Parenting Research Centre 2012 Annual Report

parentingrc.org.au

Parenting Research Centre 2012 Annual Report

Parenting Research Centre

2012 Annual Report

Parenting Research Centre 2012 Annual Report


2012 Annual Report

In parenting children today, families are shaping the society of tomorrow. Supporting mothers, fathers and carers to

raise happy and healthy children is an investment in the next generation that will pay huge social dividends. This is the

mission of the Parenting Research Centre. In 2012 we substantially advanced our work in building community capacity

to implement innovation in parenting support, as well as making significant contributions to the science of parenting.

Creating Knowledge

Our research is focused on parenting and helps

us better understand the relationship between

parenting and child outcomes, learn how to

effectively support parents, and ultimately

inform parenting policy, programs and practice.

Sharing Knowledge

Our work in this area is based on the science

of parenting and child development, which

we translate into usable information for

policy, programs and professional practice. We

support the child and family service system to

identify, adopt and implement evidence-based

approaches to parenting intervention.

Our Organisation

Our operations area focuses on cultivating

a culture that supports excellence and

innovation, attracting and keeping the best

people, maintaining business systems that

manage a diverse funding base, and on

delivering effective governance and corporate

communications.

Parenting Research Centre 2012 Annual Report


Creating Knowledge

68 68 68 68

DOUBLED % %

INCREASE IN

MORE THAN

MORE THAN

MORE THAN MORE THAN

DOUBLED

DOUBLED DOUBLED

LAST YEAR’S

LAST YEAR’S

%

%

LAST YEAR’S JOURNAL PAPERS LAST YEAR’S

JOURNAL PAPERS

JOURNAL PAPERS JOURNAL INCREASE PAPERS IN

INCREASE INTERNATIONAL

INCREASE IN

INTERNATIONAL JOURNALS INTERNATIONAL INTERNATIONAL

JOURNALS

JOURNALS JOURNALS

14 STAFF

Discovery research

Intervention research

14 14 14

STAFF STAFF STAFF

1,000,000

HAVING A CHILD.

18 MONTHS LATER.

HAVING A CHILD.

1,000,000 1,000,000

18 MONTHS

children 1,000,000 children

HAVING A CHILD.

children

LATER.

children

Implementation research

CONFERENCE

CONFERENCE

CONFERENCE CONFERENCE

AND STUDENT

PRESENTATIONS

PRESENTATIONS

PRESENTATIONS AND STUDENT PRESENTATIONS

69% 69%

AND STUDENT AND STUDENT

4THESES

4THESES 4THESES 4THESES

52% 69% 52% 52%

69%

52%

WOMEN REPORTING

WOMEN STILL

WOMEN REPORTING

WOMEN STILL

WOMEN REPORTING

FATIGUE IN THE

WOMEN

FATIGUE IN THE WOMEN STILL

EXPERIENCING

REPORTING

WOMEN STILL

EXPERIENCING

FATIGUE IN THE

FIRST YEAR AFTER FATIGUE IN THE

FIRST YEAR AFTER EXPERIENCING

FATIGUE MORE THAN EXPERIENCING

FIRST YEAR AFTER FATIGUE MORE THAN FATIGUE MORE THAN

FIRST YEAR AFTER

HAVING A CHILD.

FATIGUE MORE

18

THAN

MONTHS LATER.

18 MONTHS LATER.

1 MILLION (22%) OF AUSTRALIAN 82% OF PARENTS WHO ARE

1 MILLION (22%) OF AUSTRALIAN 82% OF PARENTS WHO ARE

1 MILLION (22%)

CHILDREN

OF AUSTRALIAN

AGED 0-17 YEARS 1 MILLION

CHILDREN AGED 82% 0-17 OF YEARS PARENTS

LIVING (22%)

WHO

APART OF AUSTRALIAN

LIVING ARE

FROM THEIR 82% OF PARENTS WHO ARE

CHILDREN AGED 0-17 YEARS APART FROM THEIR

Parenting Research Centre 2012 Annual Report

CHILDREN AGED

LIVED LIVING APART FROM THEIR

0-17

WITH

YEARS

ONE PARENT

LIVED WITH ONE LIVING

AND

PARENT LIVED APART

CHILDREN

WITH AND FROM ONE THEIR

ARE FATHERS.

HAD ANOTHER PARENT LIVING

PARENT CHILDREN AND ARE FATHERS. CHILDREN ARE FATHERS.

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Creating Knowledge

Discovery research

Discovery research seeks to understand basic facts, processes or effects related to parenting.

This research is both descriptive and theory driven. It is designed to identify trends and

patterns and to support or refute theoretical propositions.

CASE STUDIES

Parenting in the sleepless years

• What factors influence children’s mental health after parental separation?

• Do small babies bounce back?

• The wellbeing of fathers in families who seek help with infant difficulties

• Do parents’ fears hold children back from being physically active?

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LIVED WITH

HAD ANOTH

ELSEWHERE

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PERS

68

Creating Knowledge Discovery research

NCE

ATIONS

N

INCREASE IN

INTERNATIONAL

CONFERENCE

JOURNALS

Parenting in the

PRESENTATIONS

sleepless years

69%

WOMEN

STAFF

REPORTING

FATIGUE IN THE

FIRST YEAR AFTER

HAVING

AND

A

STUDENT

CHILD.

Most new parents

52%

are aware they will be sleep deprived

in the early years of parenthood, but few anticipate

how much fatigue they will experience during that time.

WOMEN STILL

While the serious health consequences of fatigue are

well known, there

EXPERIENCING

is little understanding of how chronic

tiredness impacts on FATIGUE parenting. MORE THAN

1,000,000 Our research is providing new evidence that fatigue may

erode parents’ enjoyment and capacity for raising their

children.

52%

In a series of studies, we examined the relationship

1 MILLION (22%) OF AUSTRALIAN 82% between OF fatigue PARENTS and parenting WHO in a community ARE sample

CHILDREN AGED WOMEN 0-17 STILL YEARS LIVING of over 1000 APART mothers of FROM children aged THEIR 0–6 years.

LIVED WITH EXPERIENCING

ONE PARENT AND CHILDREN Mothers who were ARE more FATHERS.

fatigued were more likely to

HAD ANOTHER FATIGUE PARENT MORE LIVING THAN report parenting-related stress, more irritable interactions

ELSEWHERE 18 IN MONTHS 2006-07. LATER. with their children, and were less likely to report being

children

satisfied and confident in their parenting role.

A related study * examined the effect of fatigue on

parenting stress for 65 mothers of young children

AROUND 17,500 AUSTRALIAN BABIES

82% OF PARENTS WHO

with an autism spectrum disorder. This study found

ARE BORN PREMATURELY that mothers who were (BEFORE more fatigued 37 reported WEEKS being

LIVING APART FROM THEIR GESTATION) EVERY more distressed YEAR. when their child displayed problematic

CHILDREN ARE FATHERS.

behaviours than less fatigued mothers.

D 17,500 AUSTRALIAN

10%

BABIES

RN PREMATURELY (BEFORE 37 WEEKS

ION) EVERY YEAR. OF FATHERS OF AN

INFANT EXPERIENCE

ELEVATED LEVELS OF

PSYCHOLOGICAL

14

%

STAFF

4THESES

AND STUDENT

4THESES

18 MONTHS LATER.

These findings confirm our previous research that fatigue

not only affects parents’ psychological wellbeing, but

that fatigue also has consequences for how parents

interact with and care for their children.

43%

HAVE PERSISTENT OR

RECURRENT PROBLEMS

OVER THE FIRST

4 YEARS OF THEIR

Despite being common and debilitating, fatigue is often

overlooked in the support and health-care information

provided to new parents. Our research has provided

evidence of a number of strategies that may support

parents to better manage fatigue in the early parenting

years. This has provided the foundations for the Wide

Awake Parenting program.

* This study was conducted as part of an Honours degree in

Psychology (Bachelor of Arts, Swinburne University) by Monique

Seymour

PARTNER: SWINBURNE UNIVERSITY

FUNDING: VICTORIAN GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENT OF

EDUCATION AND EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT.

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FATIGUE IN THE

FIRST YEAR AFTER

HAVING A CHILD.

Creating Knowledge Discovery research

1,000,000 children

1 MILLION (22%) OF AUSTRALIAN

CHILDREN AGED 0-17 YEARS

LIVED WITH ONE PARENT AND

HAD ANOTHER PARENT LIVING

ELSEWHERE IN 2006-07.

What factors influence

children’s mental

health after parental

separation?

It has long been known that children with separated

parents are more likely to have behavioural and

emotional problems

10%

than children whose parents

live together. Often, this is blamed on the effects of

the breakdown, leading to conclusions that parental

separation is bad for

OF

children.

FATHERS

However,

OF

our

AN

research

has confirmed overseas INFANT studies EXPERIENCE

which show that the

social and economic ELEVATED circumstances LEVELS of separated OF families,

family conflict and PSYCHOLOGICAL

poor parental mental health are the

key factors influencing children’s adjustment.

DISTRESS.

We compared children aged 8-9 years whose fathers

did not live with them and children who lived with

both biological parents. While children with a nonresident

father were more likely to have behavioural and

emotional difficulties, this was fully explained by the

economic hardship, family conflict and parent psychological

1 IN 4 AUSTRALIAN PRIMARY

SCHOOL-AGED CHILDREN

ARE NOW CLASSED AS

OVERWEIGHT OR OBESE.

distress that go alongside parental separation.

82% OF PARENTS WHO ARE

LIVING APART FROM THEIR

CHILDREN ARE FATHERS.

In these families, we also found that children’s mental

health was influenced by both their fathers’ and their

mothers’ parenting. Children had better behavioural and

emotional adjustment when their non-resident father

was highly engaged and confident in his parenting role

and exhibited positive parenting practices.

AROUND 17,500 AUSTRALIAN BABIES

ARE BORN PREMATURELY (BEFORE 37 WEEKS

GESTATION) EVERY YEAR.

We found that children in separated families were doing

well where there were adequate economic resources,

little family conflict, good parenting from both resident

and non-resident parents, and where parents themselves

had good mental

43%

health.

These findings highlight a number of ways that families

can be supported HAVE in raising healthy PERSISTENT children if their OR

parents separate. Ensuring RECURRENT that all families PROBLEMS

have adequate

economic resources, OVER helping parents THE FIRST look after their own

psychological wellbeing and minimise conflict, and helping

4 YEARS OF THEIR

parents to become confident, skilled and engaged in their

CHILD’S LIFE.

parenting role, will have a positive impact on children’s lives.

1km

* The research described here used data from the study known as

Growing Up in Australia: The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children

and was undertaken by Nina Lucas as part of a Masters of Public

Health degree awarded by La Trobe University.

PARTNER: LA TROBE UNIVERSITY

EXPERIENCING

FATIGUE MORE THAN

18 MONTHS LATER.

FUNDING: 1 IN 3 VICTORIAN CHILDREN GOVERNMENT LIVE DEPARTMENT LESS THAN OF

EDUCATION ONE KILOMETRE AND EARLY CHILDHOOD FROM DEVELOPMENT THEIR

SCHOOL. 2 IN 3 ARE DRIVEN

TO SCHOOL BY THEIR PARENTS.

Growing Up in Australia

We established a program of research using data from

Growing Up in Australia: The Longitudinal Study of

Australian Children in partnership with the Murdoch

Childrens Research Institute in 2010. Our analysis of the

Growing Up in Australia data has rapidly grown into a

vibrant hub of research activity for us. We are examining

a range of questions concerning how parents raise their

children and the factors that influence the wellbeing of

parents and children over time.

Funded by the Australian Government Department of

Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous

Affairs, and jointly conducted by the Department, the

Australian Institute of Family Studies and the Australian

Bureau of Statistics, the longitudinal study examines how

5105 infants and 4983 children (aged 4-5 years) and their

parents are faring growing up in contemporary Australia.

The children and their parents have been taking part in

the study since 2004 and are being followed up every two

years, with data collected from a variety of sources.

We are making a substantial contribution to the use

of data from the study to understand parenting and

children’s outcomes. Over 500 Australian and international

individuals and institutions are registered to use the data.

According to the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children

Annual Report, in 2011-12 our staff led or co-authored 25

per cent of all conference presentations and 22 per cent

of all publications using data from the study.

Read more about Growing Up in Australia: The

Longitudinal Study of Australian Children.

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Creating Knowledge Discovery research

Do small babies

bounce back?

Premature babies are at greater risk of experiencing

problems in health, growth and development. However,

most research examining this issue has focused on

children at high risk – those born very premature or

with a very low birth weight. Little is known about the

‘mild-risk’ babies (born a little early or underweight) who

represent the majority of all premature babies.

1,000,000 children

1 MILLION (22%) OF AUSTRALIAN

CHILDREN AGED 0-17 YEARS

LIVED WITH ONE PARENT AND

HAD ANOTHER PARENT LIVING

ELSEWHERE IN 2006-07.

82% OF PARENTS WHO ARE

LIVING APART FROM THEIR

CHILDREN ARE FATHERS.

AROUND 17,500 AUSTRALIAN BABIES

ARE BORN PREMATURELY (BEFORE 37 WEEKS

GESTATION) EVERY YEAR.

Using data from Growing Up in Australia: The

Longitudinal Study of Australian Children, we examined

whether having a mild-risk baby impacts on mothers’

parenting and tracked the development of these children

to see how they were doing before starting school.

We found that children born in the mild-risk range of

prematurity or low birth weight had no greater risk of

behavioural problems than other children as they prepared

to enter school at 4-5 years of age, although they were

slightly more likely to have emotional difficulties.

Mothers of these babies showed very few differences over

the early years in their parenting warmth, confidence,

separation anxiety and over-protectiveness compared with

mothers of healthy weight, full-term babies.

There was some evidence though that mothers of

mild-risk babies were experiencing more difficulties in

the first year of their baby’s life. They reported feeling

slightly more irritable in their interactions with their

child, and reported higher rates of psychological distress,

and lower levels of social support. They were also more

likely to smoke and experience adverse life events. These

differences disappeared over time and were no longer

evident when the children were 2-3 years old.

These findings suggest that most small babies bounce

back in terms of

10%

their mental health by the time they

start school. And they suggest that mothers of these

babies may benefit from additional support in their

OF FATHERS OF AN

child’s first year of life, such as strategies that provide

parenting support INFANT and reduce EXPERIENCE

maternal stress.

ELEVATED LEVELS OF

PSYCHOLOGICAL

DISTRESS.

PARTNER: MURDOCH CHILDRENS RESEARCH INSTITUTE

FUNDING: VICTORIAN GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENT OF

EDUCATION AND EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT

1 IN 4 AUSTRALIAN PRIMARY

SCHOOL-AGED CHILDREN

ARE NOW CLASSED AS

OVERWEIGHT OR OBESE.

