Families and Children Expert Panel

Building Capacity of Service SectorThe Expert Panel Project funded by the Federal Government through the Department of Social Services responds to requests from Families and Children Activity service providers for support to plan and implement programs, evaluate outcomes. Also to share the results with others, in order to improve outcomes for families and children in Australia.

Services offered by CFRE to Family Service Agencies:

  • Consultancy Support: Tailored support to Family Service agencies seeking to build their capacity to plan for, and implement, evidence-based programs or to conduct outcome evaluations of their programs;
  • Evaluation Projects: CFRE will undertake evaluation projects to evaluate family, relationship and child and adolescent programs or services. CFRE has developed evaluation skills, methods and protocols relevant and appropriate to Family Service agencies;
  • Workshops: CFRE offer a range of workshops for Family Service agencies, on Program Planning, Implementation of Evidence-based Programs, and Outcome Measurement & Evaluation, with a view to advocating for and encouraging effective family practice;

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Our team has high level skills, experience and extensive publication using systematic literature review and meta-analysis to determine and evaluate the evidence-base regarding different intervention types. We also have strong capacity to undertake comprehensive and rigorous international literature reviews for participant programs in a short time-frame, including where evidence is scarce or difficult to obtain. Where there is not yet systematically implemented or evaluated programs, there are other interventions identified as promising, early limited evidence-base or on sound theoretical presuppositions such as targeting of known risk factors that we can offer expert sector guidance. Additionally our team also has extensive experience in conducting Delphi studies – which result in expert consensus on interventions for action.CFRE’s deploys Communities That Care (CTC) Ltd with US national licensing rights. CTC is an evidence-based whole-of-community model to prevent health and social problems and promote healthy development among young people (Hawkins, 1999). The CTC process assists communities to develop and maintain: clear organisation structures; competence in planning and implementing effective prevention strategies and; advocacy to redeploy funding into effective prevention strategies. The model undertakes community profiling regarding risk and protective factors, develops collaborative cross-sectoral partnerships, and matches and supports implementation of interventions from a suite of evidence-based programs. CTC methods was used in HNS and IYDS (longitudinal Australian national datasets regarding child and family development) and used in prevention planning across 30 Australian communities.

We also use a whole-of-agency implementation of a family services public health and early intervention framework/model to achieve population-level improvements in family well-being and outcomes for children. To achieve these outcomes, CFRE has utilised implementation science, and in particular the NIRN Implementation Framework to guide organisational change and to achieve key competency, organisational and leadership drivers to ensure effective implementation. The process has occurred over a number of years and has included the need to identify theoretical frameworks, select/develop evidence-informed interventions, identify process and population outcomes (Exploration and Adoption); to organisational restructure, development of a purpose-built data management system, revision of policy and procedures, identification of fidelity markers, adaptation of supervision methods, articulation of practitioner competencies (Installation Phase); and development of a management charter, adjustment of caseloads, improvement performance management strategies, and installing continuous quality improvement measures (Initial Implementation). We have extensive experience and commitment to strong and effective design, implementation and research-based practice within a rigorous risk and protective framework. This experience has resulted in canvassing numerous requests over the years from a diverse range of services nationally for implementation support and guidance. Our willingness and experience in offering support and sharing knowledge has given us a strong and credible national reputation, including with the Department who refer a number of agencies for implementation, intervention design and applied research support and training.

If you would like to find out more about how The Expert Panel Project can provide support to your Agency, please contact us:

Tel: (03) 9663 6733

Email: drummondsectorsupport@ds.org.au

Consultancy Services

drummond street services and Stepfamilies Australia have an ongoing collaboration with Deakin University in family research, program development and evaluation. Our consultancy services operates out of CFRE and aims at first reviewing and then developing a tailored program that builds capacity to implement and evaluate evidence based programs and outcomes in your organisation. We will conduct an evidence audit and then co-produce and co-design a program logic that fits with your agency.

If you would like to find out more about how The CFRE can provide support to your Agency, please contact us:

Tel: (03) 9663 6733

Professional Training

We offer professional training to facilitate a range of programs for families that aim to build capacity and support evidence based practice and negotiate the various transitions across the family life course.

