11th Australian Institute of Family Studies conference proceedings

Download conference programSustaining Families in Challenging Times
7 - 9 July 2010 Melbourne Convention Centre

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AbelloA, Gong C, McNamara J and Daly A
Spatial dimensions of child social exclusion risk : widening the scope. [Abstract]

Despite great concern about child wellbeing and an increasing recognition of the need to monitor how children are doing, small area measures of child disadvantage are a very recent development in understanding child wellbeing, both within Australia and internationally. This paper, part of a recent Australian Research Council Discovery-funded project, describes the further development of Australia's only small area index of child social exclusion risk. Drawing on the latest conceptual and methodological developments in child indicator research, the authors identify additional domains and variables to best measure child social exclusion at a small area level. Incorporating new data, the paper goes on to discuss the testing and assessment of alternative ways of combining the variables into a single composite index of child social exclusion risk. An equal weighting methodology and principal components analysis are trialled and differences and similarities in the apparent distribution of child social exclusion risk are examined. The paper concludes with a discussion of ongoing work on the project, including plans for the development of a small areas index of youth social exclusion risk.

Adamson E, Redmond G and Whiteford P
Middle class welfare? The evolution and distribution of taxes and transfers in English-speaking OECD countries since the 1980s. [Abstract]

The purpose of this paper is to compare the distributional impact of tax-transfer systems for families with children in English-speaking OECD countries - Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the US, Ireland and the UK. The analysis will develop a historical focus, examining changes in the distribution of taxes, transfers, and post-tax incomes between the mid-1980s and the mid-2000s. Of particular interest is the role of taxes and transfers in promoting vertical equity (reducing overall inequality in family incomes), and horizontal equity (reducing inequalities between different family types, for example, couples with children and no earners, with one and with two earners, and single parents with no earners and one earner). The analysis will pay particular attention to the performance of tax-transfer systems in terms of promoting horizontal and vertical equity through economic cycles, including recessions that occurred in several of the countries in the mid-1980s, the early 1990s and the early 2000s, and boom periods in between. Analysis will be based mainly on OECD tax and transfer databases, which have for over 20 years given detailed breakdowns of the distributions of incomes, taxes and transfers for a wide range of family types in most OECD countries.

Al-Yaman F and Higgins D
Closing the Gap Clearinghouse : a clearinghouse for evidence-based research on overcoming disadvantage for Indigenous Australians. [Abstract]

The Closing the Gap Clearinghouse is a central online source of research and information on what works to close the gap on Indigenous disadvantage. It is a Council of Australian Governments (COAG) initiative jointly funded by all Australian Governments. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare delivers the Clearinghouse in collaboration with the Australian Institute of Family Studies. The Clearinghouse collates research relevant to seven COAG building blocks, which underpin six closing the gap targets. Its focus is on growing a collection of evidence-based research that has been quality-assessed by subject experts. By providing comprehensive access to research and information on activities that work to reduce Indigenous disadvantage, the Clearinghouse aims to support the decisions of Australian, State and Territory government policy-makers involved in closing the gap, and the agencies and services they fund. To encourage collaboration and coordination of research efforts to close the gap, the Clearinghouse hosts an online register of in-progress or recently completed research and evaluations. The Clearinghouse also plans to produce a range of publications reviewing the current research evidence-base and policy implications related to the COAG building blocks and targets. These publications include Issues Papers, Resource Sheets and the Gaps in Research Reports.

Al-Yaman F and Higgins D
Closing the Gap Clearinghouse : an online clearinghouse for evidence-based research on overcoming disadvantage for Indigenous Australians. [Abstract]

Research and evaluations are of limited value unless they are used. One approach to disseminating research is a clearinghouse. The Closing the Gap Clearinghouse is a central online source of research and information on what works to close the gap on Indigenous disadvantage. Initiated by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG), the Clearinghouse is funded by all Australian Governments and delivered by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare in collaboration with the Australian Institute of Family Studies. Its goal is to become the nation's premier collection of quality-assessed information on addressing Indigenous disadvantage to support evidence-informed policy and professional practice. This presentation will examine how the Clearinghouse aims to support policy-makers and service providers involved in overcoming Indigenous disadvantage. It will review the development of a Quality-Assessed Collection - a compilation of research and evaluations expert-reviewed to assess the quality of the evidence underpinning adopted programs, strategies or practices. The presentation will also describe the purpose of various Clearinghouse resources, including Issues Papers, Resource Sheets, e-Newsletters and an online research and evaluation register. Overall, the presentation will bring together the Clearinghouse's strategies for making evidence-based resources available under each of the Building Blocks identified by COAG to address Indigenous disadvantage.

Alston M
Gender, climate change and water availability : differential impacts on women and men. [Abstract]

This paper examines the differential impacts and adaptations of climate change and water shortages in the Murray-Darling Basin area along the Murray River. The paper draws on a number of research projects undertaken in the region, focusing particularly on irrigation areas. Significant impacts on the health and welfare of women and men have been observed as well as differential adaptations, including the greater likelihood that women will source off-farm work and that men will become more socially isolated. Many observed adaptations are unsustainable. This paper notes ways that positive adaptations might be enhanced.

Amigo M
Social roles of migrant children in Australia. [Abstract]

The 2001 Australian Household Census showed that over 3 million children, out of a total of 4.5 million in Australia (0-18 years old), lived in migrant families. And about half of the total children living in migrant families were under 9 years old. Despite the significance of the child migrant population, the social roles migrant children perform in their families and at school have been understudied in the Australian context. This paper explores the responsibilities very young migrant children (6-8 years old) take on soon after they arrive in the country. Acting as translators and cultural mediators for their families and/or migrant friends, migrant children assume important roles for their families and for society at large. By focusing on two different language groups - Spanish speaking and Indonesian speaking families - this study also intends to explore similar and dissimilar issues that these two groups of new arrivals face in Australia.

Anderson A, Magson N, Craven R, Nelson G, Kuan S, Denson N, Munns G and Covic T
Growing communities together : exploring the role of social capital in improving outcomes for disadvantaged communities. [Abstract]

Research has shown that social exclusion and poverty in Australia are becoming more geographically concentrated, with intergenerational disadvantage becoming entrenched in a number of communities. At the same time, research has shown that the communities in which we live can have a significant impact on our life trajectories. In response to this, The Benevolent Society (TBS), in partnership with the University of Western Sydney (UWS), is implementing a project called Growing Communities Together. This project includes a program of activities and research in two disadvantaged communities in New South Wales, with the key aim of increasing levels of social capital. As a result, it is hoped that individuals in these communities will experience more supportive social networks, an increased sense of belonging and participate more in community life, which will contribute to improved socio-economic outcomes for the communities. The presentation will provide a brief overview of Growing Communities Together, an overview of pilot research undertaken by UWS and TBS with over 2,000 school children in two disadvantaged communities, and an overview of a 3-year Australian Research Council-funded Linkage project which will include longitudinal research in the two communities.

Anthony L
A joint effort : practice partnerships for children affected by family violence. [Abstract]

The Department of Human Services (DHS) Victoria, as part of the Integrated Family Violence Reform, supports the development of local partnership agreements between child protection, family services and family violence services. The local agreements are being developed within each of the eight DHS regions. The agreements are informed by the overwhelming body of knowledge that recognises the co-occurrence of child abuse, neglect and family violence, and the significant impact family violence has on the overall development of children and young people. The implementation of the agreement recognises that child protection, family services and family violence have "grown up" from differing philosophical, cultural and practice frameworks. These differences must be recognised in providing an integrated response and need to continue to be discussed at both a practice and policy level to ensure the safety of children and women; and to hold those who use violence, primarily men, accountable for their behaviour. This paper will discuss the learning in the implementation of the local partnership agreements to date and consider how to continue to support integrated and joined up practice responses to children affected by family violence.

Armstrong S, Butler R and Bruce P
Enhancing access to family dispute resolution for families from CALD backgrounds. [Abstract]

The 2006 family law reforms encouraged an enormous expansion of services and professionals providing family dispute resolution, including the establishment of 65 Family Relationship Centres (FRCs). The framework for establishing FRCs required they be accessible and sensitive to client diversity. Recent evaluations of the reforms and of some family dispute resolution (FDR) services have identified a need for a better understanding of culturally appropriate service models to support the involvement of family members from culturally diverse backgrounds. This paper reports on some of the findings of qualitative research that sought to develop a culturally responsive model of FDR. A key objective of the research was to understand the optimum nature of engagement with, and service provision to, members of culturally diverse communities following separation. The research demonstrated the need for FRCs to understand local culturally and linguistically diverse communities and their post-separation service needs, to implement strategies to develop relationships with community organisations and community leaders, and to create service structures to facilitate access by families from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. This paper discusses some strategies FDR service providers might implement to enhance access to family dispute resolution for these families.

Atkins S
The first survey of Australian Defence Force families. [Abstract]

The Australian Department of Defence has long recognised that the unique demands of military service, including operational deployments, frequent separations from the family and mobility, can significantly disrupt family life for Australian Defence Force (ADF) members. Family adjustment to, and satisfaction with, military life is also linked to retention and capability. This is reflected in attitudinal data collected from ADF members, and also the broader international literature on military families. From 2008-09, the Department of Defence conducted a survey of ADF spouses and partners, single parent ADF members and dual ADF couples. A key objective of the survey was to inform the evaluation and development of family and member support programs and conditions of service policies. A second broad objective was to understand the relationship between the demands of ADF service, family experiences and attitudes, and the retention of ADF members. This paper outlines the key findings of the survey, including those relating to communication, family preparedness and work-family conflict. It will also describe the renewed insights that were gained into what Defence, ADF members and their families can do to help members meet both their service and family commitments.

Bagshaw D, Brown T, Wendt S, Campbell A, McInnes E, Baker J, Tinning B, Batagol B, Sifris A, Tyson D and Fernandez Arias P
Family violence and family law in Australia : the views and experiences of children and adults from families who separated post-1995 and post-2006. [Abstract]

The new family law legislation of 2006 was introduced as offering a stronger framework for the protection of adult victims and children from family violence. However, this view was disputed by many professionals prior to the introduction of the legislation and the creation of the many new services to support it. Shortly after the implementation of the legislation, disquiet emerged about its impact on the management of family violence following parental separation and divorce. By early 2009, the new Commonwealth Government had announced an unprecedented series of enquires into aspects of the working of the new legislation, with all except one being primarily concerned with family violence. This paper will present some of the findings of one of these enquiries, the Monash/Uni SA/James Cook enquiry into family law and family violence, aimed at discovering what former partners and children had experienced in their use of the family law socio-legal services before and after the new legislation, what their views of the services were and how violence influenced their separation and post-separation decision making. The project tapped the views and experiences of over 1,000 adults and children who separated post-1995 and post-2006, using: online surveys for adults and children, call-back interviews with a sample of adults from that group and phone-ins with adults and children in Queensland and South Australia. The project canvassed males and females from all states and all walks of life, including most ethnicities and Indigenous people.

