Support during COVID-19 survey: What you told us


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Content type
Short article

September 2020


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

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:

  1. the topics you were interested in knowing more about in relation to COVID-19
  2. the best way for us to deliver this information to you.

Who responded

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

Responded locations: WA 8.1%; SA 4.6%; NT 1.7%; Qld 16.8%; NSW 29.9%; ACT 5.3%; Vic 25.4%; Tas 5.4%

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

Respondent occupation types: Front-line practitioner 57.3%; Leader 28%; Educator 9.6%; Policy maker/reviewer 8.3%; Researcher/evaluator 4.9%; Other 12.4%

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).
Topics of interest: Family violence 57.1 (373); Mental health 55.9% (365); Child abuse and neglect 44.1% (288); Assessing community needs 33.7% (220); Online/telephone-based service delivery 33.5% (219); Program adaption and delivery 32.3% (212)

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 to receive info:1 Tips sheets, checklists, templates & guidelines for practice;2 Webinars;3 Short summaries of evidence & research;4 Electronic newsletters; 5 Drop-in style online platforms/communities of practice;6 longer form research 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:

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 <>.


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!