Our industry training packages are designed to share experience and research with allied professions. We offer a broad selection of professional development sessions to workers in the health/welfare and family relationship fields such as:

  • What the family?! – supporting the transition to parenthood & early years (prices and packages available here)
  • Changing & Blended Families – supporting families as they negotiate major changes such as separation and divorce/ forming of a stepfamily (prices and packages available here)
  • Strengthening Families – whole of family approach to family mental health.
  • Queerspace – queer specific responses to family mental health & wellbeing
  • Parenting – seminar and groups designed to educate parents/carers around common parenting issues including (but not limited to) children who worry/ teenagers/ feisty children / raising happy, heathy kids etc. Click here to look at all our parenting courses which we also run as train the trainer programs for individuals or your agency

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We include screening and assessment tools, tailored feedback and evaluation tools for facilitators as well as accompanying resources for your participants. Our resource packages are comprehensive and support professionals to confidently approach group work with families and individuals from a diverse range of backgrounds.Our commitment to working with academic partners to develop Family Intervention education for the sector means that we can provide training for professionals based on most topics relating to community, health, relationships and families, with training suited to the needs of your organisation. Our qualified and experienced team includes: family educators, psychologists, social workers, counsellors, family therapists, youth workers and community development professionals. We develop curriculum and provide professional development to a range of workers in the family services sector and beyond.

Our trainers have practical workplace experience, teach in a range of graduate and post graduate academic programs and are registered trainers with The Victorian Health Promotion Foundation (VicHealth) and beyondblue.

Get in touch with us to ensure a high quality, good value and effective training response tailored to suit your organisation.

Tel: (03) 9663 6733

Email: drummondsectorsupport@ds.org.au

Previous Capacity Building Projects

One of the key areas that we provide support for agencies is to build their capacity to make strategic decisions, monitor the quality and progress of their services and programs, as well as evaluate the impact of their work. This includes training and mentoring in program design, planning and evaluation. Examples of our previous projects in this area are provided below.

Merri Health Environmental Scan 2017

Merri Health is a community health organisation that provides a diverse range of services in health and wellbeing across the life course. The leaders of the organisation had identified an opportunity to consider their position and sustainability in the face of considerable uncertainty and reform in the human services and welfare sectors. CFRE were requested to provide a broad, environmental scan outlining the key federal and state policies and reform agendas, along with key health and social data applicable to Merri Health’s existing and future service scope. The aim of this work was to guide Merri Health’s approach to current service delivery and programming, along with identifying areas of opportunity. The report provided was used to guide and inform the development of the agency’s next strategic plan.

Communities for Children Capacity Building Project 2016 – 2017

CFRE was requested by the Department of Social Services (DSS) to increase the capacity of fifteen remote and regional Communities for Children (CfC) service delivery agencies in remote and rural communities to use and generate evidence. CFRE designed a training workshop on program planning and evaluation with a corresponding workbook and resources. This workshop included program logics and evaluation planning for each project with approximately 105 workshop participants. Following the workshops specific projects were provided with support to gather evidence for their approach and theory of change, as well as implement an evaluation of their project. The training and follow-up support was designed using evaluation capacity building models, adult learning principles, as well as participatory approaches through a co-design/co-production model.

This project has resulted in a number of projects being assessed by the Australian Institute of Family Studies for inclusion on the Child Family Community Australia (CFCA) information exchange portal. Several of these programs have already been approved in the category of Promising Programs and others approved at the Emerging Programs category to undergo future program evaluation. Ten agencies have requested further support from CFRE following this project.

Some of the themes across the programs we have supported include:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander pedagogies and child development programs that include on-country visits and learning traditional languages and/or practices.
  • School readiness and transition programs specific to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children using protective factors such as cultural safety, learning traditional languages and/or practices in a school setting and/or a neutral setting linked to the environment.
  • Universal childhood nutrition and child development programs.
  • Parenting/family/social support programs for culturally and linguistically diverse populations and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations.
  • Educational programs for children and young people around personal safety, respect, empathy and compassion, including skill development in social and emotional learning using the arts.

At the conclusion of this project we submitted recommendations to DSS to assist them develop the inclusiveness and flexibility of their policies around evidence-based practices and proceed towards community level outcomes.

Cairns South Communities for Children capacity building 2016-2017

Mission Australia is the Facilitating Partner of the Cairns South Communities for Children. CFRE provided a one-day capacity building workshop on program planning and evaluation for this agency and their Community Partners. This workshop focused on the steps in developing a program, in particular focussing on planning and documenting program activities and evaluating program outcomes. The agencies worked on their own projects to develop a project logic over the day. One agency also received further support in reviewing and providing feedback on their proposed program submission for consideration for the Child Family Community Australia (CFCA) information exchange portal under the evidence-based requirements.

