Community engagement

A key strategy for improving outcomes for Australian families
CFCA Paper No. 39 – April 2016

Introduction

This paper begins by exploring the societal context that has led to the need for increased community engagement. The concept of "community" is then discussed to help further our understanding of community engagement as it applies to the Australian social service delivery system.

We discuss why community engagement is important for both families and service providers, and the need for such an approach to be embedded in the design of family and welfare services, particularly in relation to the existing evidence about the efficacy of the approach. A case study is presented to show how the approach works in practice, followed by a concluding discussion about how the community engagement approach might help service providers deliver improved outcomes to children and families.