2,000 families

1km

43%

HAVE PERSISTENT OR

RECURRENT PROBLEMS

OVER THE FIRST

4 YEARS OF THEIR

CHILD’S LIFE.

1 IN 3 CHILDREN LIVE LESS THAN

ONE KILOMETRE FROM THEIR

SCHOOL. 2 IN 3 ARE DRIVEN

TO SCHOOL BY THEIR PARENTS.

Parenting Research Centre 2012 Annual Report

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FATIGUE MORE THAN

18 MONTHS LATER.

AROUND 17,500 AUSTRALIAN BABIES

ARE BORN PREMATURELY (BEFORE 37 WEEKS

GESTATION) EVERY YEAR.

children

Creating Knowledge Discovery research

82% OF PARENTS WHO ARE

LIVING APART FROM THEIR

CHILDREN ARE FATHERS.

10%

OF FATHERS OF AN

D 17,500 AUSTRALIAN

INFANT

BABIES

EXPERIENCE

RN PREMATURELY

ELEVATED

(BEFORE

LEVELS

37 WEEKS

OF

ION) EVERY YEAR.

PSYCHOLOGICAL

DISTRESS.

43%

1 IN 4 AUSTRALIAN PRIMARY

SCHOOL-AGED HAVE CHILDREN PERSISTENT OR

ARE NOW RECURRENT CLASSED AS PROBLEMS

OVERWEIGHT OVER OR THE OBESE. FIRST

4 YEARS OF THEIR

CHILD’S LIFE.

2,000

1km

families

PARTICIPATED IN EARLY HOME

LEARNING STUDY.

1 IN 3 CHILDREN LIVE LESS THAN

ONE KILOMETRE FROM THEIR

SCHOOL. 2 IN 3 ARE DRIVEN

TO SCHOOL BY THEIR PARENTS.

200 parents

The wellbeing of

fathers in families

who seek help with

infant difficulties

43%

Our previous research has shown fathers of infants are

at heightened risk of mental health difficulties, which

can persist well into

HAVE

the subsequent

PERSISTENT

parenting years.

OR

While men are generally RECURRENT more reluctant PROBLEMS

than women

to seek help for their OVER own mental THE FIRST health problems, our

recent research indicates 4 YEARS that residential OF THEIR family programs

may offer an important CHILD’S opportunity LIFE. to identify and

support fathers experiencing distress.

1km

This research examined the mental health needs of

fathers attending an Early Parenting Centre. These kinds

of centres provide residential programs for a range of

early parenting difficulties, such as sleep, settling, feeding

1 IN 3 CHILDREN LIVE LESS THAN

ONE KILOMETRE FROM THEIR

SCHOOL. 2 IN 3 ARE DRIVEN

TO SCHOOL BY THEIR PARENTS.

and behaviour problems. Fathers are admitted as part

of a whole-family approach. We assessed 144 fathers

attending a residential program at Tweddle Child and

Family Health Services who provided information on their

symptoms of depression, anxiety, stress and fatigue.

The majority of fathers admitted to this program had

mental health symptoms, and one in five men were

experiencing clinically significant levels of distress. Those

who were experiencing significant distress were more

likely than other fathers to have a child with severe sleep

problems and to be experiencing economic hardship.

Fathers’ psychological distress was closely related to their

general wellbeing. Distressed fathers reported poorer

physical health and limited opportunity to eat well,

exercise regularly or have leisure time.

PARTICIPATED IN THE WIDE AWAKE PARENTING TRIAL.

This research suggests that the postnatal period, when

the whole family is experiencing major life change, may

be a key time for engaging fathers in non-stigmatising

support services. Fathers attending residential family

programs provided through Early Parenting Centres

appear to be at particularly high risk for both

psychological distress and unhealthy lifestyle behaviours.

Providing these men with effective strategies for

managing their physical and psychological health is likely

to have important benefits for the whole family.

PARTNER: TWEDDLE CHILD AND FAMILY HEALTH SERVICES

Parenting Research Centre 2012 Annual Report

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1 MILLION (22%) OF AUSTRALIAN

CHILDREN AGED 0-17 YEARS

LIVED WITH ONE PARENT AND

Creating Knowledge Discovery research

HAD ANOTHER PARENT LIVING

Do

ELSEWHERE

parents’

IN 2006-07.

fears hold

children back from

being physically active?

Parents are the gatekeepers to children’s independence

and autonomy across all stages of childhood. Parental

fear has been identified as a potentially critical barrier

to children’s ability to travel and play independently.

This fear might limit children’s opportunities to

be independently physically active, and could be

contributing to Australia’s high rates of childhood obesity.

Our three-year research

10%

project, funded by the Victorian

Health Promotion Foundation (VicHealth), will collect

data from individual parents, children and key members

OF FATHERS OF AN

of the Victorian community to identify the barriers to

INFANT EXPERIENCE

children’s independent mobility, and the factors that

drive parental fears. ELEVATED LEVELS OF

PSYCHOLOGICAL

DISTRESS.

82% OF PARENTS WHO ARE

LIVING APART FROM THEIR

CHILDREN ARE FATHERS.

We are currently in the first phase of the project,

conducting focus groups with children and parents at

primary and secondary schools across Victoria. This phase

seeks to build our understanding of children’s experiences

of independent mobility, parents’ attitudes to independent

mobility and what influences parents’ decisions about

how children move around in their neighbourhood.

AROUND 17,500 AUSTRALIAN BABIES

ARE BORN PREMATURELY (BEFORE 37 WEEKS

GESTATION) EVERY YEAR.

Findings will help inform the second phase of the

project, a statewide survey of parents to gain their

views on the facilitators and barriers to their children’s

independent mobility. Results from the first two phases

will be used to develop strategies and recommendations

for promoting independent play and different ways of

getting about, and incidental physical activity among

43%

Victorian children aged 9-15.

PARTNERS: UNIVERSITY HAVE OF WESTERN PERSISTENT AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIAN OR

NATIONAL UNIVERSITY AND UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS

FUNDING: VICTORIAN HEALTH PROMOTION FOUNDATION #1

1km

RECURRENT PROBLEMS

OVER THE FIRST

4 YEARS OF THEIR

CHILD’S LIFE.

1 IN 4 AUSTRALIAN PRIMARY

SCHOOL-AGED CHILDREN

ARE NOW CLASSED AS

OVERWEIGHT OR OBESE.

1 IN 3 CHILDREN LIVE LESS THAN

ONE KILOMETRE FROM THEIR

SCHOOL. 2 IN 3 ARE DRIVEN

TO SCHOOL BY THEIR PARENTS.

1,0

1 MILLION (2

CHILDREN AG

LIVED WITH

HAD ANOTH

ELSEWHERE

2,000 families

PARTICIPATED IN EARLY HOME

LEARNING STUDY.

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Creating Knowledge

Intervention research

Intervention research is the practical application of science to real-life problems or concerns.

This research seeks to establish what parenting supports and interventions work, for whom,

and under what conditions. It underpins efforts to improve the health and wellbeing of

parents and their children.

CASE STUDIES

• Smalltalk big learnings: helping families create positive a home-learning environment for their

young children

• Can the impact of fatigue on parenting be mitigated?

• Advancing online parenting support

• Settling babies with little fuss improves parents’ mental health

• Learning about peer support

• Supporting parents of children diagnosed with a life-threatening illness

• Managing the transition to adolescence in the context of a chronic health condition

• Measuring parenting competence and confidence

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Creating Knowledge Intervention research

OVERWEIGHT OR OBESE.

TO SCHOOL BY THEIR PARENTS.

Smalltalk big learnings:

helping families create

positive a home-learning

environment for their

young children

The Early Home Learning Study has been conducted

over three years from 2010 to 2012. It is the first early

home-learning intervention study of this magnitude

in Australia, and involved participation of over 2000

families across 22 Local Government Areas.

We developed and implemented Smalltalk an innovative

program designed to provide parents of babies and

toddlers with strategies to enhance their children’s

learning at home, and it was implemented as part of a

cluster randomised controlled trial. We are seeking to

determine how best to support disadvantaged families

to provide a stimulating home-learning environment for

their very young children (aged 6 months to 3 years).

To ensure good fit and sustainability in existing services,

Smalltalk programs were embedded in the normal

rhythm of supported playgroups and maternal and child

health parent groups, with some families also receiving

additional support in the home. Program content and

delivery format were developed in close collaboration

with parents and service providers.

The program strategies aim to build on parents’

strengths, enabling them to become more

knowledgeable and confident in their parenting abilities

and helping them to address their own needs. Activities

focus on helping parents to increase the frequency of

2,000 families

PARTICIPATED IN EARLY HOME

LEARNING STUDY.

quality everyday interactions with their children and to

provide a stimulating home-learning environment to

support their children’s early development.

The study relied on the outstanding support and

contributions of site coordinators, group facilitators,

home coaches and families. Study findings will be

published in 2013.

In March 2012 the Victorian State Government

health

announced that Smalltalk would be one of three

initiatives to share a $16.5 million package to support

vulnerable families with young children. The program

has received recurrent funding, ensuring that it will be a

permanent part of the early childhood services landscape

in the years to come, and that the work of building

HEALTH-RELATED

community capacity to support

INFORMATION.

parents in their early

parenting can continue.

PARTNERS: LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREAS: BALLARAT, BENDIGO,

BRIMBANK, CARDINIA, CASEY, DANDENONG, DAREBIN,

FRANKSTON, GEELONG/SURF COAST, COLAC/CORANGAMITE,

HOBSONS BAY, KINGSTON, KNOX, LATROBE, MELTON,

MORNINGTON PENINSULA, SHEPPARTON, WODONGA,

WYNDHAM, AND YARRA RANGES

COMMUNITY SERVICE ORGANISATIONS: BALLARAT CHILD AND

FAMILY SERVICES, GLASTONBURY CHILD AND FAMILY SERVICES,

GOOD BEGINNINGS AND ASSOCIATED SUPPORTED PLAYGROUPS

AND PARENT GROUPS

FUNDING: VICTORIAN GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENT OF

EDUCATION AND EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT

200 parents

The Hon. Wendy Lovell,

Parliamentary announcement of

PARTICIPATED IN THE

Smalltalk

WIDE

funding

AWAKE PARENTING TRIAL.

“One of the biggest challenges Victoria faces is the

protection of our most vulnerable and disadvantaged

children and young people ... The government is

committed to providing critical programs that respond to

the findings of that inquiry.

“I am especially delighted to note that we have locked

in ongoing funding for the supported playgroups,

for Smalltalk and also for the free three-year-old

kindergartens for vulnerable children.

54% OF AUSTRALIANS HAVE USED THE INTERNET TO SEARCH FOR

“The 2012 budget provides $16.5 million ... over four years

to support vulnerable families and young children to engage

in early learning activities, including supported playgroups,

the Smalltalk program and the E4Kids longitudinal study.

This funding will enable Local Government Areas to continue

to provide the Smalltalk program to help parents support

their children’s learning and development at home. The

funding for supported playgroups and Smalltalk will support

20%

an estimated 2000 disadvantaged families a year with their

of Australian parents

children’s early learning and development. The program is an

evidence-based way to address disadvantage and maximise

(12,000 VICTORIAN PARENTS PER YEAR) REPORT

learning and development through early intervention ...

A PROBLEM WITH THEIR INFANT’S SLEEP OR

“It is wonderful to see that we are providing access to

CRYING IN THE FIRST THREE MONTHS OF LIFE.

these programs so that parents can engage in them and

they can give their children better opportunities in life.”

2,000

Address to Parliamentary Accounts and Estimates Committee, May 2012.

Australian parents

ATTEND A MYTIME FACILITATED PEER

Parenting Research Centre 2012 Annual Report

SUPPORT GROUP EACH YEAR.

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Creating Knowledge Intervention research

PSYCHOLOGICAL

DISTRESS.

Can the impact of

fatigue on parenting be

mitigated?

1 IN 4 AUSTRALIAN PRIMARY

SCHOOL-AGED CHILDREN

Wide Awake Parenting is a brief psycho-educational

ARE NOW CLASSED AS

intervention that aims to help parents reduce fatigue

OVERWEIGHT and manage their health OR and OBESE. wellbeing in the first six

months postpartum.

2,000 families

The program has been designed as a written resource

that parents can work through at their own pace, with

or without telephone support from a health professional.

It includes strategies for keeping healthy, looking after

PARTICIPATED yourself, managing multiple IN EARLY demands, and HOME seeking help.

LEARNING STUDY.

4 YEARS OF THEIR

CHILD’S LIFE.

This 1kmresearch will be the first study internationally to

investigate whether parenting fatigue can be successfully

reduced and whether this has benefits for parents’

wellbeing and their enjoyment of parenthood.

1 IN 3 CHILDREN LIVE LESS THAN

ONE KILOMETRE FROM THEIR

SCHOOL. 2 IN 3 ARE DRIVEN

TO SCHOOL BY THEIR PARENTS.

We expect to conclude program delivery and data

collection by early 2013, and results will be published by

late 2013.

FUNDING: VICTORIAN GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENT OF

EDUCATION AND EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT

200 parents

PARTICIPATED IN THE WIDE AWAKE PARENTING TRIAL.

A randomised controlled trial

health

is being conducted to

assess the impact of the program on fatigue, self-care

behaviour, wellbeing and parenting. We are comparing

the relative efficacy of a self-directed approach with

no support, and self-directed approach plus telephone

support, and these will be compared with a wait list

control group.

54% OF AUSTRALIANS HAVE USED THE INTERNET TO SEARCH FOR

HEALTH-RELATED INFORMATION.

1,0

1 MILLION (2

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2,000 families

Advancing online

parenting support

PARTICIPATED IN EARLY HOME

LEARNING STUDY.

As the reach and availability of the internet continues

to increase exponentially, we plan to be at the forefront

in the design and delivery of online parenting support

services. The Raising Children Network website has

strongly positioned us in the online space, delivering

practical and reliable parenting information to hundreds

of thousands of parents every year.

200 parents

Essentially, it acts as an online behaviour therapist.

We tested the tool with parents under two conditions:

self-directed and with brief email support. Around 170

parents participated in the randomised controlled trial.

Results of the trial will be reported in early 2013.

The Cry Baby program, an eLearning package we

designed and built, aims to prevent sleeping and crying

problems in infancy. It is an interactive online program

that uses best practice instructional design to provide

parents with developmental information about crying

and sleeping, strategies for establishing healthy sleep

PARTICIPATED IN THE WIDE AWAKE PARENTING TRIAL.

Both tools will soon be available on the Raising Children

Network website.

BEHAVIOUR SKILL BUILDER EVALUATION

FUNDING: NSW GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENT OF AGEING,

DISABILITY AND HOME CARE

CRY BABY

PARTNER: CENTRE FOR COMMUNITY CHILD HEALTH, MURDOCH

CHILDRENS RESEARCH INSTITUTE, ROYAL CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL

FUNDING: VICTORIAN GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENT OF

EDUCATION AND EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT

health

54% OF AUSTRALIANS HAVE USED THE INTERNET TO SEARCH FOR

HEALTH-RELATED INFORMATION.

We carried out two research and development projects

this year that aimed to improve the effectiveness of

online parenting support: Behaviour Skills Builder and

Cry Baby.

This year we completed data collection for our evaluation

of the Behaviour Skills Builder resource. This unique

interactive online tool was designed to guide parents of

young children with developmental disabilities to create an

individually tailored behaviour management plan.

The Behaviour Skills Builder is firmly grounded in

applied behaviour analysis, and uses an evidencebased

approach to dealing with challenging behaviour.

patterns, and ideas on how to cope with the stress of

infant crying. It is based on our Baby Business program

that we trialled successfully earlier in the year.

20% of Australian parents

Cry Baby eLearning is evidence-informed and flexible,

and designed to be user- friendly for fathers as well as

mothers. It uses interactive graphic tools, text and audio

so that it can be accessed by users with low literacy

skills. Next year we will begin a program of evaluation

research, part of which will address the issue of how to

better engage parents of vulnerable children in the use

of online parenting support.

(12,000 VICTORIAN PARENTS PER YEAR) REPORT

A PROBLEM WITH THEIR INFANT’S SLEEP OR

CRYING IN THE FIRST THREE MONTHS OF LIFE.

2,000 Australian parents

ATTEND A MYTIME FACILITATED PEER

SUPPORT GROUP EACH YEAR.

260 GROUPS ACROSS AUSTRALIA.

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200 parents

PARTICIPATED IN THE WIDE AWAKE PARENTING TRIAL.

Settling babies with

little fuss improves

parents’ mental health

healthMothers

and fathers are two times more likely to

experience depression if their infant sleep and crying

problems are left untreated. In these circumstances, families

are also more likely to experience poorer family functioning,

sometimes child abuse, and later child behaviour problems.

Sleep disturbance in infancy is also associated with

frequent and expensive health service utilisation.

54% OF AUSTRALIANS HAVE USED THE INTERNET TO SEARCH FOR

HEALTH-RELATED INFORMATION.

2 IN 3 PARENTS OF CHILDREN

NEWLY DIAGNOSED WITH A

LIFE-THREATENING ILLNESS

20% of Australian parents

(12,000 VICTORIAN PARENTS PER YEAR) REPORT

A PROBLEM WITH THEIR INFANT’S SLEEP OR

CRYING IN THE FIRST THREE MONTHS OF LIFE.

2,000 Australian parents

These findings are based on research that assessed the efficacy

of the Baby Business program, a brief parent education

program designed to prevent infant sleep and crying

problems and associated parental depression symptoms.

The intervention specifically aimed to reduce infant sleep

and cry problems, reduce parent depression, and reduce

health service costs associated with these problems.

ATTEND A MYTIME FACILITATED PEER

SUPPORT GROUP EACH YEAR.

260 GROUPS ACROSS AUSTRALIA.

Baby Business was conducted as a randomised controlled

trial across the Local Government Areas of Brimbank,

Wyndham, Yarra and Moonee Valley with 780 parents.

The intervention group participants were offered a brief

parenting education program in addition to their usual

postnatal care. The intervention consisted of the following:

a parenting booklet and DVD; a telephone consultation

OVER 40% OF PARENTS

WITH ACUTE DISTRESS WILL

EXPERIENCE PERSISTENT AND

with the primary caregiver when the infant was 4–7 weeks

old; followed by a group parenting session at 8–12 weeks.

Parents in the control group received usual care.

Compared to parents receiving usual care, those

who participated in Baby Business reported using

recommended strategies to help their baby settle.

Parents were more likely to settle their baby back to

sleep in less than 20 minutes during the night, they

reported less ‘over-intrusive’ parent behaviour during

the baby’s bedtime routine, and made fewer changes to

infant formula to ‘help’ with the baby’s behaviour.

Benefits to the parents were evident. They reported

significantly fewer symptoms of postnatal depression

than parents in the usual care group, had less parenting

doubt concerning infant sleep patterns, and were less

likely to have excessive fears about cot death.

This project has led to the development of the Cry Baby

eLearning resource. Results are currently being prepared

for publications and conference presentations. We will

also work with our partner to plan the next steps for

Baby Business.

PARTNER: CENTRE FOR COMMUNITY CHILD HEALTH, MURDOCH

CHILDRENS RESEARCH INSTITUTE, ROYAL CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL

FUNDING: VICTORIAN GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENT OF

EDUCATION AND EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT AND THE

SCOBIE AND CLAIRE MACKINNON TRUST

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54% OF AUSTRALIANS HAVE USED THE INTERNET TO SEARCH FOR

Creating HEALTH-RELATED Knowledge Intervention INFORMATION.

research

Learning about

peer support

Parent-to-parent support is widely believed to offer

valuable personal and emotional support to parents. This

belief underpins the widespread use of parent groups,

playgroups and parent support groups.

The first study, conducted in partnership with Jean Hailes

Research Unit, Monash University, aims to investigate

mechanisms underlying peer support in MyTime group

settings, and to identify promoters and barriers of

positive social support. We interviewed current and past

MyTime group participants, facilitators and play helpers

to explore factors related to the success of the groups,

and we conducted a survey of members asking them to

describe their experiences. The results of this research

20% of Australian parents

(12,000 VICTORIAN PARENTS PER YEAR) REPORT

A PROBLEM WITH THEIR INFANT’S SLEEP OR

CRYING IN THE FIRST THREE MONTHS OF LIFE.

2,000 Australian parents

ATTEND A MYTIME FACILITATED PEER

SUPPORT GROUP EACH YEAR.

260 GROUPS ACROSS AUSTRALIA.

In 2012 we completed an extensive initial consultation

phase with our key program service providers and

collaborators. We also generated new materials to

support MyTime members and providers, including

resources and activities to help groups discuss the

benefits of evidence-based interventions, and resources

for parents who are experiencing tough times.

In 2013 we will recruit new and existing MyTime

members to the study. We will also continue to offer

consultation and support to MyTime providers over the

life of the project.

PARTNER: JEAN HAILES RESEARCH UNIT, MONASH UNIVERSITY

FUNDING: AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENT OF

FAMILIES, HOUSING, COMMUNITY SERVICES AND INDIGENOUS

AFFAIRS

Despite its widespread use in the community, little is known

about the mechanisms by which peer support is helpful, how

and to what extent peer support improves the wellbeing

of parents, thereby improving outcomes for children.

2 IN 3 PARENTS OF CHILDREN

In 2012 we began a program of research designed to build

NEWLY a better understanding DIAGNOSED of peer support. WITH This research A will

LIFE-THREATENING help us improve the reach and effectiveness ILLNESS of programs

EXPERIENCE

that are built on principles

ACUTE

of peer support. The research

is incorporated into the implementation of our MyTime

PSYCHOSOCIAL DISTRESS.

program, a facilitated peer support group program for

parents and carers of children with special health care

needs. This federally funded program was formed in 2007,

5,700

and currently has 260 groups across Australia that we

coordinate with local community partners.

Australian children

AGED 0-14 ARE LIVING WITH

will be reported in late 2012, and will be immediately

useful to agencies and practitioners who provide

MyTime groups and any other parent support program.

In another line of work, we are building on previous quality

OVER assurance evaluations 40% OF by PARENTS

investigating the effectiveness of

WITH MyTime group ACUTE participation DISTRESS in promoting WILL the health and

EXPERIENCE

wellbeing of participants.

PERSISTENT

This research, called

AND

Me and

MyTime, will describe the population of parents attending

WORSENING DISTRESS.

program and compare them to parents of typically

developing children in the Growing Up in Australia: The

Longitudinal Study of Australian Children. This research will

give us a better understanding of the needs of parents

who have a child with a disability or complex condition

and the impact of facilitated peer support programs.

30% YOUNG PEOPLE

WITH TYPE 1 DIABETES REPORT

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Supporting parents of

children diagnosed with

a life-threatening illness

Life-threatening childhood illness or injury affects

thousands of Australian families every year. Each year,

over 2000 children are new admissions to Melbourne’s

Royal Children’s Hospital.

In the Parenting through Trauma research project, we are

working with families who have a child diagnosed at the

Royal Children’s Hospital with a serious illness or injury.

The research aims to increase understanding about how

parents adapt to their child’s illness and to learn more

about how to identify families who may benefit from

additional psychosocial support.

In partnership with the Murdoch Childrens Research

Institute we have completed recruitment of 190 families

into a longitudinal study which examines parents’

mental health and wellbeing across the first 18 months

after their child’s diagnosis.

We are now trialling the Take a Breath program,

a group-based intervention that aims to reduce

psychosocial distress and prevent longer term mental

illness by improving parents’ capacity to cope with the

distressing thoughts and feelings associated with their

child’s condition.

Effects of the intervention are being assessed in a

randomised controlled trial to determine whether parent

participation in the program leads to improved parent

psychological outcomes 6 and 12 months later.

2 IN 3 PARENTS OF CHILDREN

NEWLY DIAGNOSED WITH A

LIFE-THREATENING ILLNESS

EXPERIENCE ACUTE

PSYCHOSOCIAL DISTRESS.

This research addresses a serious gap in the provision

of

5,700

evidence-based care within the paediatric healthcare

system, with potential benefits for a large, highly

vulnerable group of parents and children. Stretched

resources in psychosocial care within the hospital

setting Australian mean that supports are children

currently only available

to AGED families 0-14 who are ARE in crisis. LIVING Many families WITH at risk of

developing mental health problems are not eligible for

TYPE 1 DIABETES.

mental health services in the acute hospital setting.

Targeting interventions to parents who have identified

risk factors will provide an opportunity to minimise the

possibility of longer term mental illness in this group.

PARTNERS: MURDOCH CHILDRENS RESEARCH INSTITUTE, ROYAL

CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL

FUNDING: VICTORIAN DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES, PRATT

FOUNDATION

260 GROUPS ACROSS AUSTRALIA.

OVER 40% OF PARENTS

WITH ACUTE DISTRESS WILL

EXPERIENCE PERSISTENT AND

WORSENING DISTRESS.

30% YOUNG PEOPLE

WITH TYPE 1 DIABETES REPORT

ELEVATED LEVELS OF STRESS,

ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION.

300 parents HELPED US DEVELOP THE TOOL: ME AS A PARENT.

85 % +

OF INDIGENOUS BABIES IN REMOTE

COMMUNITIES IN THE NORTHERN TERRITORY

ARE BREASTFED.

120 family support workers

ACROSS 26 MUNICIPALITIES IN SWEDEN HAVE COMPLETED

PARENTING YOUNG CHILDREN INTRODUCTORY TRAINING.

Parenting Research Centre 2012 Annual Report

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Managing the transition

to adolescence in the

2 context IN 3 PARENTS of a OF chronic CHILDREN

NEWLY DIAGNOSED WITH A

health condition

LIFE-THREATENING ILLNESS

EXPERIENCE ACUTE

PSYCHOSOCIAL DISTRESS.

5,700

Australian children

AGED 0-14 ARE LIVING WITH

TYPE 1 DIABETES.

their condition, improve mental and physical health

outcomes, and reduce risk-taking behaviour.

We have completed an interview study with parents

of adolescents with Type 1 diabetes to determine their

needs OVER in terms 40% of parenting OF PARENTS support, their attitudes to

internet-based WITH ACUTE programs, DISTRESS and to identify WILL facilitators and

barriers to engagement in such a program.

EXPERIENCE PERSISTENT AND

WORSENING DISTRESS.

30% YOUNG PEOPLE

WITH TYPE 1 DIABETES REPORT

ELEVATED LEVELS OF STRESS,

ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION.

regarding issues that are currently poorly addressed in

existing diabetes care services.

PARTNERS: SWINBURNE UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY, ROYAL

CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL

FUNDING: BEYONDBLUE: THE NATIONAL DEPRESSION INITIATIVE,

VICTORIAN GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION AND

EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT

300 parents HELPED US DEVELOP THE TOOL: ME AS A PARENT.

Type 1 diabetes is a serious lifelong illness requiring a strict

regime of daily insulin injections and monitoring of blood

sugars and food intake. While Type 1 diabetes is associated

with a range of long-term

85

physical % health complications,

including heart and kidney disease, neuropathy and

blindness, over one third of adolescents

+

with Type 1

diabetes also experience mental health problems such as

depression, anxiety or behavioural disorders — more than

twice the general adolescent population.

Our research project, Nothing Ventured Nothing

Gained, is examining adolescent Type 1 diabetes. The

aim of this project is to develop and evaluate an online

mental health prevention program to help adolescents

and their parents manage the psychosocial impact of

In consultation with teenagers and parents, we have

developed the Nothing Ventured Nothing Gained online

parenting and adolescent programs.

OF INDIGENOUS BABIES IN REMOTE

COMMUNITIES IN THE NORTHERN TERRITORY

ARE BREASTFED.

120 family support workers

We are currently conducting a randomised controlled

trial to evaluate the efficacy of these programs in

enhancing the physical and mental health of both

adolescents and their parents. Families are being

recruited to the study via diabetes clinics at the Royal

Children’s Hospital and Monash Medical Centre, with

over 200 parents and teens recruited to the trial to date.

This research will provide important information about

the potential of accessible, self-directed materials for

providing support to parents and their teenage children

ACROSS 26 MUNICIPALITIES IN SWEDEN HAVE COMPLETED

PARENTING YOUNG CHILDREN INTRODUCTORY TRAINING.

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2 IN 3 PARENTS OF CHILDREN

NEWLY DIAGNOSED WITH A

LIFE-THREATENING ILLNESS

EXPERIENCE ACUTE

PSYCHOSOCIAL DISTRESS.

Creating Knowledge Intervention research

5,700

Australian children

AGED 0-14 ARE LIVING WITH

TYPE 1 DIABETES.

OVER 40% OF PARENTS

WITH ACUTE DISTRESS WILL

EXPERIENCE PERSISTENT AND

WORSENING

Measuring

DISTRESS.

parenting

competence and

confidence

Parents’ perception of their own effectiveness, known

as parenting self-efficacy, plays an important role in

positive and successful parenting. A strong sense of

30% YOUNG PEOPLE

personal competence and confidence has an impact on

WITH TYPE 1 DIABETES REPORT

a parent’s personal wellbeing, and in turn, plays a part in

ELEVATED determining child LEVELS development OF outcomes. STRESS,

ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION.

It is highly likely these factors are all expressions of

parents’ underlying constructs about how they perceive

their self-efficacy.

