Preventing child sexual abuse in OOHC

The Royal Commission has released a report on the effectiveness of out-of-home care (OOHC) practices in preventing child sexual abuse. The report, prepared by the Parenting Research Centre and the University of Melbourne, makes valuable findings which will be used to shape the Royal Commission’s final recommendations.

Royal Commission CEO Phillip Reed explained: “The Royal Commission was set up to investigate where systems have failed to protect children; a core area of our work is also recommending ways to improve them,” he said.

The report examines practices that help prevent child sexual abuse in out-of-home care, and the evidence around ways to reduce child-on-child sexual abuse, as well as abuse perpetrated by caregivers. However, it concludes that there are very few studies that have tested which practices or types of programs lead to decreased rates of sexual abuse of children.

“This research, combined with the submissions made to the Royal Commission’s 2013 issues paper Prevention of Sexual Abuse in Out-of-Home Care, and a public roundtable in April 2014, are important sources of information leading up to the public hearing on this matter in March this year,” Mr Reed said.

Key findings include:

  • There is very limited, rigorous evidence available about the effectiveness of practices or programs that prevent child sexual abuse in out-of-home care.
  • Most of the research available relates to training, support and/or treatment for sexually abusive and/or ‘acting out’ children in out-of-home care and their caregivers.
  • The major focus on preventing child sexual abuse in out-of-home care should be on efforts to prevent sexual abuse between children rather than by caregivers, since child-child sexual abuse likely represents the vast majority of child sexual abuse in out-of-home care.

Read the full report in our resources section.

Review of our 2013-14 work now available

In 2013-14 we continued to work in ways that bridge the gap from science to service in the fields of parenting and parenting support. Through a mixture of continuing projects, significant new work and ongoing recognition of the organisation’s knowledge exchange and implementation capabilities we continued delivering on our strategic goals: 

  1. Supporting families in parenting their children  
  2. Enhancing the capacity of child and family services  
  3. Informing policy and practice
  4. Building scientific knowledge of parenting to drive innovation

We thank our passionate Board and Human Research Ethics Committee members, tireless staff and inspiring partners for their contributions to our achievements in 2013-14 and their shared commitment to helping parents raise happy, healthy children.

Read our Year in Review 2013-14 in our publications section.

Out-of-home care: evidence on effectiveness

How effective is out-of-home care (OOHC)? There is growing focus on programs and services that provide OOHC to children with a view to understanding the effectiveness of interventions available. In this context we were commissioned by the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Government to review the evidence and help guide its ongoing efforts to improve outcomes for children and youth in OOHC.

Our resulting report Evidence review: Analysis of the evidence for out-of-home care examines the evidence for effective approaches to supporting OOHC interventions, such as kinship and foster care. We reviewed 58 studies reporting 35 interventions that work across the continuum of care and found a number of important findings, including: 

  • 12 interventions were identified as ‘Effective’ based on the criteria that they demonstrated improved outcomes in at least one randomised control trial and at least 6 months after the intervention was completed.
  • Multidimensional Treatment Foster Care received the highest rating of ‘Well Supported’. It was found to demonstrate the best evidence for improving psychosocial outcomes and systems level outcomes for youth with difficult behaviour problems.
  • Kinship care was found to be either favourable or no worse than non-related care across various child and system-level outcomes.
  • There is little evidence for independent living skills programs for youth who are ageing out of foster care.

Our partner in this project was the Department of Social Work at The University of Melbourne.

Read the full report in our resources section.

New look for Raising Children Network

The Australian parenting site www.raisingchildren.net.au has just refreshed its look! The new design makes the features more accessible and more user friendly.
Enhanced design features give quick links to an array of resouces including videos, interactive tools and guides, and the most popular articles. The new design will also make the site more accessible to a wider range of people with disabilities, including blindness and low vision, deafness and hearing loss, learning difficulties, cognitive limitations, limited movement and speech disabilities.

With another award of 'Outstanding Achievement' just recently announced for the free app for parents of children with ASD and disability, parents and professionals can now be even more confident that information on the Raising Children Network is of high quality and trustworthy. The award was announced on 7 November by the Interactive Media Awards in the Healthcare section.

Go to www.raisingchildren.net.au

 

Think Outcomes conference underway

The Think Outcomes conference is now in full swing at Cockle Bay Wharf, Sydney. As a proud promotional partner for the conference, we invite you to learn more about how it can benefit your work. For minute-by-minute updates and insights follow twitter #outcomes2014.

This forum is designed to challenge thinking and develop a plan of action for the future of social outcomes in Australia. If you are a professional who wants to influence debate, develop capability and enable change, this is a conference not be missed. Keynote speakers, Tris Lumley as Director of Development at New Philanthropy Capital, and Debra Natenshon as Founder DBN & Associates, will open a program that will explore what meaningful social change can emerge from measuring outcomes.

Analysts, program directors and managers, academics, researchers, strategic leaders and operational managers from all tiers of government, not-for-profit and philanthropic organisations, business and wider social economy will come together to:

  • gain insights into the latest thinking on outcomes measurement from Australian and International experts and learn how to put those principles into practice within their organisations
  • learn from exemplary case studies and build an action plan for social outcomes in interactive and hands-on workshops
  • achieve a deeper understanding of what’s needed to start effecting real outcomes-based change in their organisations.

Presented by the Centre for Social Impact (CSI), the Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth (ARACY) and the Social Impact Measurement Network Australia (SIMNA).

Visit the Think Outcomes website for more information or follow event news on twitter #outcomes2014.