Bailey A, Blay D, Busch R, Hume M, Oberin J, Scott M, O'Brien C, Tinning B and Wangmann J
Typologies of violence in family court processes : reflections from the field. [Abstract]

One of the current areas of research on family violence has been the development of typologies of intimate partner violence in recognition that it is not a homogenous phenomenon. Recent reports in Australia have highlighted this work. Research on typologies offer an important contribution to the ongoing search for, and debates about, a shared understanding of family violence in the family law arena. However, there are questions about the use of such typologies: how they are defined, who makes assessments and what do we think they mean for the experience of violence and the decision making of courts exercising family law jurisdiction in Australia. This paper brings together the reflections of eight practitioners and researchers in the field of domestic and family violence from Australia and New Zealand. We consider the opportunities and risks presented by the development and application of typologies of violence. Can Johnson's typologies, based on intimate partner abuse, be transferred to assessments of violence from parent to child? What information do we have about the effects of different categories on victims and child witnesses of the violence? Most importantly, how can an assessment of the 'type' of violence used increase the safety of vulnerable family members? Drawing on many years of expertise in the field, the intention of this paper is to contribute to family law dialogue during this time of policy opportunity.

Baker M
Maternal employment and the 'child penalty' : comparing welfare mothers and career academics. [Abstract]

Social policies and public discourse tend to encourage reproduction but they also expect most parents to earn a living. Nevertheless, considerable research suggests that parenthood is more consequential for the employment outcomes of mothers than fathers. This paper examines gendered strategies to accommodate parenthood and employment, comparing participants in very different socioeconomic circumstances. It is based on qualitative interviews from two of the author's New Zealand-based studies: the first with 120 sole mothers expected to move from income support into employment and the second with 30 well-paid career academics discussing their family life and university work. This paper uses the general findings and verbatim comments from these studies to argue that child bearing tends to 'penalise' mothers (but not fathers) in terms of their ability to find work, gain adequate earnings and progress through the ranks. Both studies show that employment 'choices' vary substantially among women and are shaped by their household arrangements, perceptions of social support, occupational requirements and ideas about 'good mothering'. In the current labour market, the caring and household work that mothers normally perform make it difficult to compete with male earners or women without children, regardless of their employment qualifications or household earnings.

Bamblett M
Re-creating places of cultural safety for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and youth : frameworks and practices. [Abstract]

This paper will present the work of the Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency (VACCA) in research and practice development. The focus is on cultural safety which is defined as understanding the wellbeing needs of Aboriginal children and young people from the perspective of their cultural identity. The paper will present the findings of VACCA's research project in consulting Victorian Aboriginal communities to develop a conceptual framework which involves understanding cultural safety from the perspective of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in Victoria. It will also present VACCA's development of the Aboriginal Cultural Competence Framework for the Victorian Department of Human Services which has been adopted as the official framework for mainstream child and family services in Victoria. The framework involves the following key concepts: the ongoing development of cultural awareness as knowledge with understanding; the recognition of Aboriginal self-determination as the basis for engagement and respectful partnership building; cultural respect i.e. the attitude and values of individuals and organisations; culturally responsiveness i.e. the necessary ability and skills to interact effectively across-cultures; cultural safety i.e. whether or not Aboriginal clients feel 'safe' from covert or overt cultural abuse; and cross-cultural practice and care i.e, is the lens of culture being applied to the delivery of services to Aboriginal children and youth. The paper will provide some practical examples of how cultural safety applies to service delivery in the out-of-home care system and VACCA's culturally embedded practices that promote resilience.

Barnett T, Gordon I, Roost F and McEachran J
Linking independent longitudinal data sets to investigate effectiveness of the Home Interaction Program for Parents and Youngsters (HIPPY) in Australia. [Abstract]

This paper is about the use of longitudinal data to examine the effectiveness of child and parenting intervention. It is well understood that longitudinal data is useful for identifying correlations but it cannot answer questions of causality. The randomised control trial (RCT) is specifically designed to investigate causality and the effectiveness of interventions. However, it is not always possible or appropriate to conduct an RCT. The national evaluation of HIPPY, a school readiness program for children from disadvantaged families, examines effectiveness of the program by linking data from two independent longitudinal studies. Data is collected from HIPPY participants at three points in time over two years and is compared to that of a control group derived from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children using propensity score matching, thereby enabling the experimental investigation of the program's probable effectiveness. Monash University, together with the Brotherhood of St Laurence, is evaluating the Australian Government's rollout of HIPPY across Australia. HIPPY works across a number of ecological levels and contains many key components of what is known to make early childhood development and parenting programs effective. HIPPY aims to improve the school readiness of the child, the parent-child relationship and the wellbeing and social inclusion of parents and home tutors. This paper describes the research design and issues associated with the definition and measurement of social inclusion and presents preliminary findings from the first year of the HIPPY evaluation.

Barrett Meyering I
Victim compensation and domestic violence : a national overview. [Abstract]

In 2009, the National Council to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children described compensation as 'a core component of a just legal response' to domestic and family violence. This paper will present the findings of a comparative study of women's entitlements to compensation across all eight Australian states and territories. It aims to stimulate discussion among service providers and policy-makers about what model of compensation delivers the best outcomes to women and their families. Historically, domestic violence victims have faced significant barriers when applying for compensation, due to the schemes' prohibitive eligibility criteria. However, this cross-jurisdictional study identified a range of special provisions that have been introduced to make compensation more accessible, primarily in New South Wales, the Northern Territory, Queensland and Victoria. The paper will report on these positive changes, while also exploring newly emerging problems around the trend towards debt recovery from offenders. The paper will highlight how greater awareness and utilisation of compensation might help to alleviate the financial strain that women and their children experience as a result of family violence. It will also discuss the role of compensation as an alternative avenue of justice and its incorporation into restorative justice processes.

Batchelor S
Parents' involvement in their children's learning : does it contribute to better outcomes? [Abstract]

A relationship between parent involvement and school success has been well documented with higher levels of involvement being related to many school outcomes including academic achievement and classroom behaviour. As a result, parent engagement has found a focus with policy-makers searching for a means of improving outcomes for traditionally low-achieving students. Prior research, largely conducted with US populations, indicates however that the effects of parent involvement may vary for different ethnic and socio-economic groups. In addition, the concept of parent involvement lacks a consistent operational definition, creating a need for more research that examines whether some involvement behaviours are more important than others. This paper will address the issue of the role of parent involvement in influencing the achievement and classroom behaviour of primary school children (Years 3 to 5) within the Pathways schools. Involvement was measured using a 28 item questionnaire designed to capture a wide array of involvement behaviours in the home in order to examine the relative impact of different aspects of the construct. The paper reports the results of a multivariate analysis of the effects of each involvement behaviour on achievement in maths and comprehension, as well as vocabulary and classroom behaviour.

Baxter J and Chesters J
Perceptions of work/life balance : how effective are family friendly policies? [Abstract]

The increase in the proportion of mothers with young children returning to paid employment has generated considerable interest in terms of how women juggle the demands of the workplace with the demands of family. Making the workplace more family-friendly has potential benefits for both employees and employers. In this paper, we use logistic regressions to analyse data collected from 1,600 women employed in the service sector in Queensland. We examine whether women's perceptions of work/family balance are affected by access to a range of family friendly work entitlements including part-time employment, subsidised child care, various types of leave, control over rosters and variations in weekly employment hours. Our findings indicate that the key factors associated with negative perceptions of work/family balance are long hours of employment, extra hours at short notice and unpredictable hours of employment. This suggests that stability and length of employment hours are key factors in women's ability to juggle employment and family, and their perceptions of work/family balance.

Baxter J and Gray M
How do dual-employed couple parents manage without childcare? Can it be explained by fathers' involvement in childcare? [Abstract]

Employment decisions of parents with young children are inextricably linked with the question about who will care for their children. In couple families, one solution to the childcare question, adopted by a substantial minority of dual-employed families, is to organise their work in such a way that they do not need to use any non-parental care. This paper seeks to determine to what extent, and in what circumstances, this is made possible through a greater sharing of childcare between parents. This paper uses data on dual-employed families from the infant cohort of the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC), as at 2004 and 2006, to examine the use of non-parental childcare and fathers' involvement in childcare in these families. At the first wave, the children are aged 3 to 14 months old and at the second wave these same children are aged 28 to 40 months. We focus just on these two sources of data since most of these children are not yet old enough to attend early education. (At older ages a very large proportion of children spend some time in childcare or preschool, regardless of their parents' employment status.) Our findings suggest that is incorrect to assume this use of parental care only is largely facilitated by the involvement of fathers. While this is true in some families, in many it is instead about the use of part-time work or self-employment of mothers, which appears to allow employment to be worked around or alongside children's care needs.

Baxter J and Renda J
Lone and couple mothers in the Australian labour market : exploring differences in employment transitions. [Abstract]

While more mothers have been participating in paid work over recent years, the employment rate of lone mothers remains lower than that of couple mothers. Concerns about the wellbeing of adults and children living in jobless households contribute to continuing interest in explaining the relatively low employment rate of lone mothers. This paper provides new insights into possible reasons for the different employment rates of lone and couple mothers by examining how their employment transitions vary. This approach enables examination into whether the lower employment rate of lone mothers is due to their being less likely to enter employment, more likely to exit employment once employed, or a combination of both. Monthly calendar data from the HILDA survey are used to compare the rate at which lone and couple mothers move into and out of employment over a seven-year period. These data show that lone mothers are more likely to transition out of employment than couple mothers but not-employed lone and couple mothers are no different in their likelihood of transition into employment. The analyses also indicate that educational attainment, work history and age of youngest child may influence the different employment transition rates of lone and couple mothers.

Benveniste J and Mumford S
Improving psychological health for working parents : organisational and individual factors. [Abstract]

The challenge working parents encounter in managing work and family roles has been described as 'one of the hottest debates of our time' and has captured the attention of human relations professionals, the Australian Government, researchers and the general public. The interaction of work and family roles can be heavily influenced by organisational factors such as the presence or absence of work-family policies and an organisation's work-family culture (WFC). The study's aim is two-fold: to evaluate the relationship between the availability and use of work-family policies and WFC and, to investigate the relationship between WFC and psychological health. Through a mixed-method design, Australian working parents (N=333) were asked about their organisation's work-family policies, WFC and four measures of individual wellbeing: job satisfaction and engagement, life satisfaction and affect balance. Findings support the role of an organisation's work-family policies and WFC in helping working parents to enrich their work and family lives, and achieve psychological health. A WFC was more evident in organisations that provided work-family policies such as flexible hours and part-time work compared to those organisations that did not. In turn, WFC was strongly linked to job satisfaction, engagement and life satisfaction. This research yields important lessons for organisations aiming to reduce turnover and absenteeism, and increase productivity and profitability.

Bodsworth E
Managing the 'paid work-family-welfare' collision : single mothers' experiences of Welfare to Work policy. [Abstract]

Single mothers' engagement in paid work is the focus of much academic and policy interest. Increasingly social policies target single mothers' employment behaviour and yet the assumed 'rational economic actor' underpinning policies such as the 2006 Welfare to Work policy reforms is rarely articulated. Social research regarding the employment behaviour of single mothers is also often under theorised in relation to assumptions about how decisions about paid work are made. This paper draws on biographic narrative interviews with 15 single mothers affected by the Welfare to Work policy and provides a rich and complex picture of their experiences in the context of the women's 'lived' lives. It highlights the constraints they face, including the combined effects of rigid welfare compliance obligations, the 'flexible' labour market, life on a low income and caring for children. This paper also argues that despite facing common constraints, the women's 'told' stories differ significantly, both from each other, but also within individual narratives, highlighting contradictions and ambivalence around issues of motherhood and paid work. The single mothers' narratives about their work 'choices' also reflect the adoption and/or resistance of master narratives about single mothers, with implications for both research and policy.

Boshier P
Family violence and court process. [Presentation]

Panel session - Family law: Family violence

Boyd W and Thorpe K
Maternal employment and satisfaction with care. [Abstract]

A continual increase in maternal employment in Australia over the past three decades has focused attention on family-friendly employment policies, including paid parental leave, flexible work hours and provision of child care support. However, concern regarding quality of child care has been reported as an emotional barrier to women's engagement in paid work. Understanding women's beliefs about child care and return to paid work requires empirical and longitudinal evidence of decision-making processes. This prospective longitudinal study investigated preferences and decisions of 124 first-time mothers, from pregnancy through to 12 months postpartum. The data shows women's satisfaction with paid work diminished significantly as they made decisions to return to paid work and choose care for their child. Using informal care, where the carer is known and the environment familiar, was a significant predictor of higher levels of satisfaction with the child's care at both 6 and 12 months postpartum, while the use of formal centre-based care was associated with higher scores for postnatal depression and significantly lower levels of satisfaction with care. Results are discussed in light of child development evidence and international trends in family policy.

Braaf R and Barrett Meyering I
Economic wellbeing: what does it really mean for women and their children affected by domestic violence? [Abstract]

Does economic wellbeing mean the same thing to everyone? This paper will explore the concept of economic security from the perspectives of women who participated in a 1-year qualitative study, investigating factors affecting women's financial outcomes, pre- and post-violent relationships. The study, conducted in 2009-10 by the Australian Domestic and Family Violence Clearinghouse, involved interviews with 57 female clients and 50 workers at domestic violence and related services. When asked to define what financial security meant to them, women in the study largely responded in modest terms, with a focus on a capacity to pay for their immediate and critical needs. Their stories highlight linkages between women's experiences of domestic violence and economic disadvantage, including homelessness, unemployment and poor property settlement outcomes. However, many women also articulated a vision of financial security beyond meeting basic needs. They aspired towards a more elusive goal of economic wellbeing that would see them realise financial independence and freedom - the importance of which is telling of past experiences of abuse and a desire to assert control over their lives. The study emphasises a need for government and service responses to domestic violence to recognise the centrality of financial security to women's quality of life and healing, post violence. The paper will discuss the effectiveness of a range of strategies identified in the study, including the relative value of advocacy, direct financial assistance, and financial counselling and education. Based on the research, some key principles to building women's economic capacity will be outlined.

Bradbury B, Corak M, Waldfogel J and Washbrook E
Early child outcomes and parental resources in Australia, Canada, the UK and the US. [Abstract]

How does the association between parental resources and early child outcomes differ across the US, UK, Canada and Australia? Are these patterns associated with the different policy and economic environments in the four countries? This paper addresses these issues using survey data on the cognitive and non-cognitive outcomes of children aged 4 to 5. Though there is much communality in the cultural, economic and social welfare systems of these four countries, there are some important differences. In particular, the US relies more heavily than the other countries on the private market for early childhood care, education and health care. This paper uses data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study - Birth Cohort in the US, the Millennium Cohort Study in the UK, the National Longitudinal Survey of Canadian Youth and the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children. Parental resources are measured using parental education and income. Child outcomes are measured using a number of cognitive and non-cognitive outcome indicators. Cognitive measures include the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (PPVT), the Who Am I school readiness score and similar measures. Non-cognitive measures include the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire, and descriptive behaviour items.

Bradbury B and Zhu A
The impact of marital separation on income support receipt. [Abstract]

What is the impact of marital separation on income support receipt among families with children? After separation, parents with primary childcare responsibilities (usually mothers) are much more likely to receive income support payments. It has also been suggested that child support obligations might encourage fathers to reduce their labour supply and/or increase their reliance upon income support. This paper addresses these issues using administrative data on Australian Family Tax Benefit Recipients. We follow a sample of over 50,000 couples separating over a 3 year period and compare their patterns of income support receipt before and after separation. After separation, women rapidly increase their receipt of income support, with almost 90% of our sample receiving income support one month after separation. This then steadily decreases, by about 7 percentage points per annum. For men, we focus on those who did not have high-income wives prior to separation and find no evidence of an increase in income support receipt after separation. In fact, the likelihood of men receiving unemployment payments declines by about 3 percentage points post-separation. This is consistent with the different financial incentives in single and couple families - though variations across demographic groups are less consistent with such explanations.

Branch S, Freiberg K and Homel R
Quantifying families' journeys through the Pathways to Prevention Project. [Abstract]

Circles of Care is a program of integrated practice and service delivery that operates within the Pathways to Prevention Project. Circles is based on the developmental systems approach which highlights that development and behaviour change are based on complex interactions between an individual and their contexts. Circles' aim is to strengthen, for a sample of vulnerable children, the relationships between important individuals in a child's life in order to create a harmonious supportive community that 'is there' for the child. Using Journey Mapping, an innovative on-line research tool, we have integrated qualitative data (capturing what has been happening for participants) with quantitative data (recording participants' achievements against benchmarks set by the researcher) in order to map or graph the patterns of change in the lives of families that have participated in Circles. This paper outlines and interprets the course of families' journeys as they participate in Circles of Care.

Brandrup J and Mance P
Changes in household expenditure associated with the arrival of newborn children. [Abstract]

While there is a body of Australian research on the costs of raising children, these studies do not report specifically on expenses associated with the arrival of newborn children. To address this gap in the evidence base, the current study investigates changes in household expenditure associated with the arrival of newborn children for three groups of families - those experiencing the arrival of their first, second or third and subsequent born children. Household spending items in Waves 6 and 7 (2006 and 2007) of the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey are used to estimate whether different categories of expenditure typically increase or decrease with the arrival of newborn children among families headed by couples who were living together in both waves. This study shows that a number of expenditure categories are influenced by the arrival of a new baby. Parents of first-born children increase expenditure on health care and clothing. Parents of second born children increase expenditure on health care and on dining out or and takeaway meals, however they decrease expenditure on child care. Parents of third and subsequent born children increase expenditure on health care.

Brinkman S
Australian Early Development Index : early childhood development outcomes for Australia. [Abstract]

The national implementation of the Australian Early Development Index provides the first snapshot of how Indigenous Australian children are developing prior to school across the country. The 2009 AEDI national census collected data on 12,426 Indigenous Australian children representing 4.8% of the sample (and 99% of the 5 year old Indigenous Estimated Resident Population). In 33% of cases, teachers completed the AEDI in conjunction with an Indigenous cultural consultant enabling a cultural lens to be applied to the completion of the checklist. Overall Indigenous children performed poorly on the AEDI across all five developmental domains compared to their non-Indigenous counterparts; however the results reveal distinctly different patters of developmental vulnerability across the developmental domains of the AEDI, and across regions by both the degree of remoteness and the degree of socio-economic disadvantage. As a population measure, the AEDI results have demonstrated not only the degree of gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous children but also how gaps in child developmental outcomes vary across socioeconomics, geographies and developmental domains. Given that optimal early childhood development is well known to support success in school and life, these data are of critical importance to better focusing policy for Indigenous Australian children.

Broderick E
Promoting fair, flexible, family-friendly workplaces. [Presentation]

Panel session - Promoting fair, flexible, family-friendly workplaces

Bruce P
Is it ever appropriate to conduct FRD in the context of family violence? [Abstract]

In deciding if it is appropriate to conduct family dispute resolution (FDR), practitioners must consider a range of factors including history of violence in the family, the emotional and psychological health of the parties, the likely safety of the parties and any risks to children. The presence of any of these factors may render the matter inappropriate for FDR. There is considerable tension in deciding whether to offer FDR or to issue a certificate enabling the parties to initiate court proceedings. Often, clients (including the targets of violence) will prefer to stay in the FDR process. Is it ever appropriate to conduct FDR if violence is or has featured in the relationship? If so, how might it be best to inform, protect and support vulnerable parties through the FDR process? This paper explores how the Parramatta Family Relationship Centre in western Sydney has grappled with these questions. After the FRC opened in July 2008, staff became concerned about the high levels of family violence reported by clients. To better understand the dynamics of intimate partner violence and its interaction with risk of harm to children, the FRC investigated 240 of its 565 first-year caseload. This assessment identified family violence in 70% of cases. This paper identifies the rates and types of family violence presenting at the Parramatta FRC and the potential risk of harm to children, explores the link between different types of violence and risk of harm to children and explains the models of service being developed when family violence is present.

