Family Inclusion Network WA Inc.

Question 1 – How have you adapted service delivery in response to the bushfires, floods and Coronavirus pandemic? When has it worked and when hasn’t it worked? How will this affect how you deliver services in the future? Have your service adaptations included better integration with other initiatives?

We incorporated our parenting workshop into an online version and delivered an online playgroup each week in response to Covid. An online playgroup had limited scope for supporting children due to their inability to hold concentration for long periods of time using a screen. Parents found the weekly catch up helpful to talk about their weekly struggles and get support. The workshops worked very well in terms of increased capacity due to families being able to engage in the comfort of their home during the evening as a couple. IT was harder to deliver due to limited capacity to read the reactions to information by watching faces on a screen. We adapted to this by giving each participant opportunity to stay in the session at the end to talk on an individual level. We also provided one to one phone support between sessions.

Question 2 – Are the proposed key outcomes for the families and children programs the right ones? Are there any major outcomes missing? How can we include strengths-based outcomes that focus on family or child safety?

Yes they are the right outcomes however I wonder why the cohesive communities has no associated outcomes. This might be where we can consider placing emphasis on aims for service providers. The aims are heavily weighted in terms of change for families. We also need to consider that systems and services can and should adapt to support families increased wellbeing.

Question 3 – What tools or training would support you to effectively measure and report outcomes through the Data Exchange Partnership Approach?

It would be helpful to have increased capacity for collecting outcomes data through training around designing evaluations and interviewing techniques. This is because the quality and depth of data is very reliant on the skills of the facilitator asking the questions.
It is necessary to have some hands on training in DEX to learn how to extract data and run reports.
Our amazing CfC FP The Smith Family in Mirrabooka, have developed an outcomes tracker tool which has made it much easier to collate data and negotiate the frustrations of having different reporting measurements for DEX to those required for our FP reportS. I think this outcomes tracker should be made available to all others Community Partners receiving CfC funding.

Question 4 – Do you already have a program logic or theory of change outlined for your program? Did you find the process useful? If you do not have one, what has stopped you from developing one? What capacity building support would assist service providers to develop program logics and theories of change?

No we have a project plan which sets out performance indicators activity and outputs and data collection. This acts like a program logic. We have no theory of change applied and I wasn’t aware of this. Training on developing these would be good.

Question 5 – If longer-term agreements are implemented, how can the department work with you to develop criteria to measure and demonstrate performance? How can the Data Exchange better support this?

We could develop a reflective fidelity measurement process for our program to identify our progress or lack of it?
Data exchange could be greatly improved by having more ability to filter data for reports. Filtering by age, or who has a full, part or no score added, would be really great. Greater choice of domains to better match with our outcomes wand adjustment to the descriptions of scores 1-5 in the goals domain would also help. The most beneficial change to DEX would be for us to have capacity to submit qualitative data and families stories which richly capture the performance of our service.

Question 6 – What does success look like for your service, and how do you assess the overall success of your service?

To measure success we include the use of Staff observation, evaluation questionnaires,
families written and verbal feedback, video feedback interviews, and discussions with our referring partners.
We measure our success in terms of high participation levels and length of families engagement with services, parents changed behaviours and satisfaction feedback in evaluations to identify if we are doing what we aim to do.

Question 7 – Do you currently service cohorts experiencing vulnerability, including those at risk of engaging with the child protection system? If not, how does service delivery need to adapt to provide support to these cohorts?

Yes, our services is specifically targeted at families with complex needs who are or are at risk of intervention with Dept. Communities Child Protection and Family Support. We offer three streams of service – parenting workshops, supported playgroup and home visiting. Families are able to engage in any of these streams of support depending on which meets their needs most effectively. AS parents are all familiar with having CPFS interventions they feel less guilt and shame than they would if they were attending mainstream parenting workshops. We can offer internal referrals to our families to our advocacy service where they will get practical support and information about navigating the CPFS system. This includes support at case review meetings, court hearings and around contact visitation rights.

Question 8 – If you are a Children and Parenting Support or Budget Based Funded service provider, do you currently link with a Communities for Children Facilitating Partner or other regional planning mechanism to understand what other services are provided in the community and what the community identifies as their needs? How does this work in practice? Would you value the increased support of being attached to a local Facilitating Partner?

Yes we are. We attend bi-monthly community Partner meetings with our Facilitating partner The Smith Family. We also get a great amount of support from Paul CHang, our Funding Partner Project Officer. He arranges and encourages all the other CP to meet regularly to discuss families needs as well as consider cross referrals. Paul arranges for us to meet with other service providers to discuss our program and advocates for us in the community. We really value this support.

Question 9 – For all providers, are there other ways to improve collaboration and coordination across services and systems?

Its all about forming relationships. We come up against challenges in supporting our families to navigate systems. The DoC CPFS systems are risk adverse and rarely work in a relational way with families. The Education system is far from being trauma responsive and could do well to collaborate more with Trauma specialists to create adaptations that allow for increased inclusion for children who have complex trauma and challenging behaviours.
We collaborate with CPFS and Local schools but it will take a significant shift in the way these systems perceive issues to see increased long term outcomes for our families.

Question 10 – The capability building support offered under Families and Children Activity programs has gone through several iterations. What works well? What do you think should change?

I would agree that focusing on increased knowledge and improving skills in outcome measurement, reporting, research, evaluation and data collection would work well.

Question 11 – Aside from additional funding, how can the department best work with you to support innovation in your services while maintaining a commitment to existing service delivery?

We deliver the Australian Childhood Foundation’s Bringing Up Great Kids program. We want to adapt our Bringing Up Great Kids program to be further tailored to specific cohorts using the ACF adaptations of the program eg. delivery of BUGK After Violence to survivors of FDV and delivery of BUGK First 1000 Days to vulnerable first time parents and BUGK Aboriginal version to the Wadjack Noongar nations people in our local community. However, the ACF does not have these other versions of the BUGK program evidence based. Our funding arrangement is only for evidence based programs, therefore we cant offer these. It would help to break down the barriers of restrictions to only delivering evidence based programs. We would also like to offer support through an enhanced contact visit service where families might have greater support from our staff to embed the BUGK strategies through some time in a play based setting whilst with their children. I am not sure how we can develop this innovative service without extra funding from Dept. Of Communities.