We are now trialling the tool as an outcome measure

for parenting programs currently being delivered in the

community. The results of this final phase of the project

will be available in early 2013.

FUNDING: VICTORIAN GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENT OF

EDUCATION AND EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT

300 parents HELPED US DEVELOP THE TOOL: ME AS A PARENT.

85 % +

BRIDGING THE GAP

FROM SCIENCE

TO SERVICE

While there are a range of existing measures of

parenting confidence, they are lengthy, not well liked by

parents, and have poor face validity. This project aims to

develop a tool that is relatively brief, reliable and a valid

measure of parenting self-efficacy for Australian parents.

The tool needs to be relevant to parenting from infancy

through to the teenage years, and able to be used as

an intervention evaluation tool across a wide range of

parenting services.

OF INDIGENOUS BABIES IN REMOTE

COMMUNITIES IN THE NORTHERN TERRITORY

ARE BREASTFED.

120 family support workers

The project has involved developing the Me as a Parent

questionnaire. We also developed and refined the item

pool through a process of expert consultation, and

then developed a series of surveys to establish the new

psychometric properties of the tool.

ACROSS 26 MUNICIPALITIES IN SWEDEN HAVE COMPLETED

PARENTING YOUNG CHILDREN INTRODUCTORY TRAINING.

Our analysis revealed that the tool was reliably

measuring four unique but related factors: self-efficacy,

personal agency, self-management and self-sufficiency.

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Creating Knowledge

Implementation research

Implementation research seeks to identify the factors that influence the success of evidencebased

interventions, programs or strategies when they are applied in the real world. This

is the newest area of research for us, but one in which we are already establishing a strong

leadership role.

CASE STUDIES

• Supporting program development of an innovative service for Indigenous families

• Evaluating the implementation of complex prevention programs in real-world settings

• Implementing parenting programs across countries

• Engaging parents in playgroups

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Creating Knowledge Implementation research

Supporting program

development in an

innovative service for

Indigenous families

Children living in remote Indigenous communities are

often exposed to living conditions that place them at

risk of health and developmental problems such as

stunting and wasting, low iron, ear and hearing and

sight problems, respiratory problems, infection, heart

conditions and poor literacy.

An innovative program in the Northern Territory —

Families as First Teachers Indigenous Parenting Support

Services Program — is building partnerships with schools

in remote communities to improve developmental

outcomes for Indigenous children.

The program was adapted from a successful

Queensland-based program to suit the context of

communities in the Northern Territory.

We were engaged by the Families as First Teachers

program to collect and synthesise a number of sources

of data examining the health and wellbeing of children

living in each of the 21 communities where the program

is running. This analysis of data would then guide the

identification of program outcomes and to inform future

development of content for the program.

Our research examined existing sources of primary

data such as the Australian Early Development Index,

Australian Census data, the National Aboriginal and

Torres Strait Islander Social Survey and the Community

Housing and Infrastructure Needs Survey. We also

300 parents HELPED US DEVELOP THE TOOL: ME AS A PARENT.

85 % +

examined secondary data sources presented in seminal

research papers and government reports such as the

2010 Australia Government Department of Families,

Housing, Communities and Indigenous Affairs report

Closing the Gap, and the 2010 Northern Territory

Government report Growing Them Strong Together.

Our analysis found that, in general, children living in

remote Indigenous communities experience higher than

average exposure to tobacco smoke in the home, less

prenatal care, poor maternal health during pregnancy

(e.g., high blood pressure), inadequate housing (e.g.,

overcrowding, structural problems and inadequate

TO SERVICE

sanitation and water supply), financial stress, and low

adult educational attainment and employment. We

also found that babies tend to be introduced to solid

food later than the recommended age. Children living

in these remote communities were rated by teachers

as having poorer physical health and wellbeing, social

competence, emotional maturity, language and schoolbased

cognitive skills, communication skills and general

knowledge than other Australian children.

BRIDGING THE GAP

FROM SCIENCE

Despite poverty of resources and services, many

Indigenous children living in remote areas also

experience conditions that promote development and

resilience. For example, over 85 per cent of Indigenous

babies in remote communities in the Northern Territory

are breastfed, and many Indigenous children experience

OF INDIGENOUS BABIES IN REMOTE

COMMUNITIES IN THE NORTHERN TERRITORY

ARE BREASTFED.

120 family support workers

CONTRIBUTING TO

THE INTERNATIONAL

IMPLEMENTATION

MOVEMENT

+

a strong connection to culture and family, through their

involvement with cultural events, languages and groups.

ACROSS 26 MUNICIPALITIES IN SWEDEN HAVE COMPLETED

PARENTING YOUNG CHILDREN INTRODUCTORY TRAINING.

Our conclusions have helped to inform decisions for

future delivery of the Families as First Teachers program

in 21 remote Indigenous communities, and have also

been used to inform content development for programs

aimed at supporting the development of children in

these communities.

FUNDING: DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION AND TRAINING,

NORTHERN TERRITORY GOVERNMENT

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Creating Knowledge Implementation research

Evaluating the

implementation of

complex prevention

programs in real-world

settings

In the evaluation field there is a growing emphasis on

evaluation of process and implementation in addition

to outcomes. When all components of a program or

service are not clearly articulated, and are not delivered

in a way that is consistent with program and service

objectives and methods, evaluation results may lead

to incorrect conclusions. For instance, disappointing

outcome measures might be incorrectly attributed to

program or service ineffectiveness when, in fact, the

results might actually reflect inadequate implementation

of the program. Several studies have documented a

relationship between levels and quality of program

implementation and strength of program outcomes.

This year, we were engaged by Mission Australia,

Queensland, to evaluate the extent to which Pathways

to Prevention, a multi-component community and

school-based prevention program for vulnerable children

and their families, was being delivered as planned and

how the specific program components had an effect on

program outcomes. Pathways to Prevention has been

developed and delivered through a partnership between

Griffith University, Mission Australia and local schools.

Working closely with family and community support

staff, and program developers, we first identified the

core program components: types of services offered,

how often these are delivered and for how long, content

delivered and strategies used to support families within

the service. Next we looked at how the core components

of the program contribute to improved developmental

pathways for children and what would be required to

replicate the service model elsewhere. We examined

the impact of five important influences on program

effectiveness:

1. intervention complexity

2. participant recruitment and engagement

3. economic and organisational factors

4. completeness of program materials

5. support offered.

Drawing on the evaluation findings, and what is known

from the science and practice of implementation,

we were able to identify ways of improving program

implementation that will inform the way the program is

used in the future.

PARTNER: MISSION AUSTRALIA, QUEENSLAND

FUNDING: MISSION AUSTRALIA, QUEENSLAND

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5,700

Creating Knowledge Implementation research

Australian children

AGED 0-14 ARE LIVING WITH

TYPE Implementing 1 DIABETES. parenting

programs across countries

Awareness and understanding of evidence-based

programs and practices is rapidly growing across many

countries. However, many researchers, policymakers

and program developers acknowledge that the number

85 % of these promising and highly effective programs is

relatively small in comparison to the need. As a result,

+

the transplantation and implementation of evidencebased

programs from the original country of origin and

its cultural context to others is growing.

30% YOUNG PEOPLE

WITH TYPE 1 DIABETES REPORT

ELEVATED LEVELS OF STRESS,

To date, we have completed introductory training in

the use of the program with over 120 family support

ANXIETY

workers across 26

AND

municipalities

DEPRESSION.

in Sweden. We

have also piloted low-cost ways of supporting these

professionals to effectively deliver the program to

families, including monthly, facilitated peer support

meetings lead by a team of Swedish Area Coordinators

who are supported by our team in Australia.

300 parents HELPED US DEVELOP THE TOOL: ME AS A PARENT.

OF INDIGENOUS BABIES IN REMOTE

COMMUNITIES IN THE NORTHERN TERRITORY

ARE BREASTFED.

We are conducting an evaluation of the acceptability,

implementation and clinical impact of delivering

the Parenting Young Children program in Swedish

community services across three phases.

Phase 2 (current) involves evaluation of the

implementation of the program in multiple community

services sites across Sweden using longitudinal analysis

of pre- and post-intervention parent and child outcomes,

assessment of fidelity data to determine the extent to

which the program was implemented as planned, and

assessment of the barriers and enablers of implementation

at the practitioner and organisational level.

Phase 3 will involve examination of practitioners,

organisational and implementation support

(e.g., amount of training and use of on-site coaching)

factors associated with the successful and sustained

implementation of the program.

120 family support workers

ACROSS 26 MUNICIPALITIES IN SWEDEN HAVE COMPLETED

PARENTING YOUNG CHILDREN INTRODUCTORY TRAINING.

Implementing imported evidence-based programs

presents a number of challenges and the research has

shown mixed results. Some studies report positive

benefits in cross-county replications of parenting

programs while others have not replicated the original

benefits of the program or have produced mixed results.

BRIDGING THE GAP

FROM SCIENCE

TO SERVICE

We are seeking to understand and address some of these

challenges in a project focusing on the implementation

and clinical impact of one of our evidence-based parenting

programs, Parenting Young Children, and its rollout across

multiple community service settings in Sweden. The

program focuses on improving the childcare skills and

parent-child interaction skills of parents with intellectual

disability who are caring for young children.

CONTRIBUTING TO

THE INTERNATIONAL

Phase 1 (now complete) used qualitative methods —

focus group interviews, in-depth individual interviews,

social network mapping — to assess the social validity

of the Swedish version of the program, from the

perspective of professionals and parents using the

program. Here we found that professionals reported

that the program was well suited for use in their

working environment. They reported that the program

strengthened their work with parents with intellectual

disabilities and parents themselves found the content

and style of the program to be helpful. Professionals

also provided feedback on program content from a

cultural perspective. We used the findings of this study

to improve the program materials and training to better

fit in the Swedish context.

Parenting Research Centre 2012 Annual Report

6

WFFH

1,0

1 MILLION (2

CHILDREN AG

LIVED WITH

HAD ANOTH

ELSEWHERE

1OF

IN

EL

PS

DI


Creating Knowledge Implementation research

Engaging parents in

playgroups

The Supported Playgroup and Parent Group Initiative is

a Victorian Government initiative that aims to provide

quality play opportunities at a critical time in a child’s

development. Playgroups aim to enhance children’s

development in areas such as language, motor skills and

social skills, and to provide families with opportunities to

develop parenting skills, capacity and confidence.

We were commissioned by the Victorian Government

Department of Education and Early Childhood

Development to evaluate their initiative. Our particular

focus was on approaches that strengthen parent

engagement with these programs.

We published three reports that summarise three

elements of our evaluation:

1. literature review

2. qualitative evaluation

3. practice guidelines based on the evidence.

The reports have been published on the Victorian

Government Best Start website (scroll down to

Resources). Download the full reports.

FUNDING: VICTORIAN GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENT OF

EDUCATION AND EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT

Key conclusions included:

• Coordinators and facilitators play a central role in

engaging parents with playgroups and maintaining

their active participation over time. This requires

close attention to staff recruitment, training and their

professional development in the areas of relationship

and communication skills.

• Successful engagement of parents requires resources

dedicated to this purpose, with strategies tailored to

the needs of local communities and families.

• Playgroups work best when they are integrated in

local communities and receive both informal and

formal community support.

6

WFFH

1,0

1 MILLION (2

CHILDREN AG

LIVED WITH

HAD ANOTH

ELSEWHERE

Parenting Research Centre 2012 Annual Report

1OF

IN

EL

PS

DI


Research synthesis

Knowledge translation and exchange

Implementation

BRIDGING THE GAP

FROM SCIENCE BRIDGING THE GAP

TO SERVICE FROM SCIENCE

TO SERVICE

200 +

parenting programs reviewed

INVOLVING ANALYSIS OF parenting THE EVIDENCE. programs reviewed

INVOLVING ANALYSIS OF THE EVIDENCE.

PARENTS WHO TRUST THE RAISING CHILDREN

WEBSITE AS AN ONLINE

PARENTS

PARENTING

WHO TRUST THE RAISING CHILDREN

INFORMATION SOURCE.

WEBSITE AS AN ONLINE PARENTING

INFORMATION SOURCE.

94%

85

120 Sharing family support Knowledge

120

workers

ACROSS 26 MUNICIPALITIES IN SWEDEN family HAVE support COMPLETED workers

PARENTING YOUNG CHILDREN INTRODUCTORY TRAINING.

Over

94%

+

COMMUNITIES IN THE Initiation NORTHERN NON-GOVERNMENT

TERRITORY Implementation

ARE BREASTFED.

COMMUNITY SERVICE AND

HEALTH PROVIDER AGENCIES

Authorisation IN NORTHERN TERRITORY

Closure

Establishment

ACROSS 26 MUNICIPALITIES IN SWEDEN HAVE COMPLETED

PARENTING YOUNG CHILDREN INTRODUCTORY TRAINING.

DOWNLOAD MORE THAN

FINANCIAL DOUBLED REPORT

LAST YEAR’S

JOURNAL PAPER

14

CONTRIBUTING TO

PROVIDING

CONFERENCE

THE INTERNATIONAL

EVIDENCE-INFORMED WITH DISABLED CHILD

CONTRIBUTING TO

PRESENTATIO

IMPLEMENTATION

IMPLEMENTATION

Half THE INTERNATIONAL

69%

MOVEMENT

SUPPORT

of fami

WOMEN REPORTING

IMPLEMENTATION TO NON-GOVERNMENT AND

FATIGUE IN THE

WHO ACCESS

FIRST

FAMILY

YEAR AFTER

SU

GOVERNMENT AGENCIES

HAVING A CHILD.

MOVEMENT

EXPERIENCED FAMILY V

1,000,000 c

200 +

200

media appearances

DOWNLOAD

FINANCIAL REPORT

ESTABLISHING

OURSELVES AS

A LEADER IN

IMPLEMENTATION

10+ years he

1 MILLION (22%) OF AUSTRALIAN

CHILDREN AGED 0-17 YEARS

LIVED WITH ONE PARENT AND

HAD ANOTHER PARENT LIVING

ELSEWHERE IN 2006-07.

Wanslea partnership

DEVELOPING & SUPPORTING EVID

87%

10%

OF FATHERS OF AN

INFANT EXPERIENCE

ELEVATED LEVELS OF

PSYCHOLOGICAL

Parenting Research Centre 2012 Annual Report

DISTRESS.

STAFF SATISFIED

8

L

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AROUND 17,5

ARE BORN PR

GESTATION) E


MORE THAN

DOUBLED

LAST YEAR’S

JOURNAL PAPER

AROUND 17,5

ARE BORN PR

GESTATION) E

We Sharing find, Knowledge evaluate and

synthesise the results of

relevant research to answer

policy and practice questions.