Buchler S, Baxter J, Haynes M and Western M
Are married people happier than people who live together? [Abstract]

Despite a plethora of research into cohabitation and its implications for a range of outcomes such as marriage, fertility, life satisfaction and health, relatively little has been done on the relationship between cohabitation and happiness. Happiness is a particularly pertinent issue with an increasing number of social scientists interested in understanding the dynamics of human happiness, which is seen to be a robust measure of subjective wellbeing. This research uses eight waves of data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia study to investigate the relationship between marital status and subjective happiness, with particular attention paid to cohabiting couples. We use a random effects model with cluster means and demeaned variables to investigate between and within person variation, focusing on how happiness varies for different types of cohabiters and in other marital statuses. We find that cohabiters are not a homogenous group and that cohabitation is experienced differently across cohabitation types. However, when other characteristics such as fertility intentions, household income, partner satisfaction and age are taken into account, married and cohabiting people report very similar levels of happiness. We conclude that while it is important not to treat cohabiters as a homogenous group, overall our results suggest that marriage confers no greater happiness than cohabitation does.

Candlin A, Ellis K, Stevens L and Burnett-Smith R
Keeping Kids in Mind : seeing chronic parental conflict through the eyes of a child. [Abstract]

A goal of counselling and mediation work in high conflict separation and divorce situations is to limit the negative impacts on the mental and physical wellbeing of children. This presentation will report on The "Keeping Kids in Mind" (KKIM) group work program that was developed by a multi-disciplinary team of group educators, mediators and counsellors and has been delivered through a consortium of Catholic Social Welfare Agencies, working in the non- government (NGO) sector. KKIM is a 5 week psycho-educational group focusing on the development of parental reflective functioning and a parent's ability to think of and further consider their children's well being in their actions and communications with their children's other parent. In essence, the program assists parents to see through their children's eyes the experience and impact of being trapped in medium to high level chronic parental conflict. The course has been developed from a well established research base regarding the impact of parental conflict on children's development and well being. It is informed by the work of Jennifer McIntosh, John Gottman, Daniel Siegel and Mary Hartzell and Glenn Cooper, Kent Hoffman and Bert Powell. KKIM has been evaluated by Newcastle University's Family Action Centre and this presentation will report on the nature and impact of the group and findings from the research.

Candlin A
The forgotten parent: strengthening relationships between kids in care and their parents. [Abstract]

Children, Contact and Care (CCC) is a psycho-educational group program written specifically for parents whose children are in Out-of-Home-Care either within a foster placement or kinship placement. In 2006, a collaborative partnership between CatholicCare Sydney and the New South Wales Department of Community Services, piloted this 7-week course. The course has evolved and changed into its current format informed by feedback from both participants and facilitators and a multi-disciplinary writing team involving CatholicCare Sydney and CatholicCare Wollongong.The course has been informed by the work of John Gottman,Dan Siegel and Mary Hartzell and emphasises the importance of group process rather than traditional parent education. Participants' stories are listened to and valued and they are invited to join in a learning environment that will challenge them and bring about change. The course isn't specifically designed to prepare or support parents for their children to be returned to their care, although this might be the situation for some parents; rather, the course offers an opportunity to explore their losses and associated feelings. Once participants have been able to name and discuss their experiences they are invited to consider the experiences of their children. They are challenged to think about different ways to communicate with other professionals and carers and to look to a future where they build a relationship with their child who may or may not live with them. This poster will inform the practice of professionals working with complex families individually or in group settings.

Caruana C
Healing services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families : a literature review. [Abstract]

Healing is a critical concept in assisting and supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families to deal with the painful and traumatic legacies of colonisation and continuing disadvantage, and the resulting impact on parenting capacity. However, there is little information that is readily accessible and reliable on how child and family services can effectively draw on evidence-informed healing approaches to provide culturally appropriate therapeutic practices to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families. In collaboration with the Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care (SNAICC), the Australian Family Relationships Clearinghouse (AFRC) has conducted a literature review on healing philosophies and services and the evidence informing its practice. This poster will summarise the key points that arise from the literature and explore the ways in which healing practices have been incorporated into social and emotional wellbeing services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, with the potential of informing future practices in this critical area.

Casey T, Wilson-Evered E and Aldridge S
The proof is in the pudding: the value of research in the establishment of a national Online Family Dispute Resolution service. [Abstract]

Online technologies extend the reach of traditional family services by reducing geographical barriers. However, research suggests that technology must also be usable,useful and trusted if it is to be accepted.Recently,the Telephone Dispute Resolution Service (TDRS) was selected to pilot an innovative national project: Online Family Dispute Resolution (OFDR). This paper presents a number of considerations to take into account by service organisations prior to the implementation of innovative methods of service delivery. The aim of the research was to identify barriers to the use of OFDR technology by clients and service staff. We drew on and extended the Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT) to apply in the context of OFDR. Additional empirically validated constructs implicated in technology adoption were added to the theoretical model: trust and user innovativeness. On-line surveys were completed by 453 clients and 122 staff. 19 staff participated in qualitative interviews. The extended UTAUT accounted for a significant amount of variance in potential end-users' intentions to take part in OFDR. Client capability and staff attitudes towards OFDR showed promising results in the pre-contemplation phase. A number barriers and concerns identified by staff regarding OFDR will be used to guide the implementation phase. In sum, clients and staff appear open and able to adopt OFDR.We conclude that research embedded in an action-learning approach to technology innovation offers significant benefits to inform and benefit implementation methodology.

Cheron-Sauer M
Keeping Kids In Mind (KKIM) : post separation case management for families with complex needs - building resilience for children and families. [Abstract]

It is now well recognised that after separation, the majority of children do well in the long-term. It is entrenched conflict surrounding separation that is damaging. Families presenting repeatedly to the courts present primarily with complex issues, including mental health difficulties and domestic violence. Children are often used as part of the battery of weapons to express rage towards the ex-partner with little attention given to the psycho-social consequences for children. An important component of achieving good outcomes for children is ensure that parents presenting with complex needs are supported and have access to a range of specialist services that meet their needs. Children also have a right to have their needs assessed and attended to. In recent years, in the family law context, there has been widespread recognition that families are in need of a range of services to assist them with the separation. There has, however, been little attention paid to the development of a comprehensive post-separation case management system with specialised screening, assessment and referral and ongoing monitoring of clients' needs and progress as they engage with specialist services for their multiple needs. The KKIM Case Management Model is an interagency collaboration between four Catholic social welfare services, which provides comprehensive case management for families experiencing moderate to high conflict after separation. This presentation reviews the international and Australian literature on post separation case management and describes the KKIM Interagency case management model. Challenges of working in an integrated manner across four agencies are also highlighted.

Cheron-Sauer M
Keeping Kids In Mind (KKIM) post-separation case management - model for families with complex needs : building resilience for children and families. [Abstract]

It is now well recognised that after separation, the majority of children do well in the long-term. It is entrenched conflict surrounding separation that is damaging. Families presenting repeatedly to the courts present primarily with complex issues, including mental health difficulties and domestic violence. Children are often used as part of the battery of weapons to express rage towards the ex-partner with little attention given to the psycho-social consequences for children. An important component of achieving good outcomes for children is ensure that parents presenting with complex needs are supported and have access to a range of specialist services that meet their needs. Children also have a right to have their needs assessed and attended to. In recent years, in the family law context, there has been widespread recognition that families are in need of a range of services to assist them with the separation. There has, however, been little attention paid to the development of a comprehensive post-separation case management system with specialised screening, assessment and referral and ongoing monitoring of clients' needs and progress as they engage with specialist services for their multiple needs. The KKIM Case Management Model is an interagency collaboration between four Catholic social welfare services, which provides comprehensive case management for families experiencing moderate to high conflict after separation. This presentation reviews the international and Australian literature on post separation case management and describes the KKIM Interagency case management model. Challenges of working in an integrated manner across four agencies are also highlighted.

Claessens A, Chen J and Msall M
Early childhood health and school readiness. [Abstract]

Given the increasing emphasis on school readiness skills both in Australia and across the world, it is essential to understand the links between early conditions and school readiness. Children born pre-term or with a low birth weight face a myriad of problems in their early years that might be linked to poor school readiness skills. In addition, characteristics of families and out-of-home child care might serve as protective influences for some children with health problems. To answer these questions, we will utilise data from both cohorts of the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC). We will examine the relationship between key early health indicators and school readiness at age 4-5 as measured by child achievement and socio-emotional functioning. We will capitalise on the longitudinal data available to control for important child and family background characteristics that might influence both health and school readiness. We will also examine trajectories of early health and how out-of-home contexts, such as child care, might moderate the relationship between poor health and school readiness. This research will provide one of the first systematic analyses of early childhood health and school readiness using a nationally representative sample of Australian children. The knowledge generated from this research will help to better understand how early health influences the constellation of skills and behaviours that lead to children's school success. Such knowledge could help guide early childhood policies and programs related to both health and school readiness.

Clark H
Victim/survivors' knowledge of sexual offending and re-victimisation [Abstract]

Past sexual assault has been identified as a predictor of future victimisation, however the reasons for this have not been well established. Little is known about the nature of the relationship between past and future sexual victimisation or about the role of the perpetrators. Drawing on the narratives of 33 adult victims/survivors of sexual assault across Australia (nine of which had experienced multiple incidents of sexual assault as adults and ten of which experienced child sexual abuse in addition to adult sexual assault), this paper presents the women's various interpretations of the link between past and future victimisation. Specifically, the paper considers deliberate targeting by perpetrators, patterns of ongoing violence in relationships and the role of social contexts in sexual reoffending from the perspective of victims/survivors. Implications of these interpretations for constructions of 'risk' and 'vulnerability' are discussed.

