Supporting child and family welfare

Family Preservation and Reunification

The FPR is an initiative funded by the Victorian government that aims to foster strong families with children who are safe and thriving and parents who are supported to create a safe and nurturing home environment.

MacKillop Family Services is delivering the program in nine rural and metro areas of Victoria.

While parent and child outcome measures are being sought, the program’s implementation is also being evaluated. This will enable an understanding of what works across contexts and what translates for sustainability. Long term, this smart use of implementation science will drive positive outcomes for families.

Project lead: Dr Heather Morris

Churn Within Australian Family Services

Churn, the persistent cycling of individuals and families in and out of family services, is a novel field of inquiry in the social care sector. The process of churn places a significant financial burden upon the family services system and has been associated with several negative consequences for the families who engage.

In partnership with the Department of Communities Tasmania, Baptcare, and Mission Australia, we aim to gain a collective understanding of churn within the context of Australian family services. Through stakeholder and service user engagement, this project will aim to generate consensus regarding the definition of churn, the causes of churn, the specific impacts associated with it, and recommendations for systemic change to address churn.

The insights we gain through this research will inform the development of interventions and policy changes that will be applied within the Australian family services system, with the ultimate goal of reducing the prevalence of churn, improving outcomes for families, and reducing the financial strain upon the system.

Project lead: Dr Renee O’Donnell

Sanctuary Model

The Sanctuary model is a trauma informed and responsive method designed to shift organisation culture to foster healing from traumatic events.

This approach is delivered across the MacKillop Family Services Organisation and has been embedded within their special schools.

Our three year evaluation is ongoing and mainly examines teacher and management level outcomes, with some parent and child findings being explored. This evaluation is using implementation science principles to uncover organisational, service and client factors that contribute to the successful roll out of Sanctuary.

Project lead: Dr Heather Morris