Research synthesis

We find, evaluate and synthesise the results of relevant research to answer policy and

practice questions.

CASE STUDIES

• Establishing best practice in research synthesis

14

CONFERENCE

PRESENTATIO

69%

WOMEN REPORTING

FATIGUE IN THE

FIRST YEAR AFTER

HAVING A CHILD.

1,000,000 c

1 MILLION (22%) OF AUSTRALIAN

CHILDREN AGED 0-17 YEARS

LIVED WITH ONE PARENT AND

HAD ANOTHER PARENT LIVING

ELSEWHERE IN 2006-07.

8

L

C

Parenting Research Centre 2012 Annual Report

10%

OF FATHERS OF AN

INFANT EXPERIENCE

ELEVATED LEVELS OF

PSYCHOLOGICAL

DISTRESS.


Sharing Knowledge Research synthesis

Establishing best

practice in research

synthesis

Evidence-informed policy and practice in parenting and

family support is dependent on timely access to the

findings of scientific research. As the body of scientific

research increases exponentially, it becomes increasingly

challenging for policymakers and organisational leaders

to identify, understand and use research findings in

practical and helpful ways.

To address this challenge, we have established our

Knowledge Synthesis area. The approach we use moves

beyond simple literature reviews, towards more rigorous,

replicable and transparent methods for knowledge

collection, appraisal, aggregation and analysis. Assessing

and integrating knowledge in this systematic way

provides insights that help us draw reliable conclusions

about a specific question or topic.

In the past year we have engaged in the following

activities:

• Developed our procedures and standards to ensure

that our work achieves the high level of rigor and

transparency required in this field.

• Completed a review of parenting programs for

the Australia Government Department of Families,

Housing, Communities and Indigenous Affairs. The

review involved an analysis of the evidence for over

200 parenting programs, by examining international

web-based clearinghouses, and conducting a rapid

evidence assessment of Australian evaluations of

parenting programs.

How effective are parenting programs that

are being used in community settings?

We were contracted by the Australian Government Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous

Affairs to investigate the evidence base for parenting programs and to outline critical considerations for the implementation

of evidence-based programs. We applied the rapid evidence assessment approach which enabled us to synthesise evidence

and complete the project over an intense six-week period.

We began by examining the international literature from established and authoritative international clearinghouses, and from

previous systematic reviews and meta-analyses of parenting programs. This revealed over 30 programs that were supported by

evidence of effectiveness, but most of these programs were not available in Australia, and not entirely relevant to the Australian

context. So we examined the Australian literature using the rapid evidence assessment methodology to review research published

in peer-reviewed academic journals as well as unpublished reports available via the internet or from the program evaluators.

The international clearinghouse analysis combined with the examination of Australian literature helped us to identify 52

parenting programs that were supported by good evidence of effectiveness, including the following: Multisystemic Therapy,

Incredible Years, Nurse Family Partnership, Triple P and Parent-Child Interaction Therapy. There were 18 parenting programs MORE THAN

that had been evaluated in Australia and were found to be supported by evidence; many of these were variations of Triple DOUBLED

P

LAST YEAR’S

(e.g., Indigenous Triple P, Stepping Stones).

JOURNAL PAPER

We rated program effectiveness based on the assessed evidence, and discussed factors to consider when implementing each

specific program. Agencies will be able to use the final report as a valuable tool to help in decision-making about the usefulness

14

of individual parenting programs, and as a guide to considering factors that influence the successful implementation of

programs aimed at achieving particular child and family outcomes within family support services across Australia.

CONFERENCE

PRESENTATIO

• Began planning for a systematic review of parenting

programs for improving psychosocial outcomes for

Indigenous children and applied for title registration to

the Campbell Collaboration. During the next phase we

will conduct in-depth analysis of the research, assess the

quality of the evaluations and gain further insight into

the effectiveness of these interventions.

• Began a scoping review of evaluations of international

programs for parents of Indigenous children.

• Drafted a research paper on psychosocial wellbeing

and a research paper on health; each provide a picture

of the types of programs that have been evaluated,

which groups of Indigenous children and parents were

targeted, what outcomes the programs were aiming to

improve and what results were achieved.

Parenting Research Centre 2012 Annual Report

69%

• Began planning three additional systematic reviews:

one on mindfulness-based interventions and two on

bereavement. The findings will be used by the Raising

WOMEN REPORTING

FATIGUE IN THE

FIRST YEAR AFTER

HAVING A CHILD.

1,000,000 c

1 MILLION (22%) OF AUSTRALIAN

CHILDREN AGED 0-17 YEARS

LIVED WITH ONE PARENT AND

HAD ANOTHER PARENT LIVING

ELSEWHERE IN 2006-07.

Children Network (RCN) to develop evidence-based

content for parents. The reviews were commissioned by

RCN and are being led by the University of Toronto.

8

L

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AROUND 17,5

ARE BORN PR

GESTATION) E

10%

OF FATHERS OF AN

INFANT EXPERIENCE

ELEVATED LEVELS OF

PSYCHOLOGICAL

DISTRESS.


MORE THAN

DOUBLED

LAST YEAR’S

JOURNAL PAPER

AROUND 17,5

ARE BORN PR

GESTATION) E

We Sharing bridge Knowledge the evidenceto-practice–to-policy

Knowledge translation and exchange

gap through translating

knowledge, and facilitating

effective dissemination and

knowledge.

We bridge the evidence-to-practice-to-policy gap through translating knowledge, and

facilitating effective dissemination and knowledge.

CASE STUDIES

14

CONFERENCE

PRESENTATIO

69%

WOMEN REPORTING

FATIGUE IN THE

FIRST YEAR AFTER

• Translating scientific knowledge for families

• Building a national knowledge-exchange strategy to improve outcomes for children of parents with

learning difficulties

• Bringing evidence and practice together to support parents of children with high and complex needs

HAVING A CHILD.

1,000,000 c

1 MILLION (22%) OF AUSTRALIAN

CHILDREN AGED 0-17 YEARS

LIVED WITH ONE PARENT AND

HAD ANOTHER PARENT LIVING

ELSEWHERE IN 2006-07.

8

L

C

Parenting Research Centre 2012 Annual Report

10%

OF FATHERS OF AN

INFANT EXPERIENCE

ELEVATED LEVELS OF

PSYCHOLOGICAL

DISTRESS.


Sharing Knowledge Knowledge translation and exchange

INVOLVING ANALYSIS OF THE EVIDENCE.

Translating scientific

knowledge for families

With 80 per cent of Australian families having internet

access at home, the demand for easy-to-access and

reliable child health and parenting information is

growing and growing.

Our research tells us that 94 per cent of users believe

the Raising Children website is a trusted source of online

parenting information. As a continuing testament to the

value of this resource, the website won three awards

in 2011: Australian Web Awards National Award for

Best Not-for-profit Website, and two Interactive Media

Awards (International) for the category Best in Class:

Family and category Best in Class: Community. We were

also nominated for Top 10 Website of the Year in a field

of over 90 industries.

The Raising Children website has seen a dramatic

rise in popularity with parents and professionals after

embarking on a multichannel communication strategy

to increase parent engagement and awareness, and

meet their communication preferences. The strategy

has opened up new avenues for direct communication

and engaged parents in an online space where parents

increasingly look for information.

Part of the strategy included Facebook and Twitter to

connect with new audiences in real time. These avenues

have brought more parents to the website and increased

our ‘fan’ growth by 90 per cent.

Our successful promotional campaign on Facebook,

Parenting: the Ultimate Juggling Act, was conducted in

April 2012 over three weeks. Parents were encouraged

to post stories about their everyday parenting triumphs.

94%

We received over 3700 visits and over 3000 unique

visitors to the site as a result of the campaign.

The marketing strategy also included an intensive focus

on search engine marketing. This ensured that the

Raising Children website appears high in the results

when parenting-related keywords are entered on search

engines – a big help for parents who are looking for

online information at their fingertips.

In addition to continuing our main work of developing

new content and maintaining the currency of existing

content, the Raising Children Network was contracted

to address a gap in online information for parents

with children with disabilities through the Australian

Government Better Start for Children with Disability

Initiative. Parents of children with Down syndrome,

Fragile X syndrome, Cerebral palsy, hearing impairment

and deaf-blindness shared their stories direct to camera

about their experiences of diagnosis and treatment. They

Worked with

also spoke about the importance of connecting with

NON-GOVERNMENT

other families, having supportive networks and looking

after

COMMUNITY

themselves. The clips

SERVICE

are rounded

AND

off with child

health HEALTH specialists PROVIDER explaining how AGENCIES

the conditions affect

children, IN NORTHERN describing different TERRITORY

therapies and the benefit

of early intervention.

We have noted a high level of interest from early

childhood professionals across Australia to tap into

useful and authoritative online resources. Understanding

PARENTS WHO TRUST THE RAISING CHILDREN

WEBSITE AS AN ONLINE PARENTING

INFORMATION SOURCE.

how Early Years professionals are better able to

share online information about children’s behaviour,

development and wellbeing is an ongoing area of

investigation during our three-year Embedding Strategy.

We have been investigating how early childhood services

and professionals can best incorporate Raising Children

as an evidence-based resource into their daily work MORE with THAN

children and into their conversations with parents. DOUBLED

LAST YEAR’S

JOURNAL PAPER

PARTNER: CENTRE FOR COMMUNITY CHILD HEALTH, MURDOCH

CHILDRENS RESEARCH INSTITUTE, ROYAL CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL

14

FUNDING: AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENT OF

FAMILIES, HOUSING, COMMUNITY SERVICES AND INDIGENOUS

AFFAIRS

CONFERENCE

PRESENTATIO

THE HEALTHY START ONLINE

PRACTICE NETWORK HAS MORE THAN

DOUBLED MEMBERSHIP.

262 MyTime groups

Website: raisingchildren.net.au

“I’m a huge fan! Have spent quite a few late nights

reading up on stuff over the last 3 years!”

Parenting Research Centre 2012 Annual Report

69%

WOMEN REPORTING

FATIGUE IN THE

FIRST YEAR AFTER

HAVING A CHILD.

1,000,000 c

1 MILLION (22%) OF AUSTRALIAN

CHILDREN AGED 0-17 YEARS

LIVED WITH ONE PARENT AND

HAD ANOTHER PARENT LIVING

ELSEWHERE IN 2006-07.

“Thank you so much for putting such useful and much

needed strategies in such an easily accessible format. I will

be referring parents to this site… Great resource.”

“This Australian site is packed with info and ideas. its

really great”

“A fantastic, current, practical, parent-supporting site –

thx for all ur hard work in supporting the ‘everyday

parent’ and enjoy ur well-earned break!”

8

L

C

AROUND 17,5

ARE BORN PR

GESTATION) E

10%

OF FATHERS OF AN

INFANT EXPERIENCE

ELEVATED LEVELS OF

PSYCHOLOGICAL

DISTRESS.


TO SERVICE

Sharing Knowledge Knowledge translation and exchange

Building a national

knowledge-exchange

strategy to improve

outcomes for children

of parents with learning

difficulties

Parents with learning difficulties can parent well, but

it is important that they receive the right support and

education matched to their learning

200

needs. There +

is a

sizeable gap between what research tells us about best

practice with parents with learning difficulties and what

actually happens in practice. Our vision is that all parents

who need support are provided with evidence-based

tailored support that matches their learning needs.

Healthy Start is a national capacity-building strategy

which aims to improve health and wellbeing outcomes

for children whose parents have learning difficulties.

We do this

94%

by working with practitioners, managers,

researchers and policymakers to exchange knowledge

and share resources and expertise in this field.

CONTRIBUTING TO

THE INTERNATIONAL

IMPLEMENTATION

MOVEMENT

The Healthy Start strategy uses a variety of methods to

disseminate, translate and exchange information and

engage professionals in learning about best practice

approaches to supporting and implementing those

approaches. Over the year, Healthy Start has engaged in

the following activities:

• facilitated four workshops and four face-to-face

forums, and delivered 11 presentations on supporting

parents with learning difficulties nationwide,

including Wodonga, Mildura, Darwin, Alice Springs,

Port Macquarie, Beenleigh and Perth

• posted summaries of key journal articles on the

Healthy Start website, as well as Practice Points,

guides to research insights and recommended actions

• published articles with a focus on best practice

strategies for supporting pregnant mothers with

learning difficulties in key magazines and journals

such as Nursing Review and the National Association

of Childbirth Educators

parenting programs reviewed

INVOLVING ANALYSIS OF THE EVIDENCE.

• developed a methodology for conducting a world-first

national prevalence study of parents with learning

difficulties (due for completion by 2014)

PARENTS WHO TRUST THE RAISING CHILDREN

WEBSITE AS AN ONLINE PARENTING

INFORMATION SOURCE.

• more than doubled membership on the online

Practice Network to over 320 people

• posted monthly discussion topics to the online forum;

topics included social isolation and supporting families

involved with child protection services

• sent regular emails to network members designed to

prompt reflection on the topic

• conducted weekly 30 minute online live chats

facilitated by a guest speakers and Healthy Start team

members

• conducted six online live chats facilitated by network

members.

Our achievements in the online Practice Network were

part of an integrated communication strategy with the

aim of engaging members to communicate directly, MORE THAN

collaborate and share ideas and resources for supporting DOUBLED

these families.

LAST YEAR’S

JOURNAL PAPER

PARTNER: AUSTRALIAN FAMILY AND DISABILITY STUDIES

RESEARCH COLLABORATION, FACULTY OF HEALTH SCIENCES,

UNIVERSITY OF SYDNEY

FUNDING: AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT UNDER THE FAMILY

SUPPORT PROGRAM

Website: www.healthystart.net.au

14

CONFERENCE

PRESENTATIO

69%

WOMEN REPORTING

FATIGUE IN THE

FIRST YEAR AFTER

HAVING A CHILD.

1,000,000 c

1 MILLION (22%) OF AUSTRALIAN

CHILDREN AGED 0-17 YEARS

LIVED WITH ONE PARENT AND

HAD ANOTHER PARENT LIVING

ELSEWHERE IN 2006-07.

8

L

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THE HEALTHY START ONLINE

PRACTICE NETWORK HAS MORE THAN

DOUBLED MEMBERSHIP.

Parenting Research Centre 2012 Annual Report

AROUND 17,5

ARE BORN PR

GESTATION) E

10%

OF FATHERS OF AN

INFANT EXPERIENCE

ELEVATED LEVELS OF

PSYCHOLOGICAL

DISTRESS.


Sharing Knowledge Knowledge translation and exchange

PRACTICE NETWORK HAS MORE THAN

DOUBLED MEMBERSHIP.

