Child inclusive practice

The latest material added to the Australian Institute of Family Studies library database is displayed, up to a maximum of 30 items. Where available online, a link to the document is provided. Many items can be borrowed from the Institute's library via the Interlibrary loan system.

See more resources on Child inclusive practice in the AIFS library catalogue

Hearing the voices of Tasmanian families involved with the child safety system: discussion paper.

Hinton T
Hobart, Tas. : Anglicare Tasmania, 2018.
In Tasmania and overseas there is an increasing interest in developing more family-inclusive policies and procedures in the child welfare system, including more support and advocacy for parents. However, Tasmania currently has few dedicated programs which can support and advocate for parents and families involved with the Child Safety System and no mechanism to routinely hear their voices. This paper highlights this significant gap and outlines the case for developing an effective individual and systemic advocacy service. It discusses current advocacy mechanisms for parents and families, considers the implications of the absence of advocacy in Tasmania, looks into the challenges entailed in developing advocacy services and what can be learnt from the experiences of services elsewhere, and sets out options and opportunities for Tasmania.

Annual report 2017-2018

Northern Territory. Territory Families
Darwin : Northern Territory Government, 2018
Territory Families was established by the Northern Territory Government in September 2016 to bring together a range of policy and frontline service delivery functions that work together to deliver a whole of life approach to supporting children and families across the Territory. This document presents the second annual report of the new department, for the 2017-18 period. It sets out Territory Families' structure, values, workforce, recent achievements, financial performance, and performance against the six goals of the strategic plan: provide early support to children, young people and families; safeguard the wellbeing of children, young people, families and the community; partner to empower change; encourage and celebrate inclusive, diverse and connected communities; ensure the structures, systems and legislation supports our vision; and value and invest in our people. Statistics and trends are provided for various service delivery measures relating to family support, child protection, out of home care, youth justice, domestic violence, and community engagement. Staff work health and safety incidents are also noted, as well as efforts towards workforce development and law reform.

What children and young people think should happen when families separate

South Australia. Office of the Commissioner for Children and Young People
Adelaide, S. Aust. : Commissioner for Children and Young People, 2018.
This paper presents the views of children and young people in South Australia on how they want to be supported when their parents separate and how the legal system could ensure their voices are heard. Consultation sessions were held with 20 children and young people aged from 7-22 years old, with and without a lived experience of the family law system. Participants discussed what they would like from the time their parents separate to after the family law process officially concludes, including when they wish to learn about the separation, legal professionals and court processes, child advocates, and child inclusive mediation. The paper shares their views then considers best practice and how the system could respond better. This paper was prepared as a submission to the Australian Law Reform Commission's current review into the family law system.

'Give children a bigger voice, more of the time' : findings from the Children and Young People in Separated Families project.

Carson R
CFCA short article 23 Oct 2018
This articles highlights key findings from a recent research project by the Australian Institute of Family Studies which investigated the experiences and needs of young people whose parents had separated and had accessed the family law system. The children and young people participating in the project had mixed views of family law system services, and many felt marginalised by the approaches adopted by professionals. The findings highlight the importance of incorporating child-inclusive practices in the family law system.

'A community that values its children will cherish their parents' : family inclusion in child protection systems.

Cocks J
24 October 2018
This webinar will discuss research on international family inclusion initiatives in child welfare and how they can be applied in Australia. Family inclusion is increasingly recognised as crucial to achieving child protection policy goals across Australian jurisdictions, including the urgent need to support permanency for children and young people safely at home and increase their numbers. We know from research and practice that many Australian families with an experience of the child protection system gravely distrust it, and continue to experience exclusion from child protection processes and their children's lives. This webinar will present findings from a Churchill Fellowship project completed in 2018 that explored best practice and research evidence on family inclusion initiatives in the USA, Canada, Norway and the UK. The webinar will challenge dichotomised thinking about parents and children in child protection, and argue for a reconceptualisation of family inclusion that recognises and addresses the social context of child removal. It will also discuss the evidence base for practical innovations in family-inclusive practice in three areas, including parent-to-parent peer work, a greater focus on carer and parent relationships, and parent leadership.

