What is child-focused supervision in adult-focused services and how does it work?

What is child-focused supervision in adult-focused services and how does it work?

Pam Rycroft and Dan Moss
26 February 2020

This webinar discussed child-focused supervision practices and initiatives to support child-focused practice in adult services.

Family in the park

Practitioners face a number of challenges when talking with parents about how their children's mental health and wellbeing may be affected by the issues they are seeking or need support for. These challenges may mean that child-focused conversations are not always evident in practice, despite clear intentions, and that possible concerns about children’s wellbeing are not responded to.

Staff need to be supported by robust organisational processes and practices that plan, monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of child-focused practice. Supportive, accountable and reflective supervision processes are an essential, but sometimes elusive, element in supporting staff to develop child-focused competencies.

This webinar explored child-focused supervision practices, and presented other initiatives used by managers, supervisors and practitioners in creating an organisational context to support child-focused practice in adult services. This webinar assisted practitioners who work with parents in adult-focused services through:

  • describing what characterises child-focused supervision practices and the responsibilities of organisations to support these
  • outlining practitioner competencies that enable child-focused practice
  • highlighting a range of innovative and achievable processes that support an organisation’s commitment to child-focused practice
  • exploring some of the challenges that may arise in the context of the supervision relationship when exploring child-focused practices in adult services.

Related resources


This webinar was co-produced by CFCA and Emerging Minds in a series focusing on children’s mental health. They are working together as part of the Emerging Minds: National Workforce Centre for Child Mental Health, which is funded by the Australian Government Department of Health under the National Support for Child and Youth Mental Health Program.

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About the presenters

Pam Rycroft

Pam trained as a psychologist, specialised in family therapy in the mid 1980s, and joined The Bouverie Centre after having worked in mainstream psychiatry. She has published on her work in the areas of single session work, grief and families, grief and mental illness, the impact of suicide, engaging workers in family work, and on the place of theory in practice. Pam has held a central role in developing and teaching Bouverie's six-day clinical supervision training program. She also developed a series of online modules on supervision as part of the Statewide Supporting Practice Leaders (SPLice) project in Victoria. Her own experience in supervision began with 'Bug-in-the-ear supervision' in the early 1980s. She has been offering live and reported supervision to individuals and groups since the mid-1980s. It continues to be her passion.

Dan Moss

Dan is the Workforce Development Manager at Emerging Minds. Prior to this role, he worked as Assistant Director, Performance, Reporting and Evaluation at the Department for Child Protection, SA. In this role he worked closely with the Early Intervention Research Directorate to explore the social determinants of child disadvantage and child protection involvement. Previously, Dan worked for Uniting Communities for 15 years, as a practitioner, supervisor and senior manager in a range of services with children, parents and families dealing with the effects of family violence, child sexual abuse, mental health conditions and drug and alcohol use. As a practitioner, Dan had a strong interest in narrative and strength-based engagement strategies with children, parents and families.

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