Bringing

Worked

evidence

with

and

practice NON-GOVERNMENT together to

COMMUNITY SERVICE AND

support

HEALTH PROVIDER

parents

AGENCIES

of

children IN NORTHERN with TERRITORY high and

complex needs

Parents and carers of children with complex needs

experience exceptional pressure to meet the emotional

and physical needs of that child and maintain family

functioning. Families where a child has a chronic illness

are also at increased risk of isolation from formal and

informal social support mechanisms; social relationships

may be disrupted, leaving parents feeling overwhelmed,

isolated and lacking support. In such circumstances,

ESTABLISHING

peer support is particularly important for parents; but

parents may have difficulty forming and maintaining

social connections due to A lack LEADER of time or feelings IN of

stigma. Increased stress and increased isolation mean

that parents are at increased risk of depression, anxiety,

and other poor psychosocial outcomes.

262 MyTime groups

OURSELVES AS

IMPLEMENTATION

Membership of a peer support group, bolstered by the

presence of local expertise and community connections,

is a promising method of improving parents’ social

connections and wellbeing.

MyTime is a national program of facilitated peer support

groups for fathers, mothers and other family carers of

a child with a disability, developmental delay or chronic

medical condition.

As the MyTime national coordinator, we ensure that

facilitated peer support has good reach and a positive

impact by supporting the organisations who deliver

MyTime groups. We collaborate with a diverse and

committed network of state and local providers, including

early intervention, disability and parenting agencies,

to provide 262 MyTime groups nationwide. Groups

are organised into local coalitions, each overseen and

supported by a Coalition Lead Agency. Working with lead

agencies allows us to combine program-wide evidence and

procedures with local knowledge and responsiveness.

Over the year, MyTime has engaged in the following

major development activities:

10+ years helping parents

Practice support: we held state-based forums for our

facilitators and coordinators as part of our continuing

program of providing practice support and practitioner

resources. Where possible, we delivered support face

to face, and we also provided support remotely via live

webinars or chats in real time, or via postings to online

discussions or pre-recorded webinars.

Enabling collaboration and improving peer

support: we continued to encourage facilitators and

coordinators to use our collaborative online website

HQ, which we use to organise, promote, and discuss

our practice support activities. Over the year we shared

information and ideas, canvassed ideas for practice

support, organised forums, and delivered support

MORE THAN

and training. This platform has the benefit of putting

DOUBLED

MyTime professionals in touch with each other across LAST YEAR’S

coalition boundaries, but we are mindful of not JOURNAL PAPER

increasing workload and time expected at a computer.

14

Improving evidence, improving MyTime: as part of a

focus across our organisation on providing the best possible

evidence base for all of our programs, we are conducting CONFERENCE

two research projects to investigate the mechanisms by

PRESENTATIO

which facilitated peer support work; these will help us

69%

learn how to improve MyTime’s reach, acceptability to

members and facilitators, and its effectiveness.

Parenting Research Centre 2012 Annual Report

WOMEN REPORTING

FATIGUE IN THE

FIRST YEAR AFTER

HAVING A CHILD.

1,000,000 c

FUNDING: AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENT OF FAMILIES,

HOUSING, COMMUNITY SERVICES AND INDIGENOUS 1 MILLION AFFAIRS (22%) OF AUSTRALIAN

CHILDREN AGED 0-17 YEARS

LIVED WITH ONE PARENT AND

HAD ANOTHER PARENT LIVING

ELSEWHERE IN 2006-07.

Website: www.mytime.net.au

8

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AROUND 17,5

ARE BORN PR

GESTATION) E

10%

OF FATHERS OF AN

INFANT EXPERIENCE

ELEVATED LEVELS OF

PSYCHOLOGICAL

DISTRESS.


AROUND 17,5

ARE BORN PR

GESTATION) E

We Sharing provide Knowledge specialist,

evidence-informed,

Implementation

support

to practitioners, organisations

and governments to

effectively and sustainably

implement

We provide

evidence-based

specialist, evidence-informed, support to practitioners, organisations and

and

governments

promising

to

practices

effectively

and

and sustainably implement evidence-based and promising

programs.

practices and programs.

MORE THAN

DOUBLED

LAST YEAR’S

JOURNAL PAPER

CASE STUDIES

• Supporting the implementation of family support services in Northern Territory

• Developing family support capacity in adult-focused services

• Enhancing the implementation of a parenting program for parents of children with a disability

• Building an implementable practice and program framework for dealing with family violence

• Supporting implementation of evidence-based practice for families of vulnerable children

14

CONFERENCE

PRESENTATIO

69%

WOMEN REPORTING

FATIGUE IN THE

FIRST YEAR AFTER

HAVING A CHILD.

1,000,000 c

1 MILLION (22%) OF AUSTRALIAN

CHILDREN AGED 0-17 YEARS

LIVED WITH ONE PARENT AND

HAD ANOTHER PARENT LIVING

ELSEWHERE IN 2006-07.

8

L

C

Parenting Research Centre 2012 Annual Report

10%

OF FATHERS OF AN

INFANT EXPERIENCE

ELEVATED LEVELS OF

PSYCHOLOGICAL

DISTRESS.


Sharing Knowledge Implementation

Supporting the

implementation of

family support services

in Northern Territory

In recent years, we have seen a growth in Australia of

intensive family support services for vulnerable families. This

is part of the national effort to improve the health, safety

and wellbeing of vulnerable children, and prevent family

involvement in our child protection system and the need for

out-of-home care. Despite this trend, few services adopt

a coherent, evidence-based practice model. Full and

effective implementation is rarely reached or sustained,

and little evaluation is done on any large scale.

Family support service providers and policymakers seeking

to establish an evidence-based approach to service

delivery will find there is little written for a community

service setting about how to go about making the critical

decisions on choosing and refining a practice model

that has the potential to significantly improve child and

family outcomes. Furthermore, there are relatively few

comprehensive guidelines on quality implementation of

practice specific to intensive family support.

Our implementation project in this setting involves

developing a support strategy to achieve the effective

multi-site implementation of an evidence-based,

culturally appropriate practice model for Intensive

Family Support Services across the Northern Territory

and South Australia. The services aim to improve the

health, safety and wellbeing of children engaged in the

child protection system in the Northern Territory, and in

particular, children who have been subject to neglect.

Five non-government community service and health

provider agencies are providing the service. They include:

1. Save the Children

2. Good Beginnings

3. The Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara

Women’s Council

4. Central Australian Aboriginal Congress

5. Anyinginyi Health Service.

A framework, based on research on implementation

in other fields of practice, and building on the work

of the National Implementation Research Network

in the United States, is being applied to support the

implementation of these new federally funded services.

Our role, as the Implementation Support Team, is to

support each service site to implement the practice

model and service as planned and achieve the best

possible outcomes for the families they are supporting.

The Implementation Support Team also facilitates

meetings between stakeholders through leading the

work of a Central Implementation Team. We support

ongoing communication between multiple services and

work to solve any potential risks.

Other support offered by the Implementation Support

Team includes:

• collaborative development and ongoing tailoring of

an outcomes-focused, evidence-based and culturally

appropriate practice model and service, including

development of practice materials and resources required

for workers and the families they are working with

• support for staff selection including recruitment and

retention of team members

• workforce development including regular workshop

training and ongoing practice development through

specialist practice coaches

• monitoring and reporting, including establishment

and regular review of the data forms, training in data

collection, analysis of data and production of quarterly

service outcome reports, and assistance with establishing

the infrastructure required to both effectively

implement and monitor the outcomes of the service

• planning of the establishment and implementation

of the service, including development of plans,

protocols and procedures and embedding of quality

improvement processes.

MORE THAN

Guided by an implementation framework drawn from

DOUBLED

research on implementation in family support, child LAST YEAR’S

welfare and other human service fields of practice, and JOURNAL PAPER

building on the work of the Research Network in the

United States, we have supported the implementation

14

process, attending to the development of worker and

organisational capacity and focusing on core drivers of

CONFERENCE

effective implementation. These activities have included: PRESENTATIO

support with staff selection, training workshops and

competency-based coaching; development of a data 69% base

WOMEN REPORTING

to support decision-making and improve the program FATIGUE IN THE

FIRST YEAR AFTER

and service; and facilitation and leadership of the Central

Implementation Team made up of project stakeholders

and including the Federal and Territory Governments.

HAVING A CHILD.

1,000,000 c

1 MILLION (22%) OF AUSTRALIAN

CHILDREN AGED 0-17 YEARS

LIVED WITH ONE PARENT AND

HAD ANOTHER PARENT LIVING

ELSEWHERE IN 2006-07.

The project is funded to 2014 and during this period

more provider agencies and sites will be engaged.

PARTNER: MENZIES SCHOOL OF HEALTH RESEARCH

8

L

C

AROUND 17,5

ARE BORN PR

GESTATION) E

FUNDING: AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENT OF

FAMILIES, HOUSING, COMMUNITY SERVICES AND INDIGENOUS

AFFAIRS UNDER THE FAMILY SUPPORT PROGRAM

10%

OF FATHERS OF AN

INFANT EXPERIENCE

ELEVATED LEVELS OF

PSYCHOLOGICAL

Parenting Research Centre 2012 Annual Report

DISTRESS.


Sharing Knowledge Implementation

Developing family

support capacity in

adult-focused services

There is increasing focus in the human services sector on

how adult-focused services can be more child-inclusive

in their approach, and take into account the needs of

the children who are presenting at services with their

parents. Better outcomes are achieved when services

consider the needs of children, and how to best support

adults in their parenting role. We are working with

practitioners from the Brisbane-based community service

agency, Micah Projects, to build the capacity of their

adult-focused services to better support and address the

needs of the whole family, including children.

The aim has been to collaboratively develop a set of

practice tools that incorporate evidence-based strategies

for engagement, information sharing and support for

both children and parents, that can also be delivered in

the context of adult-focused services.

In 2011, we worked with two service teams — the

Family Support Services team and the Homelessness

Assessment and Referral team — on enhancing the

capacity of practitioners to better identify the unique

needs of children whose parents access these services.

Both services assist families at risk of homelessness, with

one providing long-term support to families and the

other providing immediate support based on possibly a

single contact with each family.

We applied principles from implementation science to

develop and implement evidence-informed practice tools

for each team. This involved three steps:

1. Identifying outcomes for children accessing

each service

We facilitated a series of meetings with leaders and key

staff to identify goals for children in families accessing

their service. The outcomes identified for each service

are outlined below:

Family

Support

Services

Homelessness

Assessment

and Referral

Service

Long-term support for families at risk due to

homelessness

Outcomes

• secure, positive and dependable relationships

• basic physical health and safety needs met

• positive child development

• increased social connectedness

Service

Immediate support for families who may have

only a single contact with the service

Outcomes

• improved child physical safety and wellbeing

• increased child participation in early childhood

or education

2. Developing an evidence-informed practice

tool for each service based on the outcomes

identified

As the Family Support Services offer long-term support

to families, we developed a practice framework to

guide the family support practitioners in their work with

families in areas such as how to engage families, gather

information and set goals, develop a support plan, and

implement a support plan.

We also developed a practice guide for the

Homelessness Assessment and Referral team, who may

only have a single contact with an adult, to assist them

in gathering information and identifying support and

referral options for children at the point of contact.

3. Providing training and coaching

Early in 2012, we delivered face-to-face training to

family support staff members in how to use the practice

framework. This was followed by coaching of 12 staff

on implementation of the framework with families.

Coaching focused on using skill-based behaviouralrehearsal

techniques, and workers were encouraged to

reflect on their practice, share knowledge, and observe

other practitioners in order to learn core skills contained

within the framework.

We also delivered training in the practice guide to the

Homelessness Assessment and Referral team early in 2012.

Since July 2012, our work with Micah Projects has

MORE THAN

focused on revising the practice guide developed for

DOUBLED

the Homelessness Assessment and Referral team for LAST YEAR’S

use by other adult-focused services (e.g., homelessness JOURNAL PAPER

outreach support). The revision takes into account the

needs of children who are vulnerable not only due to

14

homelessness, but also due to domestic violence, parent

mental health difficulties and/or substance misuse.

CONFERENCE

Training and coaching in the use of the revised practice PRESENTATIO

guide will be delivered to four adult-focused service

teams in October.

FUNDING: MICAH PROJECTS, BRISBANE

Parenting Research Centre 2012 Annual Report

69%

WOMEN REPORTING

FATIGUE IN THE

FIRST YEAR AFTER

HAVING A CHILD.

1,000,000 c

1 MILLION (22%) OF AUSTRALIAN

CHILDREN AGED 0-17 YEARS

LIVED WITH ONE PARENT AND

HAD ANOTHER PARENT LIVING

ELSEWHERE IN 2006-07.

8

L

C

AROUND 17,5

ARE BORN PR

GESTATION) E

10%

OF FATHERS OF AN

INFANT EXPERIENCE

ELEVATED LEVELS OF

PSYCHOLOGICAL

DISTRESS.


Sharing Knowledge Implementation

Enhancing the

implementation of a

parenting program for

parents of children with

a disability

The Signposts for building better behaviour program has

been available for over 10 years to parents and carers

to help them prevent or manage difficult behaviour of

children who have developmental delay or disability.

The Signposts program is widely used in Victoria and

is now also routinely offered in Singapore to parents

of preschool children who have developmental delay

through the Child Development Clinic at KK Women’s

and Children’s Hospital. It is also offered in the United

Kingdom and in New Zealand. We continue to support

all trained facilitators in Australia and abroad, including

facilitators in Singapore, and at Chester and Wirral

Partnership in Chester, United Kingdom.

In the Signposts Capacity Building project within Victoria

we are working in partnership with four community

agencies to build their capability in program delivery:

1. Belmore School

2. Kalparrin Early Childhood Intervention Service

3. Melton Council

4. SPELD Victoria.

The implementation support strategies we developed

capitalised on each agency’s resources and opportunities

to embed the effective delivery of Signposts within their

OURSELVES AS

A LEADER IN

IMPLEMENTATION

routine practice. By early 2012, each agency had set up

an implementation team to plan and monitor the phases

of implementation. We assisted the agencies to analyse

staff and organisational factors which could impact on

each agency’s provision of Signposts. We also helped

each agency to plan and carry out the next steps toward

effective delivery of the program.

A major focus in the past year has been on developing

staff competence and confidence in our partner agencies

through training and on-the-job coaching.

FUNDING: VICTORIAN GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENT OF

EDUCATION AND EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT

87%

Website: www.signposts.net.au

10+ years helping parents

WITH DISABLED CHILDREN.

Half of families

WHO ACCESS FAMILY SUPPORT SERVICES HAVE

EXPERIENCED FAMILY VIOLENCE.

Wanslea partnership

DEVELOPING & SUPPORTING EVIDENCE -BASED PRACTICE.