Cooke J, Hastings C and Dalby J
'I want to pay, but I'm struggling...': helping Child Support Agency customers to manage debt and compliance. [Abstract]

There are half a million single-parent households with children in Australia, with nearly 20% of children living in one-parent families. A significant number of children are therefore financially disadvantaged, as separated parents are more likely to be unemployed, have lower education levels and be at risk of financial stress than parents who are not separated. This paper will focus on how the Child Support Agency (CSA), through its Integrated Customer Referral Model, is supporting separated parents with low levels of financial literacy and at risk of having high levels of debt, to better manage their money and meet their child support obligations. Established in late 2009, the Financial Counselling and Literacy Project will assist Financial Counselling and Credit Reform Association counsellors in addressing the financial problems of child support customers. First time child support defaulters are being targeted for early referral to financial counselling or a broad range of support services. CSA has also partnered with the Brotherhood of St Laurence to increase customer participation in the Saver Plus Program to encourage regular saving and increase financial literacy. This paper will discuss the initial evaluation of these programs and current CSA research into debt and child support compliance.

Dale C
Weathering change and loss together : building family wellbeing through resilience and emotional literacy. [Abstract]

Significant change and loss can put families under a great deal of pressure. Family wellbeing is underpinned by the resilience of individual members and the effective communication between them. Resilience comes from the confidence of having the tools, strength and social support to face life's various challenges. Effective communication is borne of emotional literacy: the ability to identify and verbalise one's own emotions, and to readily hear and relate to the feelings of others. Families face many big changes and losses: illness or death of a loved one, relationship breakdown, unemployment, and more. As each family member grapples with their own experience of confusion and frustration, lines of communication may break down. Resilience and emotional literacy enable family members to create an environment where thoughts and feelings are readily shared. Seasons for Growth is a program which bolsters resilience and emotional literacy in children, young people and adults who have experienced significant change and loss. Participants develop coping skills that enable them to manage their current situation and prepare them for future challenges, building self-esteem and resilience. Their new life skills and widened perspective enable participants to communicate more effectively and in a shared language in their family interactions.

Davenport E, Yap M and Allen N
Maternal and adolescent temperament as predictors of maternal emotional behaviour during mother-adolescent interactions. [Abstract]

This study examined maternal and early adolescent temperament as predictors of maternal emotional behaviour during mother-adolescent interactions. The sample comprised 151 early adolescents (aged 11-13) and their mothers (aged 29-57), recruited through schools across metropolitan Melbourne. Self-reports and mother-reports of adolescent temperament were collected, as well as self-reports of maternal temperament. The mother-adolescent dyads were then observed participating in event-planning and problem-solving interactions, during which the frequency of aversive, dysphoric, and positive interpersonal maternal behaviour was recorded. Analyses indicated that adolescent temperament (particularly maternal ratings of adolescent temperament) was a significant predictor of aversive and positive maternal behaviour, and accounted for greater proportions of variance in aversive and positive maternal behaviour than maternal temperament. The findings revealed that adolescents who are perceived by their mothers as higher in temperamental Negative Affectivity are generally exposed to more frequent aversive and less frequent positive maternal behaviour. Additionally, mothers lower in self-reported Effortful Control displayed less frequent dysphoric behaviour. Emotionally expressive behaviour from mothers bears importance for adolescents' own emotional behaviour, thus these findings generally suggest that, through their relationship with maternal emotional behaviour, temperamental dispositions may have important implications for the development of emotion-regulation skills and thus emotional well-being in adolescents.

De Vaus D, Gray M, Qu L and Stanton D
Relationship breakdown and social exclusion : a longitudinal analysis. [Abstract]

Research has consistently shown that divorce has negative impacts on individuals' financial position, health and other dimensions of wellbeing. However, much of the existing research has been cross-sectional, making it difficult to identify the impact of relationship breakdown and to analyse how these impacts change as the length of time since the relationship ended increases. This paper uses longitudinal data to extend previous work into the effect of relationship breakdown on financial wellbeing (equivalent household income), labour market participation, deprivation measures and social connections and support. The analysis is based on data from the first 8 waves of the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia survey. The availability of 8 waves of data allows a comparison of wellbeing and social exclusion prior to and after relationship breakdown, and of those who experience relationship breakdown to those who do not experience relationship breakdown. The extent to which the impact of relationship breakdown differs between groups (e.g., education, age, ethnicity, presence of children) will be estimated. The impact of re-partnering in helping people recover economically and socially from divorce will also be considered.

Di Nicola K
Young Australians : what matters, what concerns them and what's the place of family in their lives? [Abstract]

In 2009, Mission Australia conducted its eighth annual survey of young Australians aged 11-24 years to explore what is important to them, their concerns and where they turn for advice and support when they have a problem. Close to 50,000 young people from diverse backgrounds participated, making it the largest annual survey of young Australians. This presentation will feature both the quantitative and qualitative data from the survey and include a particular focus on the place of family in the lives of young Australians. The data will be broken down by age, gender and the living arrangements of young people, with data from homeless young people and those living in foster care also included. Changes over the 8 years the survey has been conducted will be explored, as will some of the policy and practice implications of the research. This rich data is particularly timely given the current focus on the development of a national agenda for young Australians.

Diemer K, Humphreys C, Frere M, Crinall K, Ross S, Laming C, Hurley J and Healey L
An integrated response to family violence : Safe at home - supporting women and children to live without violence, gathering the voices of women. [Abstract]

Generally, women who experience intimate partner violence are compelled to leave their home when attempting to leave the abusive relationship. Recent Victorian government policy reform initiatives focus on assisting more women to remain at home, while removing the abusive partner. The philosophical basis is to avoid punishing women and children by uprooting them from their homes, communities, schools and social networks, and to hold men accountable. However, staying in the home where they were subjected to abuse may not be the preferred or safest option for some women. This paper explores initial findings from a questionnaire undertaken with 100 women receiving support for family violence which examined women's decision-making processes when thinking about leaving home. In addition to understanding how women conceptualise options, make choices and select support preferences, the findings have implications for system accountability and collaborative processes. Specifically, in ensuring the safety of women and children through: information sharing, risk assessment, referral pathways, case-management and holding men accountable.

Dittman C, Sanders M, Keown L, Farruggia S and Rose D
An evaluation of an online self-directed parenting intervention for families of children with early onset conduct problems. [Abstract]

Only a small proportion of parents access evidence-based parenting interventions, suggesting the need for alternative delivery contexts to improve their accessibility and population reach. Recent consumer preference data indicates that approximately a quarter of parents identify web-based delivery as their preferred program format. The presentation will describe an online version of the well-evaluated Triple P - Positive Parenting Program. Triple P Online is an 8-module, highly interactive internet program, which includes video demonstrations of parenting strategies and case scenarios, goal setting, an individualised workbook, podcasts of module content and text message summaries of weekly goals. We will also present preliminary findings from a randomised controlled trial, which examined whether Triple P Online improves outcomes for families with a child aged 3-8 years showing disruptive and oppositional behaviour in comparison to a self-directed workbook. To date, 156 of the 200 participants enrolled have completed pre-intervention assessment and have been randomised to condition (77 in internet, 79 in workbook). Post-intervention effects will be presented for the families who have completed the intervention phase. These results will be discussed in relation to the potential for online interventions to improve the accessibility of evidence-based parenting interventions.

Doherty C
Negotiating institutional contradictions : educational strategy in mobile Australian Defence Force families. [Abstract]

Mobility is a fact of life for Australian Defence Force (ADF) members, which can present significant challenges for their families in negotiating transitions in schooling, care and spouse employment across postings. The paper reports on an interview study with parents in 33 ADF families across three towns, exploring experiences and coping strategies for reconciling plans for their children's education with workforce mobility for career advancement. Families are understood to be pursuing a number of career and educational projects with competing priorities that need to be harmonised within the family unit. The project is premised on the 'new mobilities' paradigm, which seeks to account for how movement is a necessary and constitutive part of life and becomes an issue when there is too much or too little mobility. It also draws on Beck's thesis of individualisation in the risk society, which puts more emphasis on the individual and family unit to find their own solutions to contradictions encountered between systems and institutions. Analysis of the narrative data exposes unintended effects of marketisation in educational policy whereby practices such as waiting lists, enrolment zoning and holding fees make it difficult for the mobile family to exercise their right to choose.

Douglas S and Fletcher R
The co-construction of involved fatherhood on YouTube. [Abstract]

The extensive changes in women's employment has led to a reconsideration of the role restrictions which defined mothers as homemakers and fathers as breadwinners. Community values applying to parenting have also shifted and fathers are now expected to be involved in the care of children alongside mothers. However, while mothers' workforce-participation has been redefined as typical, fathers' engagement with children's care remains limited, leading to claims that the identity of fathers remains anchored in breadwinning. This study examines the construction of fathering identity through the public presentation of father-child interactions on YouTube. YouTube commands nearly 10% of all internet traffic, with 65,000 videos uploaded each day, providing a unique forum for people to present themselves in a public domain. The presentation of father-infant interaction to a large audience with minimal guidance or censorship creates the possibility of defining an identity for fathers that is centred on male-infant care. The analysis of highly-rated, home-made video clips depicting father-infant interaction suggests that an identity for fathers based on nurturing infant development is being constructed by fathers and their partners in the social space of YouTube. The role of humour in legitimising fathers' exploration of their new role is also described.

Dowsley F
A statistical view of physical and sexual violence victimisation. [Abstract]

Physical and sexual assault can affect a wide range of individuals, families and communities and the occurrence of these crimes concerns many Australians. However, acts of interpersonal violence are traditionally prone to under-reporting to authorities and often remain 'hidden' from the justice and other support systems. It is often difficult to obtain a clear picture of the nature, frequency and effects of these crimes. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) uses household surveys as a key tool in measuring the occurrence of these crimes in the community. In 2005, the ABS conducted the first national Personal Safety Survey to collect information about women's and men's experiences of violence - the occurrence, attempt or threat of either physical or sexual assault. The survey provided an opportunity to take a longer view of victimisation, as it asked about experience of abuse before the age of 15, in addition to incidents occurring after the age of 15 and throughout the life course. This presentation will provide a broad snapshot of findings from this survey relating to men's and women's experiences of violence, and the different characteristics of those experiences. It will also look in greater detail at the incidence and characteristics of repeat victimisation. Different sources of information about physical and sexual violence, and challenges in compiling and reconciling the evidence base in these areas, will also be discussed.

