In the realm of family dynamics and behaviour change, few initiatives have been as impactful as the Caring Dads program in Australia. This groundbreaking program has been making waves across the world for its innovative approach to addressing a deeply sensitive issue – assisting fathers who have used violence in rewriting their stories, to forge healthy relationships with their children. 

This intervention is underpinned by the belief that men who have used violence are capable of transformation and can become nurturing, responsible caregivers. By providing participants with a nonjudgmental, empathetic group setting for introspection and growth across 17 weeks, this approach paves the way for remarkable change. 

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Take the 2023 National Workforce Survey for Child, Parent and Family Mental Health and help shape child mental health planning and policy.

Emerging Minds is conducting the National Workforce Survey for Family, Parent and Child Mental Health again following the success of the inaugural survey in 2020-21. The survey will inform strategies and policy to meet the needs of health, social and community services workers across Australia, and support improved outcomes for infants, children and families. Complete the survey for your chance to win an iPad. There are 5 iPads to be won over two draws.  Be sure to complete the survey early for a chance in both draws. The survey closes on Wednesday, 15th November 2023. If you’re interested in learning more about the survey, the results from more than 1,500 workers who completed the 2020-21 National Workforce Survey are now available on the Emerging Minds website. You can also find free resources for enhancing practitioner learning and more.  

To complete the survey, click here

The ‘middle years’, or early adolescence (8–14 years), of a child’s life are a period of key developments in sexual maturity, the brain, social and emotional cognition and self-awareness. During the middle years, the influence of peer relationships on a young person’s social and emotional development also begins to intensify. Australian research indicates that although friendships are important to young people in this age group, they can also be a source of anxiety and stress. Therefore, it is important to understand what factors influence peer relationships in the middle years to be able to better support young people’s mental health, development and wellbeing.

This short article summarises key findings from a systematic review by Mitic and colleagues (2021) that looked at the determinants of supportive peer relationships in early adolescence.

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In Australia, Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander youth are over-represented at all stages of the child protection system. This includes over-representation among care leavers; approximately 1,265 First Nations youth aged 15–17 years exit out of home care (OOHC) annually, and this figure is rising (Productivity Commission, 2021). First Nations care leavers commonly face poor social, economic, and health outcomes. Inadequate and culturally insensitive services contribute to these poor outcomes. This resource is aimed at supporting front-line practitioners to:

Read Practice Guide here

This is Yoorrook’s second interim report. It considers systemic injustices in the child protection and criminal justice systems. It fulfils the requirement in the amended Letters Patent dated 4 April 2023 to deliver a second interim report by 31 August 2023.

A note on content: First People’s are advised that this report may contain photos, quotations and names of people who are deceased. This report discussed sensitive topics that some readers may find distressing. Yoorrooks urges you to consider how and when you read this report and what supports you might need.

Read report here

The Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) is leading a consortium research team, including the Centre for Excellence for Child and Family Welfare (the Centre), Drummond Street Services, the Centre for Innovative Justice (CIJ) and Tjallara Consulting. Commissioned by the Department of Social Services (DSS), this consortium is investigating workforce requirements for work with young people who are using violence.

We are conducting a nation-wide survey to gain insight into practitioners’ levels of experience, knowledge and confidence in responding to young people (12-18 years) who are using – or at risk of using – violence, either in the home against parents/carers/siblings or in their intimate partner relationships.

This survey is looking for respondents all over Australia who are involved in any type of direct service with children, young people and families. Even if you don’t work with young people using violence, we would still like to hear from you!

The survey will take around 11 minutes. The information you provide us will be de-identified and summarised in a report and submitted to DSS.

The survey will remain open until Thursday 7 September 2023.

Please contact Anagha Joshi (Australian Institute of Family Studies) if you would like further information about this project.

Shaping how organisations can best keep children and young people safe.

This is a crucial moment in history, as we acknowledge the past failures of institutions and adults in protecting the safety of children and young individuals.

Between 2021 and 2022, the Centre for Social Impact at the University of Western Australia conducted an impact evaluation of the Australian Childhood Foundation’s Safeguarding Services.

This research project was grounded in qualitative methods and involved collaborating with organisations that have partnered with the Foundation to enhance their capacity and foster a supportive environment for the well-being and safety of children and young people who engage in their services.

Read report here

One of the biggest challenges for people who most need social services is navigating a fragmented service system. Here we explore one potential solution, integrated child and family centres which ensure that children and families get what they need, where they need it.

Fragmented service delivery is a common problem across the social service sector. People’s lives are complex and the issues they face don’t necessarily fit into neat boxes. Government services, on the other hand, are delivered in siloes through individual contracts, resulting in multiple individual services with little connection between them.

Services such as child and family services, early child education, domestic violence, homelessness/ housing, health and mental health are all hampered when delivered in a fragmented way. Understanding the impacts of this and how to overcome them is important not only for those working in these systems, but the people designing and funding them as well.

Read full article here

From July 1, 2023:

The age of children supported under the early childhood approach will progressively change from 7 to include children younger than 9.

What the change means: Broadly, the change has been made to reflect international understandings of young children as those under 9 years of age. For some children the change will mean greater continuity of care in the first years of school as they remain with their Early Childhood Partner until age 9 rather than 7.

What the change doesn’t mean: Many professionals are aware that children under 7 can access the NDIS through the Early Childhood Approach without a formal diagnosis. There have been misunderstandings that the new age change will mean children may access the scheme in this way up until the age of 9. This is not the case. It is critical that children with no formal diagnosis are referred before their sixth birthday as they will not meet the NDIS developmental delay criteria beyond six years of age. There is no change to the NDIS eligibility requirements or the definition of developmental delay under the early intervention requirements (s25 of the NDIS Act).

For more information, visit the NDIS website or contact the Early Childhood Partner in your community.

Need help supporting a family through the NDIS process? Access an easy-to-read guide for professionals here.

WESNET have recently had enquires from concerned parents about how to keep children safer on their devices and online when using tech at school, but also using school-assigned devices at home to complete their school work.

Whilst there are more general concerns for keeping children safer online, there are also more specific and unique concerns about children using their technology within the context of post-separation co-parenting arrangements where there is or has been domestic abuse.

WESNET’s Tech Safety Team not only flesh out the issue but also share some practical and useful strategies and resources you can put into place if you or your clients have children and are currently in this situation.

Read the article here

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