- Past projects
Evaluation of the Child and Family Assessment and Referral Network (CFARN)
Investigators: Yasmin Harman-Smith, Sandra Van Diermen, Mary Brushe, Alanna Sincovich, Sally Brinkman
Across Australia, the child protection system is struggling to meet increasing demands. There were over 396,000 notifications to child protection systems in Australia in 2017-2018, involving approximately 245,000 children. Of these notifications, 146,000 were assessed as requiring further investigation, while the remaining 251,000 were dealt with through other means such as referral to a support service.
To address the system dysfunction, contributing to increasing child protection burden, the Royal Commission into child protection in South Australia called for government and non-government agencies to focus on preventative or early intervention strategies, starting in the antenatal period, in order to better support families to safely care for their children. A ‘dual pathway’ system was recommended that provided an alternative to involvement with the statutory agency. The alternative proposed in the dual pathway system is that at-risk families be referred to and access support services provided outside the child protection system (i.e. through other government departments and the non-government service sector). The Child and Family Assessment and Referral Network (CFARN) pilot program was established in response to these recommendations.
Researchers from the Telethon Kids Institute in partnership with the BetterStart Group at the University of Adelaide, were engaged to conduct an evaluation of the CFARN pilot sites. The evaluation assessed whether the program improved the experience of families at risk of child protection involvement and contributed to reduced risk for children.
BetterStart (The University of Adelaide)
Funders of the project
Department for Education, South Australia
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