Eardley T
Child and family sensitive practices within homelessness services : results from a preliminary study. [Abstract]

A growing number of young children experience homelessness in Australia and an increasing proportion of people who use specialist homelessness and domestic violence services have young children with them. At the same time there is a continuing rise in removal of children from families and placement in out of home care. There is a significant overlap between these two areas of extreme disadvantage for children, but policies and practices towards homelessness and children's wellbeing have tended to operate in separate silos. This paper presents results from a preliminary study mounted by a network of researchers and practitioners in homelessness and child wellbeing set up with seed funding from ARACY and further support from the Sydney Myer Foundation. Staff in a representative, randomly selected sample of homelessness services across Australia (n=96) that regularly deal with families with children were surveyed by phone about: practices and orientation towards children and their needs; contacts and networking with other 'first to know' agencies in relation to homelessness and child wellbeing; the effectiveness of identification of children's needs; barriers and facilitators for effective inter-agency relationships: and initiatives that have worked in preventing and breaking the cycle of homelessness for families with children. We also held a small number of focus groups with homeless service users in New South Wales, South Australia, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory to discuss their experiences. The paper presents the results of this study and discusses the implications for policy, practice and future research in this area.

Edwards B, Gray M, Baxter J and Hunter B
The tyranny of distance? Carers in regional and remote areas of Australia. [Abstract]

Despite the importance of carers in less settled areas of Australia, the likely demand for carers in outer regional and remote areas due to population ageing and the lack of other services to care for people with a disability, little is known about their circumstances and the challenges carers' experience. In this paper we: document the geographic spread of carers and identify the outer regional and remote areas which have the highest concentrations of carers; examine carers' access to services and how this varies according to geographic remoteness; document the social, health and economic wellbeing of carers according to geographic remoteness; and investigate the impact of drought on carers. We find that carers in outer regional and remote Australia do experience a 'tyranny of distance'. Some parts of remote and very remote areas of Australia have high rates of carers per head of the population, with a large proportion of these carers being Indigenous. Many carers in outer regional and remote areas have difficulties accessing services and struggle to find employment. They have higher rates of disability than carers in inner regional areas and major cities. When they are employed, it appears as though carers' jobs are also more vulnerable to shocks to the local economy brought on by drought which, with climate change, is likely to be a more permanent feature of the Australian landscape. While rural communities provide information and advice to carers, carers seem to struggle to access services.

Edwards B and Maguire B
Some findings from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children - the LSAC annual statistical report. [Abstract]

Edwards S
Enhancing access to early years services by migrant and refugee families. [Abstract]

There is overwhelming evidence that the early years of life have a profound impact on a child's future. All families need to understand positive health, development and wellbeing messages such as good nutrition and literacy and the availability of services like Maternal and Child Health if their children are to reach their full potential. Low English proficiency was identified in A Fairer Victoria as a major barrier to citizens accessing services and taking advantages of opportunities in Victoria. Language should not be a barrier for non-English speaking families to access the wide range of information, resources and early childhood services available in Victoria. This paper will describe measures adopted by the Victorian Government to overcome this barrier and reduce the isolation experienced by migrant and refugee mothers with young children. In addition to significantly increasing funding for language support, the Government has adopted positive strategies for the early years workforce, the interpreting workforce and for parents to ensure our early years services are accessible to families with little or no proficiency in English. Research conducted for the Office for Children found that Chinese and Arabic speaking families lack understanding of key early childhood messages around literacy, nutrition, and the importance of engaging with Maternal and Child Health Services, and that Community and Linguistically Diverse Radio was the preferred means of acquiring this information. This paper will examine the issues faced by migrant and refugee families accessing early years services, highlight research commissioned to assess the way migrant and refugee families interpret key early childhood messages and the service implications in becoming more culturally responsive. It will also examine how these issues differ between rural and metropolitan Victoria and the impact of settlement decisions. New program initiatives are providing considerable assistance to the increasing number of Victorians (around 3.8% of the population) who have little or no proficiency in English.

Eisenstadt N
The Families at Risk review : implications for tackling complex disadvantage. [Presentation]

Panel session - Addressing family disadvantage

Eldridge D
A snapshot of child health and wellbeing in Australia. [Abstract]

Ensuring children get the best possible start in life is central to the health, social inclusion and productivity agendas of the Australian government. For more than a decade, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) has played a leading role in the development, monitoring and reporting of indicators on children's health, development and wellbeing. A picture of Australia's children 2009 is the fourth in a series of AIHW national statistical reports on Australian children aged 0-14 years. The report draws together the latest available information on how Australia's children are faring according to key national indicators of health, development and wellbeing, covering areas such as health status, risk and protective factors, early learning and education, family and community environments, and safety and security. The key message from the report is that most children in Australia are faring well, but signifi cant areas of concern remain and for some areas there is just not enough information to tell. This presentation will provide an overview of the key findings from this report. Information will be presented on issues such as mortality, chronic disease, trends in risk and protective factors, early learning and literacy and numeracy, and the safety and security of Australia's children. The poorer health, developmental and wellbeing outcomes for Indigenous children, and Australia's relatively poor performance on key international indicators such as infant mortality and teenage births will also be discussed. Information will also be presented on the data gaps that currently exist in the national monitoring of children's health, development and wellbeing in Australia.

Elizabeth V, Gavey N and Tolmie J
Listening for history in mothers' stories of custody disputes. [Abstract]

In family law proceedings, mothers who are in dispute over care arrangements for their children risk being pejoratively constructed as hostile and obstructive. In this paper we draw on the narrative accounts of custody disputes provided by 21 women living in the upper North Island of New Zealand to suggest that such pejorative constructions of mothers are only possible when the moral demands of motherhood are overlooked. In our study we found mothers usually subscribed to the cultural tenet that contact with non-residential fathers is generally in a child's best interests, but were often prompted by the complex moral obligations associated with the care of their children to raise questions about the value of, and strains associated with, particular kinds of arrangements for contact with particular fathers. On the basis of our findings, we argue that it is imperative for family law researchers and practitioners to uncover the history of, and reasons behind, the positions that mothers have adopted. Moreover, having uncovered such histories it is important that these are contextualised in relation to the contemporary norms of maternal conduct. When this occurs, we think it is highly likely that researchers and practitioners will come to an appreciation of the difficult moral dilemmas that mothers face as they strive for stable, supportive and safe arrangements for their children; and that they will be much less likely to consider custody disputes through the reductive rubric of the 'hostile mother'.

Esler M, Robertson J and Shipley M
Indigenous families and their engagement with the child support system. [Abstract]

This paper explores how Indigenous families arrange care for children whose parents live apart and seeks to explain how cultural and other factors affect their engagement with government services. In 2008, FaHCSIA consulted with organisations providing services to Indigenous families, with a particular focus on child support. Semi structured interviews were conducted with approximately 75 organisations in 18 locations around Australia. Interviews clearly indentified that care for Indigenous children is informal and shared across extended family and broader kinship groups. In particular, grandparents play a pivotal role in caring for children and may not receive financial support from family or government. Reasons identified to explain limited engagement with government services include: inappropriate/inaccessible communication materials; the complexity of systems like child support; the cultural gap between agencies and Indigenous families; and historical mistrust of government agencies. These findings have implications for both policy and service delivery. Policy needs to recognise the complex and flexible family and care arrangements in Indigenous families. Service delivery strategies appropriate for Indigenous families would include: more appropriate communication materials; increased collaboration with services already successfully working with communities; and ongoing engagement with elders to build trust.

Fehlberg B, Millward C and Campo M
Links between post-separation parenting and financial arrangements. [Abstract]

This paper presents findings from the first wave of data collection of a 3-year qualitative, Australian Research Council-funded project exploring the interaction between shared care arrangements and financial (child support, property and partner maintenance) settlements over time. Not surprisingly, Wave 1 findings revealed clearer links between parenting time and child support transfers than between parenting time and property settlements. There were, however, also several instances where child support and parenting time did not appear linked, especially among private collect and self-administer cases. Property settlement was affected by a complex, individualised range of factors, including previous marital status, ownership of pre-relationship assets and notions of fault, as well as post-separation parenting arrangements and other financial exchanges. Across the sample, parents were generally very aware of the links between parenting and financial settlements (especially child support). In some cases, the links were manipulated to gain a financial advantage or to retain a family home for the children's security and stability. Occasionally, child support was traded off for more property, to 'keep the peace' or to maintain the child's relationship with the other parent. Property was also sometimes sacrificed to 'keep the peace' or to promote child support payments.

Fletcher R, May C, StGeorge J, Morgan P and Labans D
Fathers' perceptions of rough and tumble play. [Abstract]

Father-child play which is vigorous, physical and highly stimulating and which simulates fighting ("rough and tumble play" or RTP) has been suggested as important for child development and as a key aspect of male parenting. Evidence from animal studies suggests that RTP during development can stimulate brain development leading to improved cognitive performance. However, RTP in humans has only recently been investigated and fathers' views of RTP have not identified. Father's attending a Healthy Dads Healthy Kids weight loss program with their primary school age children which included RTP were asked to describe the effects of the RTP elements on their fathering role at the conclusion of the program. Their responses were positive (as were the responses of their children, both girls and boys) however the fathers' estimation of the importance of RTP to the father-child relationship and to their role as a father varied. For some fathers, the opportunity to engage in RTP was novel and increased their understanding of how to play with their child. For other fathers the RTP component was not important or was problematic. Directions for further research on RTP in the recently funded Healthy Dads Healthy Kids implementation trial of the program are discussed.

Freiberg K, Homel R and Branch S
Clowning Around : evaluating program effectiveness using a new measure of child wellbeing. [Abstract]

Outcomes within Pathways to Prevention are monitored using a wide range of data collection methods, techniques and tools. As part of our broad approach to project evaluation we recognise the importance of supplementing information about children's developmental status provided by adult carers with data derived directly from young people themselves in order to build an accurate and comprehensive picture of children's adjustment and well-being. Clowning Around is an interactive computer game that we developed as one way of including children's voices in the measurement of program impact. Clowning Around is a measure of primary school-aged children's wellbeing that is (i) suitable for use with groups of young people in community settings (e.g., at schools and youth programs); (ii) sensitive to change so program-related impact can be monitored over an extended period of time; and (iii) suitable for use with a range of respondents including children of different ages and literacy levels. The measure focuses on indicators of positive development (e.g., interpersonal relationships, resources for coping, sense of purpose, being safe). This paper provides details of the development and psychometric properties of Clowning Around and demonstrates its use in evaluation of the effect of Pathways program participation.