Review of the family law system: submission from the Australian Institute of Family Studies

Carson R, Qu L, Roopani D and Weston R
Canberra : Australian Law Reform Commission, 2018
This is the submission from the Australian Institute of Family Studies into the Australian Law Reform Commission's review of the family law system. The submission highlights findings from the Institute's work that can help inform issues of access and engagement, resolution and adjudication processes, property arrangements, parenting arrangements, integration and collaboration, children's experiences and perspectives, professional skills and wellbeing, and governance and accountability. Findings are taken from the following studies: Children and Young People in Separated Families; Direct Cross-Examination in Family Law Matters; Domestic and Family Violence and Parenting; Evaluation of the 2012 Family Violence Amendments; Experiences of Separated Parents Study; Longitudinal Study of Separated Families; and Independent Children's Lawyers Study. Successive research studies at the Institute have highlighted the prevalence of complex issues characterising families that access the family law system, requiring a system that reflects these complex needs, secures the safety of family members, prioritises the best interests of children via child-centred and child-inclusive approaches, and is both trauma-informed and whole-of-family focused.

Give children a bigger voice more of the time : children's and young people's experiences of the family law system.

Carson R and Williams N
27 Sep 2018
This webinar will discuss recent research on young people's experiences of the family law system and its implications for child-inclusive practice. A recent study by the Australian Institute of Family Studies has highlighted the importance of listening to and supporting children and young people throughout the process of parental separation and their involvement in the family law system. Many children and young people who participated in the study reported a lack of communication from parents and family law services about the separation and the decision-making process, and reported feeling excluded from decisions that affected them, particularly in relation to parenting arrangements. The study findings highlight a need for more child-inclusive processes across the family law system. This webinar will present findings from this 'Children and young people in separated families' study and discuss implications for policy and practice, with a focus on developing child-inclusive practices in the area of family dispute resolution and the family law system more generally.

'If a community values its children, it should cherish their parents': family inclusion initiatives in child welfare

Cocks J
Acton, A.C.T. : The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust of Australia, 2018
Supported by a Winston Churchill Fellowship, the author investigates initiatives and programs overseas that aim to build a family-inclusive approach to child protection and out of home care, to help inform practice in Australia. The author visited sites in the United States, Canada, Norway, and the United Kingdom, to learn more about developments in three key areas: peer support work by parents who had experience of the system, child-focused relationship building between birth parents and foster or other types of carers, and parent leadership, such as through committees, activism, and consulting. For family inclusion to be a characteristic of the Australian child welfare system, parent and family voice and inclusion is needed at the individual level, in the child welfare sector, and in broader society. The study identified many strategies that can be implemented within current resources and have the potential to bring about significant and long lasting positive change for children and families.

CAFS Family Services and family violence program initiatives : providing an inclusive, child focused, wrap-around support service to address the complex issues around family violence.

Vincent-Wade T and Mackay F
Peer reviewed papers from the FRSA 2017 National Conference : connecting the dots - creating wellbeing for all. Fyshwick, ACT : Family & Relationship Services Australia, 2017: 52-62
This paper describes three programs that Child & Family Services (CAFS) Family Services in Ballarat, regional Victoria, have developed to provide a greater level of safety for children exposed to family violence. These programs - the Family Services Family Violence Practitioner, the create-respect primary school program, and Dad's Tool Kit - aims to address the harm of family violence, eradicating destructive behaviours, and begin the process of healing. The paper explains their development and the importance of collaboration between Family Services family violence practitioners and Family Services case managers.

Evidencing the effectiveness of professional development partnering to influence strength-based practice in family dispute resolution and motivate self-agency for social change.

