Planning and implementing evidence-based programs and practice in family services in rural and regional NSW


Dorothée, Me, Deb

The following is the text of a session that Dorothée Crawley (CentaCare Wilcannia Forbes), Deborah Hartman (Family Action Centre) and I presented at the Family and Relationship Services Australia (FRSA) conference

FRSAGraeme Stuart

We’d like to start by acknowledging the traditional custodians of the land we meet on and pay respect to their Elders past and present. We also pay respect to the knowledge and experience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and practitioners throughout Australia.

We’re really pleased to be able to present today as we’re passionate about working with families and believe it’s important that our work is continually informed by a wide range of evidence.

I’m going to briefly introduce the project we’ve been involved in and discuss some of what we’ve learnt, Dorothee will outline her experience of using evidence in practice and then Deb will suggest some implications for policy and practice.

We were funded through the DSS Children and Families Expert Panel to support 9 services funded through the Children and Parenting Support program to enhance their ability to implement evidence-based programs and practice. Continue reading

Posted in Families & parenting | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Measuring impact and being open and transparent

A drop of water

(Photo: Evan Leeson)

If measurement is going to make a major difference to the practice of family and community work, we need to become much better at being transparent, open and honest. Not surprisingly, when we talk publicly about what we do, we generally try to present it in the best light possible, which can mean minimising or disguising challenges and negatives.

Listening to Senator Zeb Seselja (the Assistant Minister for Social Services and Multicultural Affairs) at the opening of the Family and Relationship Services Australia (FRSA) conference, I reflected on what a huge change is required. The Senator spoke about all the great work the government is doing to support families and the great changes they’ve made. It was more of a sales pitch than open, honest reflection. I don’t want to suggest that he was worse than other people as he is not alone, and I do it too.

Continue reading

Posted in Being an academic | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Visit by Indonesian academics (part 2)


Our Indonesian visitors at Bar Beach

The second half of the visit by the Indonesian academics from UIN Raden Fatah Palembang and UIN Sumatera Utara, to look at the integration of research, teaching and community outreach, went well. Continue reading

Posted in Being an academic | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Visit by Indonesian academics

welcomeThe Family Action Centre is currently hosting a visit by 23 Indonesian academics from two State Islamic Universities: UIN Raden Fatah Palembang and UIN Sumatera Utara. Continue reading

Posted in Being an academic | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Photographic reflections on the Fair Share Festival


The Fair Share Festival upcycled banner

The Fair Share Festival is over! I’ll post some more detailed reflections later, but here are a few photos and some initial thoughts.

The rain radar Saturday morningAfter a successful screening of The True Cost (a documentary about fast fashion) on Thursday, we woke on Saturday to heavy rain. Much of the set up was done in  the rain, but the weather did clear before the start of the Festival. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t kind to us as it was quite hot on both Saturday and Sunday – especially as much of the festival was on the dark concrete playground – and there were strong winds. In fact while a local TV news crew were filming in the main hall, we nearly had a 6×6 metre marquee blow away! It would have been one way to get on the news! Continue reading

Posted in Environmental sustainability, Working with communities | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

A blogging milestone

sustaining-community-blog-statsAfter I had been blogging for a little while, I remember Tricia from Little Echo Footprints (who now micro-blogs at triciaeco) telling me that she averaged around 500 views/day. At the time (2012) I was averaging around 20 views/day and I doubted I would every have that many people looking at my blog.

Last month I finally made it:  16,220 views for the month with an average of 523 views/day! Continue reading

Posted in Being an academic, Personal | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

Two girls and a tiny house

Jasmine (my 15-year old daughter) and a friend Larni (16) are building a Tiny House out of second-hand, discarded and waste material for the Fair Share Festival next month. As the theme of the Festival is over-consumption, waste and upcyling, their project is attracting a lot of interest in the lead up to the event.

Working on the doorThey became friends at an Upcycling workshop and both have a passion for creativity and upcycling. As you can tell from the above video, they already have an impressive collection of upcycled items. The Tiny House, however, is a whole nother level. Continue reading

Posted in Environmental sustainability, Personal | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Mobilising community assets and volunteers can have side effects

fsf-planning-meeting-2016-09-07One of the strengths of asset-based community-driven development (ABCD) is how it builds on the passions and skills of volunteer community members. It’s amazing what communities can achieve when they rely on their own resources.

But there can be a downside too. It can be exhausting for the passionate, committed people involved, and there can be many challenges faced in organising grassroots activities.

At the moment the Fair Share Festival is taking over my family’s lives. Continue reading

Posted in Social change, Strengths-based approaches & ABCD, Working with communities | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Learning to love ParkRun


Callaghan ParkRun 15 October 2016

I’m not a runner. I don’t particularly enjoy pushing myself physically and I prefer walking to running. But I’ve joined the ranks of our local ParkRun at the University of Newcastle (Callaghan ParkRun).  A couple of years ago, Jasmine and Alexa wanted to take it up (back then at the Newy ParkRun) and the first few times I dropped them off so they could do the run. Just waiting around while they got some exercise was crazy, so I joined in as well.

I started because I wanted to do something with my daughters. Now I do feel good after the run, and I no longer have to force myself to keep going. I wouldn’t say I enjoy the run, but I no longer find it really hard. I’m quite proud of having broken 25 minutes (at a couple of flat courses) and know it’s good for me.

What I really love about it is doing it with the girls. Continue reading

Posted in Personal | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

It’s better to light one candle

light-one-candle-quoteIt’s better to light one candle than curse the darkness is like a guiding principle for much of my work and life. At times I do rant and rave about what is wrong with the world, but most of the time I try to do something that makes a difference.

In strengths-based practice we focus on strengths and potential rather than problems and deficits. As Kral (1989) suggests: Continue reading

Posted in Social change | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments