This article outlines some issues and common challenges that require careful thought when planning an evaluation of a program targeting Indigenous people. Sections include: The need for outcome evaluations; Evaluation: the basics; Indigenous community involvement; Choosing an evaluation method; Adapting evaluation methods and measures; and Reporting. Examples from Ninti One, Kids Caring for Country, and Families and Schools Together (FAST) NT are included to illustrate themes.
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The Commonwealth Department of Social Services aims to improve the lifetime wellbeing of people and families through its range of policies, programs, and payments. This article highlights some of the ways the Department is collecting and using data to improve service design and delivery.
Supported playgroups have been operating for many years in Australia, despite the absence of strong empirical evidence for their effectiveness in supporting vulnerable families. This article assesses the evidence on the benefits of supported playgroups for parents and children and the factors important to their operation. It also considers their role as a 'soft entry point' to other services, and whether - and how - they assist families to transition out of the playgroup.
In 2014, the Australian Government Department of Social Services commissioned the establishment of a panel of experts to help service providers to deliver evidence-based programs and practices in the family support sector - the Expert Panel Project. Now that the Project is half-way through its 5-year term, this article reviews progress to date and some of the benefits and challenges of the process so far. Particular reference is made to programs under the Government’s Communities for Children Facilitating Partners initiative.
These four short practitioner profiles explore how evidence is being generated and used by community service organisations in the child and family welfare sector. These experts (from metropolitan and regional organisations around Australia) reiterate how an evidence base is essential to a detailed understanding of their clients’ needs and to choosing the right interventions. Their insights are important to the work of policy-makers and researchers.
In this article, Commissioner and Justice Jennifer Coate describes the aims and work of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, including its terms of reference, approaches to information gathering, research program, the issue of disclosure, and the Royal Commission's goal to produce recommendations that are actually implementable. Already, the Royal Commission's research has provided a strong evidence base for reform.
In this article, based on his keynote address given at the 16th Australian Institute of Family Studies Conference, Professor John Lynch considers evidence-based policy-making from the perspective of an epidemiologist. Professor Lynch describes recent evaluations of several early childhood programs from Australia and overseas, and concludes with recommendations for getting "good-enough" evidence.
Two-generation programs provide coordinated services to both parents and children - for example, early childhood education complemented with a parenting skills program. In this article, based on his keynote address given at the 16th Australian Institute of Family Studies Conference, Distinguished Professor Greg Duncan looks at the potential of two-generation programs to benefit families - such as by closing the school achievement gap between children of high and low socio-economic status or reducing 'toxic stress' in the home.
Overviews the increasing policy and practice focus on the need to better understand the effects of social services on families. Hand highlights how governments across Australia are increasingly making data collection and evaluation part of their conditions for funding programs and individual services. The article also discusses the contested nature of "evidence" and future directions for program evaluation.
Responsible gambling codes of conduct: Lack of harm minimisation intervention in the context of venue self-regulation
This paper focuses on venue adherence to active strategies that support responsible gambling