Applying community capacity-building approaches to child welfare practice and policy

Applying community capacity-building approaches to child welfare practice and policy

Shaun Lohoar, Rhys Price-Robertson and Lalitha Nair

CFCA Paper No. 13 — April 2013
Applying community capacity-building approaches to child welfare practice and policy

Key messages

It is increasingly recognised that the welfare of children and families cannot be separated from the health of the community in which they live.

However, much child welfare practice focuses on individual children and families, with limited resources or capacity devoted to influencing the structural, community-level factors that impact on children's welfare.

Community capacity-building is an approach that attempts to increase a given community's capacity to solve collective problems. It aims for "grassroots", "bottom-up", and sustainable solutions to problems.

The National Framework for Protecting Australia's Children 2009-2020 and the Communities for Children initiative incorporate some of the principles of community capacity-building approaches.

There are many examples of individual service providers who have strengthened community capacity through their work with children and families. This paper provides examples of such practices, in the hope of inspiring innovative approaches to child and family welfare practice and policy in Australia.

Can insights from the field of community capacity-building improve child welfare practice and policy in Australia? This paper explores this question by outlining the concept of community capacity, and uses real-life examples to illustrate the ways in which service providers might apply community capacity-building approaches in their work with children and families.

Authors and Acknowledgements

Shaun Lohoar and Rhys Price-Robertson are Senior Research Officers and Lalitha Nair is a Research Officer with the Child Family Community Australia information exchange at the Australian Institute of Family Studies.

The authors wish to acknowledge the valuable contribution of Simon Schrapel of Uniting Communities, Uniting Care Wesley Adelaide and Myfanwy McDonald of the Centre for Community Child Health (CCCH). Appreciation is also extended to Jacqui Stewart, Vicki-Anne Ware and Ken Knight of the Australian Institute of Family Studies.

Publication details

CFCA Paper
No. 13
Published by the Australian Institute of Family Studies, April 2013.
15 pp.
ISSN: 
2200-4106
ISBN: 
1400129989

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