Support during COVID-19 survey: What you told us
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Mitchell Bowden, Shae Johnson
CFCA and Expert Panel produce resources to support you to make evidence-informed decisions about better outcomes for children and families.
We know you’ve had to rapidly and significantly change how you work this year in response to COVID-19. During this time, we wanted to understand your needs in order to adjust the support we provide, ensuring you have access to relevant evidence. To do this, in May we produced the Child, family and community welfare survey: Support during COVID-19.
This short article provides a brief summary of what you told us and how we have used this information to support you.
The survey was administered online from Friday 15 May until Wednesday 3 June 2020, and was promoted through various newsletters, the AIFS website and social media. We asked two broad categories of questions to help us understand:
- the topics you were interested in knowing more about in relation to COVID-19
- the best way for us to deliver this information to you.
A total of 653 responses were received from across all states and territories; the greatest number of responses coming from New South Wales professionals (29.9%), and the least number coming from Northern Territory professionals (1.7%). The proportions shown in the figure below reflect the general distribution of Australia’s population and our sector’s workforce.
Respondent locations of work
Responses came from across the child, family and community welfare sector, including professionals working in service delivery, policy, research and evaluation (see figure below).
Respondent occupation types
What you told us
Topics you were interested in
We provided a list of 16 topics and asked you to select any or all that you wanted to know more about, specifically in relation to COVID-19. The topic list was created based on anecdotal evidence about emerging needs, as well as the topics associated with CFCA and Expert Panel’s frequently accessed resources.
- More than half of you were interested in learning more about family violence (57.1%) and mental health (55.9%).
- Each of the top six topics were selected by over a third of you and these topics generated over half (52%) of the total selections (see graphic below).
How you want to receive information
We provided six options for delivering evidence-based information to you in the context of COVID-19 and asked you to rank them in order of your preference. For the overwhelming majority, your top preferences were for short, easily digestible resources and your lowest preference was for longer-form written reports.
How we have used this information
Based on these results, we have increased our focus on producing webinars. Many of you may have attended the webinars we ran in June, July and August on family violence and mental health. We plan to continue this focus with a series of upcoming webinars on child abuse and neglect, alcohol and other drug use, gambling, family violence and mental health. These webinars will incorporate COVID-19 research, where available.
We have also produced a number of shorter-form resources specific to COVID-19, based on your topics of interest:
- Helping children in care stay in contact with their birth families during COVID-19
- Conducting a needs assessment in a time of rapid change
- Assessing rapid service changes
- Documentation tips for monitoring and evaluation
We have also continued to share up-to-date information from evidence-informed and evidence-based sources about COVID-19 and its implications for policy and practice through CFCA News <https://aifs.gov.au/cfca/news-discussion>.
The CFCA and Expert Panel teams have valued the opportunity to hear from you and understand how we can support you to continue making evidence-informed decisions during this time.
We will continue to use what you told us to guide the content and resources we produce and the way we deliver them to you. We also intend to ask you again about your needs and what other support we could provide.
We would like to thank everyone who completed our survey. For those who were not able to participate, we encourage you to get in touch!