Strengthening what works for children: Aligning target group, theory of change and program components to outcomes

Strengthening what works for children: Aligning target group, theory of change and program components to outcomes

Leah Bromfield, Mary Salveron and Jonathon Main

This webinar explained how funders, managers and practitioners can ensure their program's target group, activities and outcomes are in alignment.

Strengthening what works for children

This webinar was held on 24 May 2017.

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.

Our most vulnerable children and families need and deserve the best support. There are unanswered questions about what works, but also a lot that we do know.

Research has found that only programs with clear aims and objectives, clear mechanism of change consistent with a target population and their needs, clear program components/activities and outcomes are successful. However, in one international review, only 7 of the 52 evaluated programs identified had all of these features.

As programs without these features are less effective and may be harmful, action to address any mismatch in currently funded programs is crucial. However, evaluation and measurement of client outcomes can be expensive and time consuming.

The Australian Centre for Child Protection's theory of change and evidence matching process is an initial, rapid and cost-effective step to give funders, managers and practitioners the confidence that their program's target group, activities and outcomes are in alignment and matched to evidence. Governments are increasingly requiring this of funded programs.

This webinar explained the theory of change and evidence matching process. It also provided an opportunity to hear from service providers who have used the process and the insights they experienced as a result.

This webinar is an Expert Panel project dissemination activity.

The feature image is by Miles Tan, CC0 1.0 .

About the presenters

Leah Bromfield

Professor Leah Bromfield is Deputy Director, Australian Centre for Child Protection and one of Australia's foremost child protection researchers. Her research expertise is in issues affecting child protection systems, chronic maltreatment and cumulative harm. She works closely with state, national and international governments on establishing and implementing child welfare reforms, including the National Framework for Protecting Australia's Children. Leah is also Professorial Fellow to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and leads its extensive research program.

Mary Salveron

Dr Mary Salveron is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Australian Centre for Child Protection.  She recently completed a 3 year investigation into the Signs of Safety approach in Western Australia and its impact on children, parents, carers, practitioners and other partner organisations/agencies. Mary has over ten years’ experience in the fields of child protection and early childhood and undertaken research into factors that help and hinder the spread of innovations in child protection and research and evaluations with diverse populations. 

Jonathon Main

Jonathon Main is the Executive General Manager Policy and Programs at Relationships Australia South Australia. Jonathon is a qualified Social Worker with over 30 years experience in the provision of services to children and families with complex needs in both clinical and management roles in the health, welfare and non-government sectors.  The major focus of his work has been in provision of services that promote the healthy development of children, young people and families, and in community engagement programs that promote social inclusion and participation.