Freris H and Redwood J
International Social Service Australia : International Parental Child Abduction. [Abstract]

International Parental Child Abduction (IPCA) is a term used to describe a situation in which a parent takes a child to another country without the other parent's consent (or a parent takes a child on holiday to another country, with consent, but then refuses to return the child). Cases of IPCA occur regularly across Australia and the rest of the world. In Australia, an estimated 2-3 children are taken by a parent into or out of the country each week. ISS is a leader in this field and is the only Australian NGO providing IPCA-related services. ISS offers assistance both to left-behind parents seeking the return of their abducted children and also to parents who have abducted a child or may be thinking of doing so. Our service focuses on the best interests of the child and is provided free thanks to government funding. ISS Australia proposes to present a poster defining and describing IPCA and answering the following questions for parents and service providers: What legal protection is there? What can be done if a child has been taken to another country without consent? International Parental Child Abduction and Domestic Violence.

Goldfeld S, Oberklaid F, Sayers M, Silburn S, Zubrick S and Brinkman S
The status of early childhood development in Australia. [Abstract]

It is now understood that life success, health and emotional well-being have their roots in early childhood. Consequently early childhood development outcomes have become important markers of not only the welfare of children but also predictors of future health and human capital. Within this context the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) selected the Australian Early Development Index (AEDI) as a national progress measure to reflect the importance of early childhood development within its human capital reform agenda. This commitment included funding from the Australian Government for the first national AEDI census. As a result, in 2009 there were 261,203 AEDI Checklists completed (representing 97.8% of the five year old child population) by 15,531 teachers from 7,423 government, Catholic and independent schools (95.6% of eligible schools). This is the first in a series of four short presentations analysing the patterns of early childhood development across Australia. As such, this presentation will provide a brief background and history to the AEDI prior to presenting the national results including analyses by socio-economic disadvantage and remoteness.

Goldfeld S, Oberklaid F, Sayers M, Silburn S, Zubrick S and Brinkman S
The status of early childhood development in Australia : children with additional needs. [Abstract]

The Australian Early Development Index is a population measure of child development based on a teacher completed checklist. In 2009 the AEDI National Census collected information on 261,203 children in their first year of full time schooling across the country of which 4.4% (n=11,479) were classified as having a diagnosed chronic special need (physical or emotional) on entry to school. Another 4993 (2%) children were reported as requiring further assessment or referral by their teachers. As a separate but related item, teachers also reported whether children had developmental difficulties that interfered with their ability to do school work in a regular classroom, resulting in an additional 45,676 children (17%). This paper provides an indication of the Australian prevalence of diagnosed and undiagnosed developmental conditions and impairments in this school entry cohort with analyses by socioeconomic disadvantage and the remoteness of where the children live. The results reveal that (1) teachers recognise children's developmental needs early in their schooling, (2) the considerable burden placed on the schooling system in addressing children's needs and (3) the opportunities for intervention to shift children's developmental trajectories early in their educational pathways.

Goodin R
Who's really time poor? [Abstract]

Australia is blest with time-use data that constitute the gold standard worldwide. Social researchers make heavy use of that data, and rightly so. That helps us see important dimensions to social disadvantage that are elided by statistics reporting financial flows alone. People can be 'time-poor', just as they can be 'money-poor'; and those two groups are very often not the same. However, social researchers ought take care in interpreting that data. In particular, people use their time in the way they do out of choice or out of necessity. In his keynote, Professor Goodin will propose a way of measuring how much time people strictly need to spend on various activities of daily life. He will show the importance of making this distinction by reference to groups that are the most and the least advantaged, in terms of this measure of 'discretionary time'. A person in a dual income household without children and a lone mother would appear to be equally time-poor on naive time-use measures of 'free time'. But they lie at the very opposite ends of the spectrum, when it is calibrated in terms of Goodin's measure of needs-based 'discretionary time' instead.

Goodnow J and Lawrence J
Bequests and families' economic wellbeing. [Abstract]

The economic wellbeing of families varies with the size and predictability of potential resources. This includes state provisions, income from work by family members, and transfers of money or property across generations, either before death or as bequests. Our focus on bequests is prompted by reports of two kinds of change: an increase in the number of people in a position to leave bequests (more people now own the house they occupy) and a decline in the number and size of bequests, often referred to as a shift toward parents 'spending the kids' inheritance'. Both have been reported in several countries, including Australia. A further prompt is a large British survey, funded mainly for policy reasons, of views about bequests (structured interviews with 1,000 people varying in age and ethnicity, and several focus groups). From that study there arises interesting results (to be summarised) and the recommendation that further work is needed on the meanings and qualifications that often accompany levels of agreement with general statements and mediate the impact of change. To do so, we have used a mix of methods and age groups in two studies. This identified the significance to people of the uses made of money not set aside for bequests, perceptions of 'deservingness' and 'entitlement', and the difficulties of income planning given parents' discretionary rights, longer life-spans and potential changes in family structure - results that bring us closer to an understanding of change and its implications.

Grace R and Bowes J
Barriers to participation : the experiences of disadvantaged families in engaging with early childhood services. [Abstract]

Within Australia there is widespread commitment to the benefits of early childhood education and extensive concern about the low levels of engagement with these services in disadvantaged communities. This research explored the barriers and facilitators of participation in early childhood services for families who live in disadvantaged communities. A mixed-method approach was employed, utilising both surveys and in-depth qualitative interviews. The research design was guided by an eco-cultural approach, placing the focus on the sustainability and meaningfulness of family routines and understanding engagement with services through this lens. Participating in this study was 100 parents of preschool-aged children from six targeted areas across NSW, representing rural, remote and suburban communities. This sample included sub-samples of Indigenous and non-English speaking background families. Most of the participating families (85%) had enrolled their child in an early childhood service. However, there were varying degrees of engagement among the families. Findings demonstrate that decisions around early childhood service engagement are influenced by financial constraints, as many would predict. Also of significance are family beliefs around the role of early childhood services and the role of the family as carers. Past experiences with, and understanding and trust of, formal services, particularly educational services, play a pivotal role in parent decision-making. There are clear intersections between cultural practices and the nature of engagement. The findings of this research have important implications for practitioners and policy-makers as they strive to reach the target set by the current Australian Government for all 4-year-old Australian children to attend a pre-school setting.

Hamilton M and Redmond G
What are the implications of monitoring social and emotional wellbeing among Australia's children and young people? [Abstract]

There is little agreement in Australia or internationally on how social and emotional wellbeing in children and young people should be monitored. Yet the monitoring of social and emotional wellbeing is now firmly on the policy map, with a number of agencies in Australia committed to carrying out regular monitoring exercises. This raises questions about how the data collected should be used. This paper proposes two major types of usage for indicators of social and emotional wellbeing - to inform on 'the kind of society we would like to live in' and to support more direct policy-monitoring exercises. The paper evaluates the relative merits of positive and negative indicators of social and emotional wellbeing for these two usage types. It also maps out areas of direct policy and service provision where data on children's and young people's social and emotional wellbeing could potentially be useful, such as to monitor the need for mental health services among young people, and the effectiveness of some school-based programs. Finally, the paper considers how the collection of data on children's and young people's social and emotional wellbeing can be improved in order to support policy-making and practice in Australia, and how children and young people themselves can play a role in the selection of indicators and the interpretation of trends.

Hampshire A
Continuity of support : a critical issue for hard-to-reach families as their children start school. [Abstract]

The recent National Early Childhood Development Strategy is based on commitments to provide the best possible start for children and families. This strategy recognises that many families experience levels of disadvantage and vulnerability and that specific efforts are required to support these families, many of whom are considered 'hard-to-reach'. This paper describes a research project involving 50 families fitting the description of disadvantaged and hard-to-reach, as their children commenced school. The research aimed to identify decision points, and subsequently intervention points, for these families; assess the availability of appropriate support; and identify strategies and resources which support successful transition to school. Conclusions drawn from the research note that many families and children derive considerable benefits from the support and resources that are currently being invested in the early years. However, much of this support is limited (often by time or expenditure). Withdrawal of support at critical times can lead to a poor return on this investment. Recommendations from the research include calls to recognise transition to school as a time of additional stress for families, identify complementary supports for families, build on family strengths, and maintain supports across the transition to school.

Harmer A and Goodman-Delahunty J
Practitioner views of best interests of the child : preliminary data from a national survey. [Abstract]

In all jurisdictions, including Australian courts, for decisions about children, the paramount consideration is the 'best interests of the child'. Courts often rely on an assessment by a psychologist in making this determination. The absence of any clear definition of 'best interests' or professional guidelines to inform the methodology or interpretation of findings leads to challenges for scientist-practitioners to effectively assist the court. Currently available empirical literature has not considered whether there are differences in the importance of factors depending on the age of the child or considered whether experts make decisions based on a short- or long-term time frame. It appears that the child's 'psychological best interests' is the primary goal, but other goals such as educational success or family relationships may lead to other factors being more important. These parameters need to be defined to improve the scientific and probative value of expert evidence. The author is conducting the first Australian national survey of psychologists and legal practitioners involved in Children's and Family Court proceedings. This research is designed to address the gaps in our knowledge of expert practices as identified above. The research also seeks to understand how the legislative factors related to 'best interests of the child' are used by experts. This paper presents preliminary results from this national survey. A greater awareness of practitioner's views and any differences between psychologists and legal practitioners will provide better understanding between these two professions and an improvement in the use of psychological evidence in the courts.

Harris N and Tinning B
Hearing parents' choices : choosing quality long day care in northern regional Australia. [Abstract]

The last decade saw the rise and collapse of Australia's largest for-profit child care provider. Policy-makers assumed that the for-profit sector would ensure a 'market' that provided a wider range of child care choices and increased opportunities for accessing quality long day care. However, in rural and regional areas, the idea of choice is necessarily limited by what is available within a practical distance. With smaller populations and less likelihood of profit making economies of scale, choice has been reduced to an idea of luck, if indeed parents are able to find a vacancy in their child care service of choice. This paper presents qualitative data gathered from 70 parents in northern regional Australia, interviewed in two research studies in 2007 and 2009. Parents from Darwin, Cairns, Townsville and Mackay spoke of their search for quality long day care in a complex and rapidly changing child care landscape. For Indigenous and non-Indigenous parents, the role child care played in their lives went far beyond an educational tool or child minding service. In communities often characterised by distance from friends and family, fluctuating economic growth and limited services for those outside the mainstream community, quality child care can offer the hub of community that many families seek. At this critical time of child care policy change, this research draws on the voices of parents to explore the interplay between conceptions of family and ideas of choice, quality and the market mechanism.