STAFF SATISFIED

OR EXTREMELY

SATISFIED WITH

THEIR JOB

WE ARE IN

MELBOURNE

SYDNEY

DARWIN AND

Parenting Research Centre 2012 Annual Report

14

EMPLOYEES CONFERENCE

PRESENTATIO

GREW TO

107

69%

WOMEN REPORTING

FATIGUE IN THE

FIRST YEAR AFTER

HAVING A CHILD.

1,000,000 c

1 MILLION (22%) OF AUSTRALIAN 8

CHILDREN AGED 0-17 YEARS L

LIVED WITH ONE PARENT AND C

HAD ANOTHER PARENT LIVING

ELSEWHERE IN 2006-07.

MORE THAN

DOUBLED

LAST YEAR’S

JOURNAL PAPER

AROUND 17,5

ARE BORN PR

GESTATION) E

10%

OF FATHERS OF AN

INFANT EXPERIENCE

ELEVATED LEVELS OF

PSYCHOLOGICAL

DISTRESS.


IN NORTHERN TERRITORY

Sharing Knowledge Implementation

ESTABLISHING

OURSELVES AS

A LEADER IN

IMPLEMENTATION

Building an

implementable practice

and program framework

for dealing with family

violence

Fifty per cent of families who access family support

services have experienced family violence. This is what

UnitingCare Burnside, one of Australia’s largest family

support organisations, found when they looked at data

from two of their services, Brighter Futures and Intensive

Family-Based Services. The agency recognised an urgent

need to equip staff members who work in these two

services with tools and practices to more effectively meet

10+ years helping parents

WITH DISABLED CHILDREN.

Half of families

WHO ACCESS FAMILY SUPPORT SERVICES HAVE

EXPERIENCED FAMILY VIOLENCE.

Wanslea partnership

the needs of families experiencing domestic violence.

The agency engaged us to develop an evidence-informed

practice framework that can better support children and

families who are exposed to domestic violence, and that

also fits well with their current service model.

DEVELOPING & SUPPORTING EVIDENCE -BASED PRACTICE.

87%

STAFF SATISFIED

Our work was guided by a phased approach to bridging

the evidence-to-practice gap.

EMPLOYEES

GREW TO

First, we worked together to clarify the needs and

concerns of the families and children exposed to domestic

violence, and identified desired outcomes of the practice

approach. These discussions helped senior staff and service

managers to clearly define who would benefit from the

practice approach, and to clarify what the approach could

achieve. The ultimate goal of this process was for any

decisions about target populations and outcomes to

inform the design of an appropriate and contextually

relevant intervention, which can be implemented within

a large-scale family support service environment.

The next phase for this project will involve identifying

evidence-based practices that have demonstrated

effectiveness at meeting outcomes for this target

MORE THAN

population. We will also take into account the suitability

DOUBLED

of these practices to the specific context of the agency, LAST YEAR’S

promoting the ability to implement this evidence-based JOURNAL PAPER

approach.

14

PARTNER: UNITINGCARE BURNSIDE

FUNDING: UNITINGCARE BURNSIDE

CONFERENCE

PRESENTATIO

Parenting Research Centre 2012 Annual Report

69%

WOMEN REPORTING

FATIGUE IN THE

FIRST YEAR AFTER

HAVING A CHILD.

1,000,000 c

1 MILLION (22%) OF AUSTRALIAN

CHILDREN AGED 0-17 YEARS

LIVED WITH ONE PARENT AND

HAD ANOTHER PARENT LIVING

ELSEWHERE IN 2006-07.

8

L

C

AROUND 17,5

ARE BORN PR

GESTATION) E

10%

OF FATHERS OF AN

INFANT EXPERIENCE

ELEVATED LEVELS OF

PSYCHOLOGICAL

DISTRESS.


Sharing Knowledge Implementation

Supporting

implementation of

evidence-based practice

for families of

vulnerable children

Family support services are increasingly aware of the

benefits of service delivery based on evidence-informed

practice, but it is often challenging for organisations to

adopt and implement changes in practice in a sustained

and routine way across the whole agency.

We are developing a systematic framework for

implementation support within the family services sector.

This framework is based on conceptual models that

are grounded in the science of understanding how to

implement innovations with good effect and quality.

We are working closely in partnership with Wanslea Family

Services, Perth, to build their capacity to successfully

implement evidence-based practices in their work

with families at risk of child abuse and neglect. Our

collaboration aims to help workers deliver services that

address the needs of the children and families they support,

and takes into account its unique organisational context.

Working through a strategy that involved an early

exploration phase, and moved towards an initial installation

phase, we were engaged in the following activities:

• completed assessments of critical implementation

elements around staff competency (selection, training

and coaching) and organisational support (data,

administrative support and policies and procedures)

• developed a plan for building further capacity within

these critical elements to strengthen implementation

87%

• trained staff in the use of an assessment and

case-planning measure called the Strengths and

Stressors Tool which will become a routine part of

the data collection on families, and will provide a

strengths-based platform for planning supports and

intervention for each family

• trained 20 social workers to use the new practice

framework with families

• provided further coaching to those workers to ensure

quality implementation of the approach with the

families they support

• recruited three practice coaches from within Wanslea to

become in-house coaches, whose role SYDNEY

will be to build

the organisational capacity to deliver quality support

to workers once our involvement is completed.

To ensure that the implementation process stays

on track, Wanslea holds monthly meetings with an

implementation team to provide solutions to the

inevitable challenges that arise during the process.

This project exemplifies our approach to supporting the

implementation of evidence-informed practices and

programs within agencies.

PARTNER: WANSLEA FAMILY SERVICES

FUNDING: WANSLEA FAMILY SERVICES

WHO ACCESS FAMILY SUPPORT SERVICES HAVE

EXPERIENCED FAMILY VIOLENCE.

Wanslea partnership

DEVELOPING & SUPPORTING EVIDENCE -BASED PRACTICE.

STAFF SATISFIED

OR EXTREMELY

SATISFIED WITH

THEIR JOB

WE ARE IN

MELBOURNE

DARWIN AND

CANBERRA

97% OF STAFF

RATE OUR

CULTURE

AS POSITIVE

OR VERY POSITIVE

80% 90%

Parenting Research Centre 2012 Annual Report

EMPLOYEES

GREW TO

107

MORE THAN

DOUBLED

LAST YEAR’S

JOURNAL PAPER

14

CONFERENCE

PRESENTATIO

69%

WOMEN REPORTING

FATIGUE IN THE

FIRST YEAR AFTER

HAVING A CHILD.

1,000,000 c

1 MILLION (22%) OF AUSTRALIAN

CHILDREN AGED 0-17 YEARS

LIVED WITH ONE PARENT AND

HAD ANOTHER PARENT LIVING

ELSEWHERE IN 2006-07.

8

L

C

AROUND 17,5

ARE BORN PR

GESTATION) E

10%

OF FATHERS OF AN

INFANT EXPERIENCE

ELEVATED LEVELS OF

PSYCHOLOGICAL

DISTRESS.


Culture

Best people

Doing business

Stakeholders

Half of families Half of families Half of families

WHO ACCESS FAMILY SUPPORT SERVICES HAVE

EXPERIENCED FAMILY VIOLENCE.

WHO ACCESS FAMILY WHO SUPPORT ACCESS SERVICES FAMILY HAVE SUPPORT SERVICES HAVE

EXPERIENCED FAMILY EXPERIENCED VIOLENCE. FAMILY VIOLENCE.

Our Organisation

80%

87%

107

GREW TO

87%

107

WE ARE IN

107

STAFF SATISFIED STAFF SATISFIED MELBOURNE

OR EXTREMELY OR EXTREMELY SYDNEY

MORE THAN

SATISFIED WITH SATISFIED WITH DARWIN AND DOUBLED

LAST YEAR’S

THEIR JOB

CANBERRA

JOURNAL PAPERS

97% OF STAFF

WE ARE IN WE ARE IN RATE OUR

MELBOURNE MELBOURNE CULTURE

SYDNEY SYDNEY AS POSITIVE

DARWIN AND DARWIN OR VERY AND POSITIVE

CANBERRA CANBERRA

97% OF STAFF 97% OF STAFF

RATE OUR

97% OF STAFF

RATE OUR Funding base

CULTURE

RATE OUR

CULTURE

AS POSITIVE AS POSITIVE

Governance

CULTURE

OR VERY POSITIVE

AS POSITIVE

OR VERY POSITIVE OR VERY POSITIVE

Senior leadership

87%

STAFF SATISFIED

OR EXTREMELY

SATISFIED WITH

THEIR JOB

EMPLOYEES

Wanslea partnership Wanslea partnership Wanslea partnership

DEVELOPING & SUPPORTING EVIDENCE -BASED PRACTICE.

DEVELOPING & SUPPORTING DEVELOPING EVIDENCE & SUPPORTING -BASED PRACTICE. EVIDENCE -BASED PRACTICE.

80%

87%

STAFF SATISFIED

OR EXTREMELY

SATISFIED WITH

THEIR JOB

WE ARE IN

MELBOURNE

SYDNEY

DARWIN AND

CANBERRA

90%

EMPLOYEES

GREW TO

THEIR JOB

80%

OF STAFF BELIEVE THEIR

WORK IS MEANINGFUL.

107 employees

EMPLOYEES

GREW TO

69% 52%

WOMEN REPORTING

WOMEN STILL

FATIGUE IN THE

EXPERIENCING

FIRST YEAR AFTER

FATIGUE MORE

HAVING A CHILD.

18 MONTHS LA

1,000,000 90% children

1 MILLION (22%) OF AUSTRALIAN 82% OF PARENTS WHO A

CHILDREN AGED 0-17 YEARS LIVING APART FROM THEI

LIVED WITH ONE PARENT BELIEVE AND THAT CHILDREN ARE FATHERS.

HAD ANOTHER PARENT LIVING

ELSEWHERE IN 2006-07.

10%

CONFERENCE

PRESENTATIONS

90%

OF INFANT FATHERS OF AN

ELEVATED EXPERIENCE

LEVELS OF

PSYCHOLOGICAL

Parenting Research Centre 2012 Annual DISTRESS. Report

80%

FULL-TIME, PART-TIME 90% AND CASUAL.

OF STAFF BELIEVE THEIR

BELIEVE THAT THEY ARE

WORK IS MEANINGFUL.

OF STAFF BELIEVE

NEEDED

THEIR OF STAFF AND RELIED BELIEVE BELIEVE THEIR THAT THEY BELIEVE ARE THAT THEY ARE

WORK IS MEANINGFUL. 5 PHASES: NEEDED OUR PROJECT AND RELIED MANAGEMENT PROCESS

14 STA

AROUND 17,500 AUSTRALIAN BABIES

ARE BORN PREMATURELY (BEFORE 37 W

GESTATION) EVERY YEAR.

1km

EMP

GRE

10

68

INCREA

INTERN

JOURN

AND STU

4THES

NEEDED AND RELIE

UPON BY OTHERS.

43%

HAVE PERSISTE

RECURRENT PRO

OVER THE FIRST

4 YEARS OF THE

CHILD’S LIFE.


Our Organisation

AS POSITIVE

OR VERY POSITIVE

80%

OF STAFF BELIEVE THEIR

WORK IS MEANINGFUL.

90%

BELIEVE THAT THEY ARE

NEEDED AND RELIED

UPON BY OTHERS.

Culture

107 employees

Organisational FULL-TIME, culture is crucial PART-TIME AND CASUAL.

in a knowledge industry, and

especially 5 PHASES: so OUR in a PROJECT team-based MANAGEMENT PROCESS

organisation such Initiation as ours.

Implementation

Strong and positive working

relationships underpin our

Authorisation

excellence and innovation. Closure

Staff rate our organisational culture very positively. Over

80 per cent of staff believe their work is meaningful;

that they have the freedom and flexibility they need;

that they can exercise ‘say’ over their work; and that

Establishment

Over

200

media appearances

they get the help and support they need from colleagues

and mangers. Over 90 per cent believe that they are

needed and relied upon by others.

But we do not take these strengths for granted. Following

extensive staff surveys and consultation this year, we

have developed and implemented a plan of action

designed to preserve and further enhance our strong

and healthy working culture. Our plan includes refining

policies related to staff wellbeing, establishing contact

officers, identifying core values to guide interpersonal

behaviour in the workplace, introducing regular ‘checkin’

conversations with staff, and developing the capacity

of our managers and supervisors. Implementation of the

plan was well underway by end of 2011–12.

Staff health and safety is also important to our

organisational success. This year we rolled out an

extensive eLearning program covering areas related

to employee health, safety and supervision, and

management. We also conducted healthy lifestyle

activities such as cooking demonstrations and

mindfulness sessions, and promoted exercise routines.

One of the rewarding aspects of our focus on staff

wellbeing has been the successful acceptance of our first

report for the Equal Opportunity for Women Agency.

MORE THAN

DOUBLED

LAST YEAR’S

JOURNAL PAPERS

14 STA

CONFERENCE

PRESENTATIONS

69%

WOMEN REPORTING

FATIGUE IN THE

FIRST YEAR AFTER

HAVING A CHILD.

1,000,000 children

1 MILLION (22%) OF AUSTRALIAN

CHILDREN AGED 0-17 YEARS

LIVED WITH ONE PARENT AND

HAD ANOTHER PARENT LIVING

ELSEWHERE IN 2006-07.

68

INCREA

INTERN

JOURN

AND STU

4THES

52%

WOMEN STILL

EXPERIENCING

FATIGUE MORE

18 MONTHS LA

82% OF PARENTS WHO A

LIVING APART FROM THEI

CHILDREN ARE FATHERS.

AROUND 17,500 AUSTRALIAN BABIES

ARE BORN PREMATURELY (BEFORE 37 W

GESTATION) EVERY YEAR.

DOWNLOAD

FINANCIAL REPORT

DOWNLOAD

FINANCIAL REPORT

10%

OF FATHERS OF AN

INFANT EXPERIENCE

ELEVATED LEVELS OF

PSYCHOLOGICAL

Parenting Research Centre 2012 Annual DISTRESS. Report

43%

HAVE PERSISTE

RECURRENT PRO

OVER THE FIRST

4 YEARS OF THE

CHILD’S LIFE.

1km


AROUND 17,500 AUSTRALIAN BABIES

ARE BORN PREMATURELY (BEFORE 37 W

GESTATION) EVERY YEAR.

Our Organisation

Best people

Our staff has grown to

107 full-time, part-time and

casual employees. In addition

to our offices in Melbourne

and Sydney, we also now

have staff working from

Canberra and Darwin.

In order to ensure that we continue to attract and

retain high performing staff, we did a major piece of

work to determine our Employee Value Proposition.

Staff told us that the meaningfulness of our work,

our professional yet relaxed culture, the quality of our

people, and flexible work practices are highly valued

aspects of our organisation. As a result of this work,

we will be focusing next year on improving professional

development opportunities for our staff. This will be one

aspect among a range of new initiatives designed to

improve our competitiveness as an employer of choice.

