Improving outcomes for children in out-of-home care

In an expanded trial of the Quality Assurance Framework for Out-of-Home Care, the Parenting Research Centre is helping three Family and Community Services offices on the Mid-North Coast of New South Wales to trial the framework.

The approach focuses on using valid and reliable data to inform case planning and the provision of services to children and young people.

We are conducting the trial for the New South Wales Department of Family and Community Services with their services in Kempsey, Coffs Harbour and Port Macquarie. This work builds on the initial trial we began in September 2016 with Burrun Dalai Aboriginal Corporation, Mackillop Family Services and Key Assets Fostering.

The expanded trial includes tracking and monitoring case planning in order to enhance the wellbeing of children and young people in statutory out-of-home care. Identifying the impact of the framework on systems, processes and procedures will help the department implement the framework on a wider scale.

Information will be held centrally, via a Child Overview, giving caseworkers a more comprehensive picture of what is happening in a child’s life. This data will help guide practice and better identify specific areas of need. And it will provide a valid and reliable measure of outcomes for children and young people in statutory out-of-home care.

National workforce capacity building in children’s mental health

The Parenting Research Centre is delighted to be part of a major new program to support clinical and non-clinical professionals who work with children at risk of mental health difficulties.

The program has been funded by the Australian Government.

Emerging Minds will lead the partnership delivering the program, which also includes the Australian National University, the Australian Institute of Family Studies and the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners.

'We are delighted to bring our experience working with families to the task of supporting professionals in improving mental health outcomes for children,' said Parenting Research Centre CEO, Mr Warren Cann.

'This project will drive systems change and transform workforce practices in order to make a lasting, tangible and positive impact on the lives of many children.

'Partnerships are the key to driving improvements in practice and we are delighted to be a partner in this game-changing project,' he said.

Read the media release issued by the Australian Government

Quality screen time

New articles on are now available to help families strike the right balance with screen time.

Screens are part of our daily lives: watching TV and DVDs, playing computer games, using tablets and smartphones. With some planning, parents, carers and educators can ensure children’s screen time is quality time. There are benefits and risks to using these devices, so a healthy family lifestyle can include limits on daily screen time.

Read more on screen time.

New publication on Early Home Learning Study

The Early Home Learning Study (EHLS) was the precursor to smalltalk, an evidence-based parenting strategy that helps parents enhance the home-learning environment for their young children.

Prevention Science has published an article on the EHLS study and its findings: Impact of a Brief Group Intervention to Enhance Parenting and the Home Learning Environment for Children Aged 6–36 Months: a Cluster Randomised Controlled Trial

The EHLS study examined the effectiveness of an early home-learning intervention by using a rigorous cluster randomised controlled trial ‘in situ’. It was the first study of its kind in Australia and was conducted between 2009 and 2012. Over 2200 families experiencing disadvantage participated.

Now over 100 supported playgroup facilitators are delivering smalltalk across Victoria.

200 trained in Sweden, Norway next

Over 200 professionals in Sweden have been trained to deliver Parenting Young Children: a program developed by the Parenting Research Centre for parents with intellectual disability.

In 2016, 12 professionals in Norway were trained by two qualified Swedish trainers. And in 2017 and 2018 three more training events will be delivered in Norway.

The evidence-informed program helps parents strengthen their skills and confidence in the following areas:

  • basic child care skills
  • positive parent-child interactions
  • confidence in their ability to parent their children.

Parenting Young Children facts

  • Program translated into Swedish in 2011
  • Over 200 Swedish professionals trained
  • 2 Swedish trainers now fully qualified to deliver professional training
  • All trained professionals receive ongoing support from Swedish leaders, peer networks and Parenting Research Centre
  • Over 60 municipalities in Sweden offer the program to families
  • 12 professionals in Norway trained
  • 3 further training events scheduled for Norway in 2017 and 2018
  • New funding will help explore digitisation of the program in Norway and Sweden

The widespread implementation of Parenting Young Children in Sweden has been made possible through our collaboration with the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, Brock University in Canada, and the Samverkan-Utveckling-Föräldraskap Knowledge Centre (SUF Kunskapcentrum) disability support agency in Uppsala.

Funding for the project has been provided by the Swedish Government, with over 5 million Swedish Krona awarded in three separate grants from 2011 to 2016.

Read more about Parenting Young Children