South East Tasmania Communities for Children capacity building 2016-2017

The Salvation Army is the Facilitating Partner of the South East Tasmania Communities for Children program. CFRE provided a two-day capacity building workshop on program planning and evaluation for this agency and their Community Partners. The workshop focused on community needs assessment, program development, implementation and evaluation skills.  Agencies used their own current programs as material to embed their learning, developing draft project logics and evaluation plans, as well as other supporting resources.  Two Community Partner agencies also received ongoing support in reviewing and providing feedback on proposed submission for their programs to be considered by the Child Family Community Australia (CFCA) information exchange portal as Emerging or Promising programs.

Townsville West Communities for Children capacity building 2016 -2017

The Smith Family is the Facilitating Partner of the Townsville West Communities for Children program. CFRE provided a two-day capacity building workshop on program planning and evaluation for this agency and their four Community Partners. This two-day workshop focused on the steps in developing a program from identifying the community needs, addressing key causes, planning the program activities and evaluating the program outcomes. The agencies worked on their own projects to develop a project logic and evaluation plan by the end of the two days. Two agencies received further support following the workshops.

Port Augusta Communities for Children capacity building 2016-2017

UnitingCare Wesley Country SA (UCWCSA) is the Facilitating Partner of the Port Augusta Communities for Children. CFRE provided a two-day capacity building workshop on program planning and evaluation for this agency and their four Community Partners. This two-day workshop focused on the steps in developing a program from identifying the community needs, addressing key causes, planning the program activities and evaluating the program outcomes. The agencies worked on their own projects to develop a project logic and evaluation plan by the end of the two days. One agency received further support in program logic and evaluation plan development, fidelity measures and for a submission to the Child Family Community Australia (CFCA) information exchange portal for Emerging Programs category.

Children & Parenting Support Services Capacity Building 2015 – 2016

CFRE was funded by the Department of Social Services to support agencies delivering Children and Parenting Support Services with program planning, implementation and outcomes measurement. Each of the 24 agencies involved received a one or two-day tailored on-site workshop on program logic and outcomes measurement, as well as the option of attending a data analysis workshops held in a central location. In total, there were approximately 159 participants in the workshops. Follow-up off-site consultancy support was then provided to these agencies, such as assistance with a program logic, defining objectives, assistance sourcing and/or developing outcome measures, data collection methods, data recording and management.

At the end of the project, participants reported an increase in confidence and capacity to undertake program planning and outcomes measurement tasks. The main benefits participants reported included an increased capacity to use evaluation, develop program aims and objectives, as well as source evidence and outcome measures. Six agencies requested further support following the project. This has included monitoring and evaluation frameworks, community profiling, facilitation for strategic service delivery, development of evaluation tools and mentoring. We presented the outcomes of this work at the Australian Institute of Family Studies Conference in 2016.

Mobile Childhood and Parenting Support 2015 – 2016

The CFRE team provided program planning and evaluation support to a mobile early childhood and parenting support program in north eastern Tasmania. Following a review of program documentation, CFRE supported program staff to map their suite of programs and consider the benefits of developing a framework to evaluate diverse services, including possible data sources, methods and tools. CFRE delivered an on-site tailored workshop on program logic development, including articulating the evidence-base, identifying core intervention components, and identifying measureable outcomes and performance indicators. A workbook was provided, which included further information on conducting a community needs analysis, identification of suitable evidence-based programs and practice and ensuring fidelity through program documentation, staff training and fidelity measurement.

The agency reported that following the workshop and follow-up support, they have refined their program logic, which clearly articulates outcomes for the program. This has been well received by their funding body, who has referred other agencies to them for support with program logic design. They have found the documentation useful for communicating the program within the organisation and with community partners.

The agency reported that the support helped them to reflect and obtain a ‘big picture’ understanding of their program, particularly because their consultant took an inquisitive approach to the work, and acted as a critical friend rather than being overly directive or prescriptive. In addition, the consultant drew upon the experiences of other organisations who have overcome similar challenges with program planning and evaluation. The opportunity to received on-site and in-person support was particularly appreciated by this rural agency.

Regional Parenting Service Support 2015 – 2016

The CFRE team provided support to a regional parenting service that provides support to newly arrived families and parents from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. CFRE designed and delivered two on-site tailored workshops on evidence-based program planning and implementation, outcome measurement, data management and data analysis. In addition, our consultants provided offsite support in the form of program review and feedback, advice on the selection of outcome measurement, data management and implementation.