Williams N
Peer reviewed papers from the FRSA 2017 National Conference : connecting the dots - creating wellbeing for all. Fyshwick, ACT : Family & Relationship Services Australia, 2017: 38-51
This paper describes family dispute resolution practices at Family Relationship Centre Logan, in Queensland. It discusses the role of family relationship centres in motivating change, bringing a strength-based case management approach into screening and assessment activity, professional development and child inclusive practice, strengthening the voices of children, partnering with primary schools to help children affected by family breakdown, the benefits of children, parents and practitioners working together in family relationship services. An extensive appendix includes findings from client surveys, a referral pathways chart, and a Framework for Client and Practitioner Engagement in Child Informed Family Dispute Resolution.

Annual report 2016-2017

Northern Territory. Territory Families
Darwin : Northern Territory Government, 2017
Territory Families was established by the Northern Territory Government in September 2016 to bring together a range of policy and frontline service delivery functions that work together to deliver a whole of life approach to supporting children and families across the Territory. This document presents the first annual report of the new department, for the 2016-17 period. It explains the development of the new department and sets out their structure, values, workforce, recent achievements, financial performance, and performance against the six goals of the strategic plan: provide early support to children, young people and families; safeguard the wellbeing of children, young people, families and the community; partner to empower change; encourage and celebrate inclusive, diverse and connected communities; ensure the structures, systems and legislation supports our vision; and value and invest in our people. Statistics and trends are provided for various service delivery measures relating to family support, child protection, out of home care, youth justice, domestic violence, and community engagement. Staff work health and safety incidents are also noted, as well as efforts towards workforce development and law reform.

Peer-reviewed papers from the FRSA 2017 National Conference: connecting the dots - creating wellbeing for all.

Family & Relationship Services Australia
Fyshwick, ACT : FRSA, 2017
This document presents a selection of peer-reviewed papers from the 2017 national conference of Family & Relationship Services Australia (FRSA). The papers are expanded versions of accepted abstracts, and address the themes of the first 1000 days, key transition points in the schooling years, partnering and cohabitation, relationship breakdown and re-partnering, and ageing. The papers are: Teens and screens: can motivation for use inform an effective response in problematic internet use?, by Zoe Francis; Transition to high school: a systematic early intervention approach, by Sara Oldfield and Cassandra Power; Operationalising an intra-organisational multidisciplinary panel, by Leanne Kelly; E-screening to connect the dots on risks to family wellbeing: a literature review, by Jamie Lee, Julian Flint and Jennifer McIntosh; Evidencing the effectiveness of professional development partnering to influence strength-based practice in family dispute resolution and motivate self-agency for social change, by Norma Williams; CAFS Family Services and family violence program initiatives: providing an inclusive, child focused, wrap-around support service to address the complex issues around family violence, by Tania Vincent-Wade and Fraser Mackay.

Children with disability : inclusive practice and child-safe organisations.

Llewellyn G
12 October 2017
This webinar will focus on developing practical strategies to create safe and inclusive environments for children with disability. Recent research indicates that children with disability are at a much higher risk of maltreatment than their non-disabled peers. The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse recently reviewed the evidence to consider the various factors that contribute to the heightened risk of abuse for children with disability, including their over-representation in institutional care settings and greater interaction with unfamiliar adults. It also highlighted the problems with viewing disability as a stand-alone risk factor for maltreatment, rather than focusing on the particular social contexts that contribute to children's vulnerability. This webinar will outline current understandings of disability and present recent research findings on the prevalence, risk and prevention of abuse for children with disability. Practical strategies for inclusive practice will be discussed, with a focus on creating child-safe organisations.

Working with gender diverse young people and their families.