WORK IS MEANINGFUL.

107 employees

FULL-TIME, PART-TIME AND CASUAL.

5 PHASES: OUR PROJECT MANAGEMENT PROCESS

Authorisation

Initiation

Establishment

Over

200

media appearances

DOWNLOAD

FINANCIAL REPORT

Implementation

Closure

NEEDED AND RELIED

UPON BY OTHERS.

MORE THAN

DOUBLED

LAST YEAR’S

JOURNAL PAPERS

14 STA

CONFERENCE

PRESENTATIONS

69%

WOMEN REPORTING

FATIGUE IN THE

FIRST YEAR AFTER

HAVING A CHILD.

1,000,000 children

1 MILLION (22%) OF AUSTRALIAN

CHILDREN AGED 0-17 YEARS

LIVED WITH ONE PARENT AND

HAD ELSEWHERE ANOTHER IN 2006-07.

PARENT LIVING

DOWNLOAD

FINANCIAL REPORT

68

INCREA

INTERN

JOURN

AND STU

4THES

52%

WOMEN STILL

EXPERIENCING

FATIGUE MORE

18 MONTHS LA

82% OF PARENTS WHO A

LIVING APART FROM THEI

CHILDREN ARE FATHERS.

PROVIDING

EVIDENCE-INFORMED

IMPLEMENTATION

SUPPORT

10%

OF FATHERS OF AN

INFANT EXPERIENCE

ELEVATED LEVELS OF

PSYCHOLOGICAL

Parenting Research Centre 2012 Annual DISTRESS. Report

1km

43%

HAVE PERSISTE

RECURRENT PRO

OVER THE FIRST

4 YEARS OF THE

CHILD’S LIFE.


Our Organisation

Doing business

Our business systems continue

to evolve with our drive towards

greater productivity, efficiency

and quality.

We invested in a new Human Resource Management

System which has improved the management of payroll

and employee information.

Financial management systems have been reviewed in line

with current accounting standards, resulting in ongoing

development of the financial frameworks supporting

programs and projects, and harmonisation with overall

operational requirements. We continue to exceed legislative

requirements in general purpose financial reporting.

Our organisation is responsible for multimillion dollar

research projects, so it is paramount that we have robust

systems of knowledge management, and business

processes to help us conduct ethically sound research.

We have upgraded our information technology (IT)

infrastructure to accommodate a high quality storage area

network (SAN) and upgrade our internet bandwidth. And

we have strengthened our risk-management strategies to

ensure business continuity by installing additional servers

and tape backup systems to minimise the downtime

caused by server failure, reduce the risk of data loss and

ensure data backup in case of disaster.

Another important achievement was increasing access

to all of our program and organisational websites and

their security by moving them to one of the most secure

webhosting sites in Australia.

Over the last four years we have been developing our

intranet, particularly our online project management

200

system. This year we focused on training staff to use

the intranet system to manage, monitor and evaluate

the status of projects. We have also been building

our capacity to deliver and support eLearning, so

far establishing infrastructure required for eLearning

programs developed by three of our programs.

Another significant achievement has been the review

of our branding. The result was a more comprehensive

branding policy and a suite of resources that includes

branding guidelines for staff and contractors, and a

range of updated templates for reports, presentations

and flyers. We are already seeing the benefits of having

these resources readily accessible on our intranet and

used by staff in their work.

FULL-TIME, PART-TIME AND CASUAL.

5 PHASES: OUR PROJECT MANAGEMENT PROCESS

Authorisation

Over

Initiation

Establishment

media appearances

DOWNLOAD

FINANCIAL REPORT

Implementation

Closure

MORE THAN

DOUBLED

LAST YEAR’S

JOURNAL PAPERS

CONFERENCE

DOWNLOAD

PRESENTATIONS

69%

WOMEN REPORTING

FATIGUE IN THE

FIRST YEAR AFTER

HAVING A CHILD.

10%

OF FATHERS OF AN

INFANT EXPERIENCE

ELEVATED LEVELS OF

PSYCHOLOGICAL

Parenting Research Centre 2012 Annual DISTRESS. Report

14 STA

82% OF PARENTS WHO A

LIVING APART FROM THEI

CHILDREN ARE FATHERS.

AROUND 17,500 AUSTRALIAN BABIES

ARE BORN PREMATURELY (BEFORE 37 W

GESTATION) EVERY YEAR.

1km

68

INCREA

INTERN

JOURN

AND STU

FINANCIAL 4THES REPORT

52%

WOMEN STILL

EXPERIENCING

FATIGUE MORE

18 MONTHS LA

1,000,000 children

PROVIDING

1 MILLION (22%) OF AUSTRALIAN

CHILDREN AGED 0-17 YEARS

LIVED WITH ONE PARENT AND

EVIDENCE-INFORMED

HAD ANOTHER PARENT LIVING

ELSEWHERE IN 2006-07.

IMPLEMENTATION

SUPPORT

TO NON-GOVERNMENT AND

GOVERNMENT AGENCIES

43%

HAVE PERSISTE

RECURRENT PRO

OVER THE FIRST

4 YEARS OF THE

CHILD’S LIFE.


AROUND 17,500 AUSTRALIAN BABIES

ARE BORN PREMATURELY (BEFORE 37 W

GESTATION) EVERY YEAR.

Our Organisation

Stakeholders

We strive to be valued and

respected by our stakeholders.

While we are aware that our stakeholders already have

a high level of confidence in the projects and programs

we deliver, we nevertheless continue our drive towards

higher quality.

To this end we are well on the way to establishing

our Quality Management Systems according to

ISO9001:2008 Quality Standards. We aim to obtain

accreditation by the end of 2012, supported by SAI

Global Ltd.

Our public profile continues to grow, particularly in

the media. We received over 200 media appearances

in 2011–12, with the majority coming from Tier 1

metropolitan print, radio and TV outlets.

Authorisation

Initiation

Establishment

Over

200

media appearances

DOWNLOAD

FINANCIAL REPORT

Implementation

Closure

PROVIDING

EVIDENCE-INFORMED

IMPLEMENTATION

SUPPORT

TO NON-GOVERNMENT AND

GOVERNMENT AGENCIES

MORE THAN

DOUBLED

LAST YEAR’S

JOURNAL PAPERS

DOWNLOAD

FINANCIAL REPORT

14 STA

CONFERENCE

PRESENTATIONS

69%

WOMEN REPORTING

FATIGUE IN THE

FIRST YEAR AFTER

HAVING A CHILD.

1,000,000 children

1 MILLION (22%) OF AUSTRALIAN

CHILDREN AGED 0-17 YEARS

LIVED WITH ONE PARENT AND

HAD ANOTHER PARENT LIVING

ELSEWHERE IN 2006-07.

68

INCREA

INTERN

JOURN

AND STU

4THES

52%

WOMEN STILL

EXPERIENCING

FATIGUE MORE

18 MONTHS LA

82% OF PARENTS WHO A

LIVING APART FROM THEI

CHILDREN ARE FATHERS.

10%

OF FATHERS OF AN

INFANT EXPERIENCE

ELEVATED LEVELS OF

PSYCHOLOGICAL

Parenting Research Centre 2012 Annual DISTRESS. Report

1km

43%

HAVE PERSISTE

RECURRENT PRO

OVER THE FIRST

4 YEARS OF THE

CHILD’S LIFE.


Our Organisation

5 PHASES: OUR PROJECT MANAGEMENT PROCESS

Funding base

Initiation Implementation

During these tough economic

times, Authorisation we have maintained

Closure

prudent fiscal management

policies to minimise any Establishment

financial risk.

Over

The economic conditions have also changed funding

patterns

200

over the last 12 months. While we have

continued to attract funding for large-scale projects, we

have also attracted an increasing number of smallerbudget

contracts.

media appearances

MORE THAN

DOUBLED

LAST YEAR’S

JOURNAL PAPERS

68

INCREA

INTERN

JOURN

DOWNLOAD

FINANCIAL REPORT

PROVIDING

EVIDENCE-INFORMED

IMPLEMENTATION

We will continue to review our financial systems and

processes to ensure that we stay relevant and efficient.

We are also continuing our efforts in obtaining

Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) status as a Research

Institute which will provide another avenue for raising

revenue through philanthropic SUPPORT

funding.

TO NON-GOVERNMENT AND

GOVERNMENT AGENCIES

DOWNLOAD

FINANCIAL REPORT

14 STA

CONFERENCE

PRESENTATIONS

69%

WOMEN REPORTING

FATIGUE IN THE

FIRST YEAR AFTER

HAVING A CHILD.

1,000,000 children

1 MILLION (22%) OF AUSTRALIAN

CHILDREN AGED 0-17 YEARS

LIVED WITH ONE PARENT AND

HAD ANOTHER PARENT LIVING

ELSEWHERE IN 2006-07.

AND STU

4THES

52%

WOMEN STILL

EXPERIENCING

FATIGUE MORE

18 MONTHS LA

82% OF PARENTS WHO A

LIVING APART FROM THEI

CHILDREN ARE FATHERS.

AROUND 17,500 AUSTRALIAN BABIES

ARE BORN PREMATURELY (BEFORE 37 W

GESTATION) EVERY YEAR.

10%

OF FATHERS OF AN

INFANT EXPERIENCE

ELEVATED LEVELS OF

PSYCHOLOGICAL

Parenting Research Centre 2012 Annual DISTRESS. Report

1km

43%

HAVE PERSISTE

RECURRENT PRO

OVER THE FIRST

4 YEARS OF THE

CHILD’S LIFE.


Our Organisation

Governance

Our Board represents a diverse

and rich breadth of experience

across research, business,

marketing, government and

community services.

Members

Chair

John Lawrence

Chief Executive Officer,

UnitingCare Gippsland

Read more

Our organisation has been served well by highly

engaged and dedicated professionals. However, as

a result of instituting fixed terms, this year we saw

substantial Board renewal.

We farewelled long-standing members of the Board,

who made substantial contributions to the work and

success of the organisation including Vivian Amery

(who served as Chair from 2011), Professor Vicki

Anderson, Heather Barton and Peter Gray (who was a

long-standing Chair of our Audit Committee). Professor

Dorothy Scott, Michael White and Kathleen Forrester

also stepped down during the year. In rebuilding the

Board, we welcomed Craig Heiner, Lindsay Heywood,

Alana Killen, Tim McEvoy and Tass Mousaferiadis.

A major piece of work conducted by the Board through its

transition was preparation for our next strategic planning

phase. It was the Board’s assessment that our broad

strategic settings are right. However, to assist in refining the

strategic direction of the organisation, the Allen Consulting

group was engaged to prepare a discussion paper on

improving service delivery and influencing social policy.

The outcome of this work will be reflected in our revised

strategic plan to be published in December 2012.

We thank all existing and retiring Members for their invaluable

service to the work of the Parenting Research Centre.

Kathleen Forrester

Director, Client Outcomes,

Strategy and Planning, Disability

Services Division, Victorian

Department of Human Services

Alana Killen

Chief Executive Officer,

Australasian College for

Emergency Medicine

Read more

Elinor Graham

Strategic Marketing and

Communications Consultant

Read more

Tim McEvoy

Barrister, Visiting professor at the

University of Virginia, USA

Read more

Craig Heiner

Managing Director, North East

Read more

Tass Mousaferiadis

Director, beyondblue: national

men’s health program

Read more

MORE THAN

DOUBLED

LAST YEAR’S

JOURNAL PAPERS

Dr Lindsay Heywood

Director of Higher Education

Standards

Read more

CONFERENCE

PRESENTATIONS

69%

WOMEN REPORTING

FATIGUE IN THE

FIRST YEAR AFTER

HAVING A CHILD.

1,000,000 children

1 MILLION (22%) OF AUSTRALIAN

CHILDREN AGED 0-17 YEARS

LIVED WITH ONE PARENT AND

HAD ANOTHER PARENT LIVING

ELSEWHERE IN 2006-07.

10%

OF FATHERS OF AN

INFANT EXPERIENCE

ELEVATED LEVELS OF

PSYCHOLOGICAL

Parenting Research Centre 2012 Annual DISTRESS. Report

68

INCREA

INTERN

JOURN

14 STA

AND STU

4THES

52%

WOMEN STILL

EXPERIENCING

FATIGUE MORE

18 MONTHS LA

82% OF PARENTS WHO A

LIVING APART FROM THEI

CHILDREN ARE FATHERS.

AROUND 17,500 AUSTRALIAN BABIES

Michael White ARE BORN PREMATURELY (BEFORE 37 W

GESTATION) EVERY YEAR.

Director MW Group

Consulting Pty Ltd; Director,

Economics and Policy Practice,

PricewaterhouseCoopers

43%

HAVE PERSISTE

RECURRENT PRO

OVER THE FIRST

4 YEARS OF THE

CHILD’S LIFE.

1km


AROUND 17,500 AUSTRALIAN BABIES

ARE BORN PREMATURELY (BEFORE 37 W

GESTATION) EVERY YEAR.

Our Organisation

Senior leadership

The Executive team are

responsible for the

management of research

strategy, research income,

development, infrastructure

and operational issues.

Warren Cann

Chief Executive Officer

Read more

Dr Julie Green

Executive Director, Raising

Children Network

Read more

Dr Robyn Mildon

Director, Knowledge Exchange

and Implementation

Read more

Professor Jan Nicholson

Director, Research

Read more

MORE THAN

DOUBLED

LAST YEAR’S

JOURNAL PAPERS

14 STA

Christian Thompson

Director, Operations

Read more

CONFERENCE

PRESENTATIONS

69%

WOMEN REPORTING

FATIGUE IN THE

FIRST YEAR AFTER

HAVING A CHILD.

1,000,000 children

1 MILLION (22%) OF AUSTRALIAN

CHILDREN AGED 0-17 YEARS

LIVED WITH ONE PARENT AND

HAD ANOTHER PARENT LIVING

ELSEWHERE IN 2006-07.

68

INCREA

INTERN

JOURN

AND STU

4THES

52%

WOMEN STILL

EXPERIENCING

FATIGUE MORE

18 MONTHS LA

82% OF PARENTS WHO A

LIVING APART FROM THEI

CHILDREN ARE FATHERS.

10%

OF FATHERS OF AN

INFANT EXPERIENCE

ELEVATED LEVELS OF

PSYCHOLOGICAL

Parenting Research Centre 2012 Annual DISTRESS. Report

1km

43%

HAVE PERSISTE

RECURRENT PRO

OVER THE FIRST

4 YEARS OF THE

CHILD’S LIFE.


Parenting Research Centre

Level 5, 232 Victoria Parade

East Melbourne, Victoria

Australia 3002

www.parentingrc.org.au

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