Demonstrating the impact of a volunteer family support program: Insights from an RCT

Demonstrating the impact of a volunteer family support program: Insights from an RCT

Jayne Meyer Tucker, Rebekah Grace, Angela Styman and Joanna Schwarzman
11 May 2022

Hear the lessons learned and insights gained from the practitioners and evaluators involved in the Volunteer Family Connect program.

A young mother lovingly kisses the feet of her infant baby as her mother hugs her and watches from behind.

This webinar was held on Wednesday, 11 May 2022. 

A full recording of the webinar and related resources, including slides, audio and a transcript, will be published soon. Please subscribe to our newsletter to receive a notification when these resources are available.

Service providers dream of delivering programs responsive to community needs, having the resources to implement them properly, and then rigorously testing them to understand their impact on communities.

In this webinar, you will hear about such a program. Volunteer Family Connect (VFC) is a home visiting program for parents, delivered by trained volunteers. It was recently evaluated using a randomised control trial (RCT). This webinar will focus on:

  • Program innovation
  • Cross agency collaboration
  • Pragmatic RCT design
  • Managing a RCT in practice.

VFC was developed in collaboration between The Benevolent Society, Save the Children, Karitane and senior researchers from Western Sydney University.

Related resources


Featured image: GettyImages/Nikola Stojadinovic

About the presenters

Jayne Meyer Tucker

VFC Champion and Founder JMTinc 

My passion for volunteering and strong commitment for evidence informed practice comes from many decades of working in community/human services in both the northern and southern hemispheres. 

I am looking forward to sharing the experiences gained over the past decade of how to enable translational research at RCT level, maintain a long term constantly changing collaboration across many partners and implement these learnings during a global pandemic.

Rebekah Grace

Associate Professor Western Sydney University and Director of the Transforming early Education and Child Health (TeEACH) Research Centre at Western Sydney University and lead researcher on the ‘Volunteer Family Connect’ project.

My research is focused on the service and support needs of children and their families who experience adversity. I employ a cross-disciplinary, mixed-methods approach to research, and seek to move beyond the bounds of disciplinary silos to address complex challenges.

I am looking forward to sharing my experiences and insights into the conduct of a pragmatic RCT. The VFC project provides a great example of partnership, and the ways in which researchers and service organisations can work together to ensure impactful program delivery for families who experience adversity.

Angela Styman

Family Support Worker, Karitane

I am really looking forward to sharing my experience as a practitioner being involved in the RCT. It was not something I ever thought I would do and to be honest I was nervous about it. But it was well worth it. I have learned a lot and I feel more confident knowing the program we are delivering is really working for both volunteers and clients.

Joanna Schwarzman

Research Fellow, Child and Family Evidence team, AIFS

My career interests have focused on generating and using evidence in practice to more effectively address population health challenges. Over recent years, I have worked in government, non-government and research roles to help identify and overcome the challenges to evaluation and using evidence to inform program planning, decision making and organisational learning.

I am looking forward to hearing examples of how different practitioners and organisations are overcoming the challenges of embedding research evidence into their work.