Cooper L and Dunphy A
26 Apr 2017
This webinar will explore the information and skills needed for practitioners to work effectively with gender diverse young people and their families. Increasing numbers of children and young people are identifying as gender questioning, gender diverse or transgender, and presenting for support from professionals in mental health, family services, and child and youth services. Queerspace at Drummond Street Services has responded to many families presenting for assistance for themselves, their child, siblings and other family members or caregivers in dealing with the questions and challenges that arise from the experience of being gender diverse. This webinar will introduce ideas of gender and identity formation and discuss the struggles that individuals, families and services face in responding to the changing landscape in this area. Adapted case studies from Queerspace's own work will be used to discuss ways of working with and supporting these young people and their family members. This webinar will provide an opportunity to explore some of the essential information and skills needed for practitioners to deepen their understanding of gender, and work in an inclusive and affirmative manner.

From research to practice : harnessing evidence for evaluating effectiveness in child informed and inclusive family dispute resolution.

Williams N
Peer-reviewed papers from the FRSA 2016 National Conference : measuring success in the family and relationship sector for the wellbeing of children, families and communities. Deakin, ACT : Family & Relationship Services Australia, 2016: 34-46
This paper presents findings from an action research project conducted by Uniting Care Queensland to help inform the evaluation of child-inclusive family dispute resolution at a Family Relationship Centre in Logan, Queensland. The action research project created dynamic change in the beliefs and values of FDR practitioners about child participation, the culture of child inclusive service provision at FRC Logan, and potential outcomes for children and young people through active participation. The learnings were captured by the development of a framework for child-informed family dispute resolution practice. The paper discusses the move towards less-adversarial practice in family law, assessing parental capacity to include their child's participation, how child-informed practice can function effectively within the FRC context, the goals of the action research project, practitioner professional development, the factors that influenced improvements, and parents' views of the new approach.

Peer-reviewed papers from the FRSA 2016 National Conference: measuring success in the family and relationship sector for the wellbeing of children, families and communities.

Family & Relationship Services Australia
Deakin, ACT : FRSA, 2016
This document presents a selection of peer-reviewed papers from the 2016 national conference of Family & Relationship Services Australia (FRSA). The papers are expanded versions of accepted abstracts, which were then peer reviewed. The papers are: First 1000 days Australia: an Australian interpretation of the 1000 Days movement and measuring the impact on families, by Kerry Arabena, Rebecca Ritte, Georgina Sutherland; Male Models: an Aboriginal men's behavioural change program, by Trudy McNamara, Tanya Bloxsome, Justine Hodgson; First 1000 days: early intervention to support vulnerable families and their children, by Pauline Dixon; From research to practice: harnessing evidence for evaluating effectiveness in child informed and inclusive family dispute resolution, by Norma Williams; and Future of families: preparing for change, adapting through learning: family studies as a strategic choice for the future, by Jennifer StGeorge, Deborah Hartman.

'Flying over the radar' : changing practice to support children and families where a parent has a mental illness.

Cuff R and Morgan B
26 February 2015
This webinar will describe ways to foster systemic change in practice to improve outcomes for families where a parent has a mental illness. Australia is a leader in the field of bringing about broad systemic change in practice to improve outcomes for children and families where a parent has a mental illness. This population of children and families used to 'fly under the radar' of services, particularly adult mental health services. This webinar will describe the significant shift in thought leadership, policy and practice that has occurred to change service delivery and to promote systemic child and family inclusive approaches. The webinar will provide participants with an overview of the work undertaken at a national level to implement practice change and develop a wide range of resources for the workforce and families. The linkages between child outcomes and parent recovery will be highlighted, and evidence-based models for parents and families to support these vital relationships will be provided. Examples of changing practice within Victoria will also be presented, including useful models for supporting parent-child relationships in the context of parental mental illness.

Engaging fathers: evidence review

Fletcher R, May C, StGeorge J, Stoker L and Oshan M
Canberra : Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth, 2014.
Research has shown the important role of fathers for children's successful development, and professionals and policy makers are increasingly recognising the need to engage fathers in child and family services. This report reviews the international evidence on the knowledge and implementation support that is mostly likely to be effective in developing father-inclusive practice. Topics include facilitators and barriers to father-inclusive practice and lessons from evaluation studies.

