gembeck

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    Biography:

    Dr Julia Rudolph is a post-doctoral researcher in the School of Applied Psychology, Griffith University. She is interested in parenting and child wellbeing, specifically regarding sexual abuse prevention.

    Abstract summary:

    Parents as Protectors: A qualitative study of parents’ views on:

    (a) child sexual abuse (CSA), grooming and risk;

    (b) the effectiveness of CSA education;

    (c) parent-led CSA education;

    (d) the possibility of children recognising and resisting CSA; and

    (e) parent responsibility for protection.

    Is there a relationship between children’s wellbeing and perceptions of safety from sexual harm?

    Douglas Russell and Professor Daryl Higgins

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    Biography:

    Douglas Russell is a qualified primary school teacher with a Masters’ Degree in Psychology. As well as working as a behaviour therapist with children with developmental disabilities, Douglas has most recently lectured at the tertiary level with a focus on Developmental Psychology and Early Childhood Education. He now manages Children’s Safety Studies for ICPS; research regarding the participation of children and young people in safeguarding research and the capabilities of staff and volunteers to keep children safe.

    Abstract summary:

    In light of the recent Royal Commission, the development of a measure of young people’s perceptions of institutional safety has allowed for an examination of the relationship between wellbeing and perceptions of sexual safety. Findings and implications for organisations will be discussed.

    Voices of children and young people in out-of-home care: What are they saying?

    Dr Alison Watters

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    Biography

    Dr Alison Watters is a project manager in the Child Welfare Unit at the AIHW. With a background in social policy, research and data analysis, Alison has experience in policy development and program implementation, as well as data reporting on children. She currently manages the National Survey of the views of children in out-of-home care as well as web‑based indicator reporting on the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children.

    Abstract summary:

    The second national survey of the views of children in out-of-home care was conducted in 2018. Results are used to report against eight indicators under the National Standards for the second time. An overview of key findings and comparison between 2015 and 2018 data is presented.

  • The impact of early intervention in increasing resilience and wellbeing for children and families

    Katharine McLean & Callie Hooper

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    Biographies:

    Katharine McLean holds a BA in Human Services, Child and Family studies. Katharine has 18+ years’ experience establishing programs for children and families across a variety of settings including youth offending, young parents at risk of homelessness, children’s mental health and post adoption services. Katharine’s current role is Team Leader for Post Adoption Support QLD and Child and Family Wellbeing Service Brisbane North for The Benevolent Society.

    Callie Hooper is an experienced Child and Family Practitioner with The Benevolent Society’s Child and Family Services. Callie holds a Bachelor of Counselling degree and is passionate about early intervention supporting children and families to flourish and achieve positive outcomes for their future mental health and wellbeing. Callie’s career to date has included roles in prominent organisations such as Paradise Kids on the Gold Coast and Wesley Mission Queensland in the Communities for Children Program in Logan.

    Abstract summary:

    The Benevolent Society’s Child and Family Wellbeing Service will offer insight into the use of evidence-informed practices with children and demonstrate how this improves their ability to adapt to challenges across their lifespan. Key components of these practices will be explored, teaching children cognitive, behavioural and social problem solving skills to build their responsiveness to overcome life challenges as they arise.

    Subjective Wellbeing: An autistic girl’s experience during adolescence

    Nina-Rae Smith & Dr Jennifer Cartmel

    Biographies:

    Nina-Rae Smith has experience designing and facilitating community arts groups for young people from marginalised  backgrounds. Nina has worked for several years as a youth worker and currently works as a disability support worker. She has provided individual support and community linking access to young women on the spectrum in addition to  working in group settings with young people diagnosed with ASD.

    Dr Jennifer Cartmel is a senior lecturer in the School of Human Services and Social Work. She has been involved in a wide range of research projects within children’s services,  most recently about children’s social and emotional learning. Dr Cartmel has extensive experience conducting focus groups with adults and young people, inclusive of young people on the spectrum. Her fields of expertise include early childhood education and care, outside hours school care, work integrated learning, and curriculum and practice in children’s services.

    Abstract summary:

    This study was designed as a result of the growing body of evidence suggesting adolescent females with ASD are facing added vulnerabilities and marginalisation. Utilising a postmodern feminist approach to  phenomenological enquiry, this research engaged with young women on the spectrum and their subjective notions of wellbeing.

    Health needs and timeliness of assessment of children entering out-of-home care attending a multi-disciplinary clinic

    Dr Karen McLean, Dr Keriann Little, Professor Harriet Hiscock, Professor Dorothy Scott, Professor Sharon Goldfeld

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    Biography:

    Dr Karen McLean is a behavioural and developmental paediatrician who implemented the Pathway to Good Health Clinic at RCH. She is undertaking her PhD exploring how children entering out-of-home care get their health needs identified and addressed, including an audit of the RCH clinic, a data linkage, retrospective (5 year), state-wide cohort study  (supported by a Learning System Grant) and a foster and kinship carers’ study.

