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

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

Jessica Cocks

This webinar discussed research on international family inclusion initiatives in child welfare and how they can be applied in Australia.

A family in a group therapy setting

This webinar was held on Wednesday, 24 October 2018. 

A full recording of this webinar is available on our YouTube Channel.

The audio, transcript and presentation slides are available under Event Resources on this page.

A list of resources related to this topic is available on our post-webinar forum.

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 presented 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 challenged dichotomised thinking about parents and children in child protection, and argued for a reconceptualisation of family inclusion that recognises and addresses the social context of child removal. It also discussed 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.

About the presenters

Jessica Cocks

Jessica Cocks is a social worker and researcher with over 25 years’ experience in child and family practice including out-of-home care. She is the national practice lead for children, young people and families at Life Without Barriers. Jessica is the founding President of Family Inclusion Strategies in the Hunter, a parent and worker co-led organisation based in New South Wales, which promotes family inclusion and parent-led change in the child protection system. In 2018, Jessica completed a Churchill Fellowship researching family inclusion in child welfare in the USA, Canada, Norway and the UK.