Resourceful friends : an invaluable dimension in family inclusive child protection practice.

Thorpe R and Ramsden K
Children Australia v. 39 no. 2 Jun 2014: 65-73
In this article we illuminate the 'resourceful friends' model of community social work as it has been applied in current work in the Family Inclusion Network (FIN) in Townsville, Queensland. Reflections from both parents and supporting members of FIN illustrate its very successful use in this context. This way of working is assessed, particularly in relation to its place in affording an invaluable dimension in family inclusive child protection processes. In conclusion, the contribution to building social capital and promoting greater social justice is identified.

Family inclusive child protection practice : the history of the Family Inclusion Network and beyond.

Ainsworth F and Berger J
Children Australia v. 39 no. 2 Jun 2014: 60-64
This article records briefly the history of the Family Inclusion Network as an organisation that promotes family inclusive child protection practice. Since its inception in Queensland in 2006, Family Inclusion Network organisations have been formed elsewhere and now exist in Western Australia, South Australia, Victoria, Tasmania, Australian Capital Territory and New South Wales. In 2010, developments at a national level saw the formation of the Family Inclusion Network Australia. Most organisations are incorporated and some have achieved charitable status. Each organisation endorses a common set of aims and objectives. There are, however, differences in terms of whether state or territory organisations accept government funding or not, are staffed by professionals or rely entirely on volunteer personnel, and have a capacity or otherwise to provide direct casework services to parents. Some state organisations focus on information and advice services, and legislative and policy reform efforts. All have telephone advice lines and a webpage presence. This article also focuses on a code of ethics for child protection practice and on the contribution parents can make to child protection services, and their rights to do so.

Outcomes of child-inclusive mediation.

Bell F, Cashmore J, Parkinson P and Single J
International Journal of Law, Policy and the Family v. 27 no. 1 Apr 2013: 116-142
This article investigates the impact of child-inclusive mediation on parenting arrangements and dispute outcomes, drawing on a small qualitative study. It compares outcomes for 14 parents who had undertaken child-inclusive mediation and for 19 parents who had engaged in mediation without their children being involved, both at Family Relationship Centre, regarding the relationship with their ex-partner and likelihood of resolving the dispute. Though fewer of the child-inclusive group felt that mediation had helped them to resolve some or all of the issues that they went with or thought that their relationship with their ex-partner had improved as a consequence of the mediation, the parents reported that the experience was generally positive and that there were benefits from the involvement of children. The best predictor of dispute resolution overall was not the parents' mediation group, but their levels of acrimony, conflict, and cooperation.

Child protection in Family Relationship Centres : innovations in Western Australia.

Hannan J
Family Court Review v. 51 no. 2 Apr 2013: 268-277
This article describes a new model of child inclusive practice used in a Family Relationship Centre in Western Australia. Family Relationship Centres are well-placed to act as a referral and assessment point for families who might not otherwise come into contact with statutory child protection authorities, with many of the safety issues that present falling below the statutory threshold for child protection intervention.

An evaluation of Victoria Legal Aid's Kids Talk Program 2007-2010

Harris M
Melbourne, Vic. : Victoria Legal Aid, 2012.
Victoria Legal Aid introduced the Kids Talk Program in 2007 to increase parents' and family members' capacity and openness to understand children's views, concerns and wishes, as part of their Roundtable Dispute Management process. It is a child inclusive process, which means the child is directly involved without attending the RDM conference itself. Each case is carefully assessed for suitability, so Kids Talk only takes place in a small percentage of RDM conferences: in the 2007-2010 period, no more than 5.5% of RDM conferences in any one year included Kids Talk. This evaluation report investigates the strengths and weaknesses of Kids Talk as a child inclusive intervention, and whether it achieves its goals of improving parenting agreements, taking into account children's views and developmental needs, doing no harm, improving the post separation parental relationship, and producing child-focused outcomes. The evaluation draws on interviews with parents and other significant carers, lawyers, child consultants, chairpersons, and case managers. Recommendations for program development are presented.