    Abstract summary:

    This audit of a multi-disciplinary health assessment for children entering out-of-home care confirms high rates of health needs in all domains (physical, developmental and mental health). Timely assessment is difficult to achieve for this cohort. Recommendations for ongoing care indicate a high need for adequate health service provision.

    From managing problems to expanding capabilities: Promoting wellbeing in out‑of-home care with Advantaged Thinking

    Dr Marion Coddou & Dr Joseph Borlagdan

    Biography:

    Dr Marion Coddou is a Senior Research Fellow at the Brotherhood of St Laurence Research and Policy Centre. She is currently researching the impact of a number of initiatives that apply an Advantaged Thinking capabilities approach to young people’s transitions from care,

    Abstract summary:

    The Advantaged Thinking practice approach promotes wellbeing by shifting attention from managing individualised problems towards creating opportunity aligned with young people’s aspirations. A realist evaluation of its implementation in residential care through delivery of the Certificate I in Developing Independence reveals the mechanisms and conditions supporting capability expansion in care.

    Unfinished business

    Caroline Carroll OAM

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    Biography:

    Caroline Carroll OAM is Community Education 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. She was separated as an infant from her family (including her seven siblings). Caroline is the Chair of the national peak body, the Alliance for Forgotten Australians.

    Abstract summary:

    Forgotten Australians, care leavers and other survivors have been the subject of numerous studies, inquiries, apologies and government responses in Australia during the last decades. What can we learn from experiences of policy implementation so that in future children’s wellbeing is paramount and they do not experience inadequate policy responses?

    Children’s Rights: A wish list rather than a To-Do list

    Dr Vicky Absalom-Hornby

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    Biography:

    Dr Victoria Absalom-Hornby holds a PhD in Forensic Psychology from the University of Manchester, UK. Her background includes working clinically and lecturing in the UK, specialising in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy across public, private, forensic, early intervention and education sectors. Since relocating to Western Australia in 2012, Victoria has worked in the not-for-profit sector in a variety of roles. Victoria’s passion is advocating for children and young people and implementing change through awareness raising.

    Abstract summary:

    Explore the concept of missing pieces of the puzzle to achieving positive outcomes for all children in Australia. Consider how societal attitudes impact on the priority given to children’s rights and needs. Reflect on how we can achieve a healthy childhood for all children by prioritising their needs.

    Preparing parents for the challenge of ongoing child focused shared parenting

    Kristen Poel

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    Biography:

    Kristen Poel commenced her career as a social worker before gaining her registration as a Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner. In 2013, Kristen joined Better Place Australia as Team Leader of the Family Relationship Centres. Kristen managed the delivery of family and children counselling services as well as family dispute resolution. Kristen’s current role is Regional Services Manager of mediation services for the South East of Victoria.

    Abstract summary:

    This presentation will highlight strategies to assist parents maintain positive relationships whilst negotiating care arrangements for children. This decreases the stress that can be transferred to children.

    “Give children a bigger voice, more of the time” – recent AIFS research

    Dr Rachel Carson

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    Biography:

    Dr Rachel Carson is a socio-legal researcher with expertise in family law. After practising as a lawyer, Rachel worked as a researcher in family law at the University of Melbourne while undertaking her PhD in this field of research. Since joining the AIFS in 2012, Rachel’s work has included the Independent Children’s Lawyer Study and she was the lead researcher on the recently completed Children and Young People in Separated Families project.

    Abstract summary:

    This paper will present findings from the AIFS’ recent empirical research exploring children and young people’s views and experiences in the context of their parents’ separation and the extent to which their needs are met within existing family law system service formats.

 

eChildhood Protection Coalition Launch

Tamara Newlands, Executive Director of eChildhood, launched the eChildhood Protection Coalition.

View recording of the eChildhood Protection Coalition Launch

The Family Law System of the Future

Cameron Gifford leads the Families and Legal System Division within the Australian Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department. The Attorney-General’s Department is responsible for the family law system. Now that the Australian Law Reform Commission’s review of the family law system has been released, the department is consulting with a diverse range of key stakeholders from across federal and state government, advocacy groups, the legal sector, courts, and service delivery bodies about their early priorities for reform of the family law system.

View recording of The Family Law System of the Future

Post conference media and reporting

Adam Dean, Senior Research Officer at the Australian Institute of Family Studies, shared his thoughts about the Young People’s Plenary Panel with Robert Taylor from the Salvation Army Ingle Farm here.

QUT News: watch undergraduate journalism student, Isabella Magee’s report and interviews here.

Opinion Piece on the Young People’s Plenary Panel by Paris McMahon, Panel Facilitator and Young Thinker in Residence for the ACT Human Rights Commission here.