CFRE followed up with this agency after six months and they reported that they had begun a selection process for outcome measurement in consultation with community partners and whilst being mindful of the cultural and literacy needs of their clients. They were now in a position to pilot one standardised outcomes measurement with a group of clients. They reported that they continue to build the capacity of staff to understand the value of measuring outcomes, not only for reporting purposes, but as an inherently valuable activity for the organisation and staff.

Parenting and Playgroups Support 2015 – 2016

The CFRE team provided consultancy support to a program that provides parenting groups and playgroups with culturally and linguistically diverse communities in Melbourne. CFRE designed and provided two tailored half-day workshops covering an introduction to evidence-based program planning and implementation, and defining program outcomes. The program team was guided through the key elements of a community needs analysis, evidence-based programming, program logics and outcomes measurement. Follow-up support was provided to support the team to develop their own program logic and begin to move towards the use of standardised outcome measures.

The agency reported that following the workshops they have used the program logic developed during the workshop in their program planning and decision-making. When making some difficult decisions about whether to continue to implement a program that was not receiving the intended results, they used their program logic outcomes to inform their decision. The team continues to find outcome measurement a challenge, particularly in the context of providing soft-entry and drop-in style programs, but are enthusiastic in working towards incorporating outcome measurement into reporting frameworks and systems.

The agency reported that the tailored on-site workshops were useful in grappling with new information quickly and the follow-up support enabled them to quickly apply learnings to their program. They reported that the workbook developed and provided by CFRE has been an invaluable reference tool to have on hand.

Family Dispute Resolution Service Support 2015 – 2016

An organisation that provides Family Dispute Resolution (counselling and mediation) services requested support to improve how they measure the outcomes of their work. The organisation were looking for help to select suitable outcome measures and performance indicators, as well as collect data from clients with appropriate methods.

CFRE provided training in outcome evaluation to program staff, which supported the organisation to define the outcomes of their service, begin to design a program logic and surface the theory and evidence behind their work.  After the training workshop, CFRE then worked with the organisation to finalise and implement the program logic and evaluation plan, as well as the survey tools that the agency had developed. In addition, agency staff attended a CFRE workshop on Data Analysis.

Six months following the completion of the work with CFRE, the agency reported that they had improved the type of information gathered at intake for counselling clients, using a standardised measure and were starting to collect post-service data. The next step they see is to create a system to support the organisation to manage and analyse the data they collect. They have continued to develop a system to explore outcome measures relevant to mediation and were interested in further developments on this within the sector.

Rural Children’s Service Support 2015 – 2016

A non-government health service in rural Queensland engaged CFRE for support with their programs for children from ‘at-risk’ communities. They requested training in program design, management and evaluation. CFRE provided a workshop for a range of program staff to cover the range of topics and some agency staff also attended a data analysis workshop.

As a result of the work with CFRE, the agency reported that they have begun to measure the outcomes experienced by children and parents who have attended their programs. They have finalised their program logic and linked with other agencies to complete a collective project mapping exercise of the community needs. The agency reported that in the context of a staff group that come from diverse backgrounds, there has been a noticeable attitude shift towards seeing the value of outcome measurement activities beyond that which is required for reporting purposes.

Community Services Support  2015 – 2016

A large community organisation in Queensland that provides counselling, mentoring, training, child and family services engaged CFRE to support with their ‘Communities for Children’ program. They requested support to build the capacity of staff and their community partners to identify and measure outcomes. CFRE provided three tailored workshops on evidence-based practice and measuring outcomes with culturally and linguistically diverse communities, including clients from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) backgrounds. Following the workshops, consultancy support was provided to three Community Partners in the forms of evaluation planning, advice related to data collection methodologies and selection of outcome measurement tools.

The agency reported that they appreciated that flexibility and adaptability that CFRE provided, such that the agency was able to split the levels of support across three community partners. Each community partner was able to extend and develop their program planning towards outcomes measurement ranging from one community partner who experienced a shift in position towards acknowledging the need to review the program service model, activities and program logic before progressing to outcome measurement, to another community partner who had developed plan for aligning program activities to delivery of evidence based programs already in the Guidebook and one other community partner who was considering working collaboratively with the Facilitating Partner to submit their program to Child Family Community Australia to be considered evidence-based.