System reform for children and young people in statutory child protection exposed to domestic and family violence

The Research to Practice Series links findings from research undertaken by the ACU Institute of Child Protection Studies to the development of policy and practice in the area of child, youth and family welfare.

Issue 27 of the Institute of Child Protection Studies Research to Practice Series
Authors: Alex Cahill, Prof. Daryl Higgins, Dr Sheridan Kerr

In this paper we share what we learned about service system delivery for children and young people in the child protection sector who have experienced domestic and family violence.

We studied Queensland data and interviewed child safety officers and practitioners about how they engaged with children and young people. We found that the service system has elements of barriers to good practice and a number of enablers that support the unique needs of this specific cohort of children and young people. The main barriers include:

  • poor communication
  • lack of specialist child and youth services
  • inconsistencies in child-centred approaches
  • lack of skill and expertise in therapeutic approaches.

Four elements of practice were found to enable good practice:

  • sharing information between services
  • collaborative practice
  • child-centred practice
  • therapeutic responses.

Practitioners and child safety officers can use the extensive practical suggestions built around key actions (based on a combination of practice wisdom, evidenced-based research and the findings of our study) and reflective questions (based on child protection ‘practice standards’ used across many jurisdictions).

The paper also offers ideas on how to learn from children and young people about the impact of domestic and family violence

Read more (PDF, 430KB)


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