Good practice - a statewide snapshot 2012

Victoria. Dept. of Human Services
Melbourne : Victorian Government Dept. of Human Services, 2012.
Released to mark Child Protection Week in 2012, this publication presents case studies that illustrate the ways in which child protection practitioners in Victoria make a difference in the lives of children and families. The case studies include descriptions of intervention programs provided by the Victorian Department of Human Services, in the areas of early intervention, family support, family violence, Father Inclusive Practice, therapeutic care, building professional skills and capacities, kinship care, connecting families, collaboration, and out of home care.

The inclusion of children in family dispute resolution in Australia : balancing welfare versus rights principles.

Henry P and Hamilton K
International Journal of Children's Rights v. 20 no. 4 Oct 2012: 584-602
This article investigates the impact of the direct participation of children in family separation mediation cases in Australia, drawing on a study of children and parents. It concludes that child inclusive practices must balance the right of children to be heard with the need for children to be protected in cases of family violence or conflict.

Child sensitive practices in parenting disputes : about time and about timing.

Moloney L
15-16 March 2012
In this opening address to the Child Inclusive Practice Forum, the author discusses issues of child sensitive practice in family law. He talks about some of the ways child sensitive work - such as child inclusive practice - can take us beyond the goal of simply knocking out an agreement about parenting times, and also about the issue of timing - especially about the question of which families we should not be working with at an early stage of the dispute.

Building bridges between and capacities within services.

White M
Brettig, Karl, ed. Sims, Margaret, ed. Building integrated connections for children, their families and communities. Newcastle upon Tyne, UK : Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2011. 9781443832779: 102-106
This book presents examples of promising implementation strategies in integrated family services in Australia. This chapter outlines the work of the Building Bridges Capacity Project, which is funded by the federal government to enhance the ability of adult services to provide child and family inclusive practice, and to enhance the capacity of adult and family services to work together.

Early intervention in New Zealand family court cases.

Boshier P, Taylor N and Seymour F
Family Court Review v. 49 no. 4 Oct 2011: 818-830
The New Zealand Family Court introduced the National Early Intervention Process (NEIP) case management model in 2010, to provide a more child-inclusive approach, to help reduce delays, and to help prevent the exacerbation of family disputes. NEIP features a triage model to assess and assign cases into standards and urgent pathways. This article introduces the new model and describes the development and history of the Family Court which has led to its development.

Building integrated connections for children, their families and communities

Brettig K and Sims M
Newcastle upon Tyne, UK : Cambridge Scholars Publishing, c2011.
This book examines how we can design better services for children and families. It is based on papers from the Children Communities Connections conference, which was held in Adelaide in 2010. Part one examines the foundations of family service design, with chapters including what the neurobiological evidence says about supporting families, the role of community development in supporting families, and developing integrated child and family communities. Part two presents case studies of promising programs, in the areas of supporting vulnerable children and their families; developing social, emotional and spiritual wellbeing in children; community development initiatives; emerging integrated child and family centre models; and system sustainability.

Innovations in practice : a safety assessment approach to child-inclusive family dispute resolution.

Petridis T and Hannan J
Journal of Family Studies v. 17 no. 1 Apr 2011: 36-43
This paper extends on existing models of child-inclusive family dispute resolution, as conducted in Family Relationship Centres. A safety assessment approach to this work has been developed in response to the complex client group presenting at Family Relationship Centres where child safety issues are commonplace. When the case is not suitable for dispute resolution due to safety concerns, the model proposes that children should still be supported through a safe consultation process, and feedback provided to the protective parent. The model highlights the need for Family Relationship Centres to develop the skills to screen and advocate for the child at risk, a philosophical commitment to hearing the voice of the child at risk, and the capacity to follow through with a timely intervention and referral.
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