Harrison L
Does the type of child care in infancy predict 2-year-olds' adaptation to group care? [Abstract]

Studies of childcare commencing in infancy have noted that quality has long-term consequences for children's development. Considerable effort therefore has been spent on defining what is meant by quality care for children under 3 years of age, with some consensus that care should be emotionally supportive and foster secure attachment. Research has shown that children's attachments to caregivers and their wellbeing in childcare are enhanced in care contexts that are more stable, with a suggestion that stability is more likely in home-based rather than centre-based settings. This paper examines the question of whether home-based care in infancy is better able to facilitate emotionally supportive relationships with caregivers than centre-based care, and further, whether there are longitudinal effects of infant-carer relationship quality and type of infant care. This paper looks at the data from 1,609 2-year-olds participating in the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children. Adaptation to child care was assessed by caregiver ratings of behaviour at arrival and separation (e.g., when this child arrives he/she greets you enthusiastically; while the parent is leaving, this child seems angry or sad). Regression analysis was used to test the type of infant care and infant-caregiver relationship quality as possible predictors of adaptive behaviour, along with child temperament, age, gender and maternal separation anxiety. Findings indicated that children who had received home-based care as infants were more adaptive at age 2 than children who had attended centre care. Positive adaptation was also supported by greater warmth and open communication in the infant-carer relationship, particularly for infants receiving home-based care. Infant temperament and maternal separation anxiety also predicted 2-year-olds' behaviour.

Hayes A, Weston R and Qu L
From form to function : framing family policy to address contemporary choices, changes and challenges. [Abstract]

Our personal wellbeing is vitally bound up with the quality of our relationships - especially, though by no means exclusively, those within our family. Supportive and fulfilling family relationships are central to personal wellbeing and dysfunctional relationships often turn the 'haven' into 'hell'. Research suggests that complex inter-dependencies exist between family functioning, family form and the wellbeing of family members, all of which are also closely connected with the choices, changes and challenges facing families. Many of these stem from forces beyond the family, in the worlds of community and neighbourhood, work, and the wider, political, economic and social contexts. Family relationships - how they reflect and shape our scope for choice, how they change across life, and how they are influenced by the challenges we face - are notably under-emphasised in discussions of social inclusion. The paper seeks to identify synergies and gaps in contemporary policy to support and promote positive family functioning.

Higgins D
Community development approaches to safety and wellbeing of Indigenous children. [Abstract]

Under the National Framework for Protecting Australia's children, it is recognised that: (a) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are significantly over-represented in all parts of the child protection system across the country; and (b) that families and communities that are disadvantaged, such as Indigenous communities, require additional responses. The Framework also highlights the need for prevention efforts, focused on culturally appropriate, strength-based family and community supports. In line with this, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) has recognised community safety as one of the key building blocks for addressing disadvantage in Indigenous communities. Drawing on the Closing the Gap Clearinghouse (a COAG initiative, being delivered by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and the Australian Institute of Family Studies), this paper provides an overview of the evidence-base in relation to specific issues for prevention of child abuse and neglect in Indigenous communities. The background factors affecting Indigenous communities are outlined to provide a context for the high rates of reported abuse and neglect for Indigenous children - and the strategies that are needed to address abuse and neglect. Indigenous definitions and approaches to child safety and child wellbeing (Australian and overseas), including the concept of 'cultural safety' are described. As well as noting gaps in the evidence base, promising culturally competent policies and practices in Australia and overseas are outlined, including: (a) family support approaches to prevention; (b) family decision-making models for intervening; (c) public health model; (d) situational crime prevention principles; and (e) Indigenous community control.

Higgins D
Impact of past adoption practices : summary of key issues from Australian research. [Abstract]

Although reliable figures are not available, in the decades prior to the mid-1970s, it was common for babies of unwed mothers to be adopted. Estimates of the number of women, children and families affected by the relinquishment of babies by unwed mothers are considerable. A review of the available research on the issue of past adoption practices in Australia was conducted. The available information highlighted: (a) the wide range of people involved, and therefore 'ripple effects' of adoption beyond mothers and the children that were relinquished; (b) the role not only of grief and loss, but the usefulness of understanding past adoption practices as 'trauma' and seeing the impact through a 'trauma lens'; (c) the ways in which past adoption practices drew together society's responses to illegitimacy, infertility and impoverishment; (d) anecdotal evidence of the variability in adoption practices; (e) the role of choice and coercion, secrecy and silence, blame and responsibility, the views of broader society, and the attitudes and specific behaviours of organisations and individuals; (f) the ongoing impacts of past adoption practices, including the process of reunion; and (g) the need for information, counselling and support for those affected by past adoption practices. Although there is a wealth of primary material, there is little systematic research on the experience of past adoption practices in Australia. In many areas, the information needs of those developing policies or services to support those affected by past practices cannot be addressed by the existing research base.

Hill T, Thomson C and Cass B
Young carers : the social geographic correlates of education and employment disadvantage. [Abstract]

Reduced participation in education and employment at crucial transition phases in the life course may have long-term implications for economic security and social inclusion and may compound locational disadvantage. Research and official inquires have identified young people with caring responsibilities as a potentially vulnerable population group with lower rates of education participation and attainment and reduced rates of employment compared to their non-carer peers. The extent to which the 'young carer disadvantage' in education and employment varies between small area geographical regions is yet to be fully explored in Australia. This paper uses the ABS 2006 Census of Population and Housing to investigate geographical variations in the young carer disadvantage in education and employment. The study explores socio-demographic factors associated with higher carer disadvantage, including socio-economic status of areas, local unemployment rates, area educational attainment rates, household characteristics, cultural diversity and young carers' contributions to unpaid work. Responding to policy concerns about the 'hidden nature' of young people's care-giving, and implications for access to formal services and supports, the analysis also explores the issue of geographical variation in education and employment disadvantage for young people who do not report caring roles in the Census but who may be 'potential carers'.

Hirte C, Rogers N, Wilson R, Gao F and Segal L
Relationship between socio-economic status and child abuse and neglect in South Australia. [Abstract]

This paper reports the findings of an exploration of the relationship between the rates of child abuse and neglect and socio-economic status (SES). While other research has identified associations between poverty and child abuse, this has generally been in relation to individual children and families rather than on a population-wide basis. Child protection data from 2006-08 held by the South Australia Department for Families and Communities were used to calculate the annual rates of reported and confirmed childhood maltreatment within 121 statistical local areas (SLA) across South Australia. Results indicate that not only the level of SES of a child's local community - as represented by Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA) - but that of neighbouring communities may be related to the incidence of childhood abuse and neglect. Areas with observed rates of abuse and neglect above or below those expected based on their SES were identified. The SEIFA index of relative disadvantage consists of 17 items from the 2006 Census that indicate disadvantage in the community. The study also explored the items within SEIFA that indicated the strongest associations with rates of child abuse and neglect.

Homel R, Freiberg K and Branch S
Outcomes to grade 7 for children in the Pathways preschool intervention. [Abstract]

The first phase of the Pathways to Prevention Project in 2002-3 was focused on the transition to school and involved the integration within a community development framework of family support programs with pre-school and school-based programs in the seven participating schools. Over the years 2001-2003 pre- and post-intervention data were collected relating to 647 preschool children, allowing the construction of matched intervention and control groups. The preschool intervention was effective in improving children's communication skills and reducing their difficult behaviour, over and above the effect of the regular preschool curriculum. Importantly, the combination of enriched preschool programs in concert with family support produced better outcomes than either on its own. Intervention effects persisted to the end of Grade 1. In the intervening years Pathways has extended the range and depth of family programs and has focused on building connectedness between families, schools, and local helping agencies. This paper reports child outcomes (social and emotional wellbeing, behaviour and school performance) for the preschool cohort when they were in Grade 7, relating these outcomes both to the effects of the original intervention as well as to the effects of different forms of child or parent involvement in Pathways since preschool.

Hulse K, Spinney A and Kolar V
Reframing family homelessness : a citizenship approach. [Abstract]

This paper discusses the first wave of results from a longitudinal study on the experiences of homeless families. Within Australia there is surprisingly little literature on family homelessness. The limited empirical evidence suggests that, whilst changes in family relationships and domestic violence can be a trigger for homelessness, problems of housing affordability and inability to access appropriate are important reasons why families become homeless. In particular, difficulties in accessing and remaining in private rental accommodation contribute to families with children experiencing considerable housing instability, often living in marginal housing such as caravan parks or various types of transitional accommodation. Recent scholarship about citizenship has put an emphasise on gender, culture and place. This view of citizenship is not simply about relations between citizens and the state but also about other types of relationships between citizens and organisations. This paper frames the experiences of homeless families in these terms by focusing on their everyday lived experience and the ways in which they have understood and negotiated their rights and responsibilities, their belonging and their participation. In doing so, this paper enhances our understanding of a wider group of homelessness families, rather than just those who are recipients of services.

Humphreys C and Kertesz M
Identity not just compliance : keeping the child at the heart of the care record. [Abstract]

For people who spent time in institutional care as children, records and archives are of vital importance. Care leavers and members of the Stolen Generations often go through their lives without these tangible links to the past and to identity. Current and future practice in keeping, maintaining and accessing records needs to take heed of this damaging legacy and develop improved recording practices. The 'Who am I?' project - an interdisciplinary project involving social workers, historians, and archivists - aims to explore the relationship between records and identity construction for people who have lived in out-of-home care. In its first year, the project held four participatory action research workshops to explore different perspectives on the problem of making records meaningful: the child's voice in and ownership of 'the record'; the role of existing records such as Looking after Children and life story work; the importance of cultural connections; and learning priorities. A year in, the 'Who am I?' team sees the main record keeping challenge for the out-of-home care sector as how to move beyond a compliance mindset to one that puts the child (now and in the future) at the heart of the record. This paper will report on the key findings of the 2009 workshops, and how these shaped a new action research project - 100+ Points of Identity: Gathering Young People's History for the Future - which is currently underway.

Humphreys C, Laming C, Diemer K, Frere M, Crinall K, Ross S and Healey L
An integrated response to family violence : supporting accountability in men's behaviour change programs - overview of programs in Victoria December 2008-January 2009. [Abstract]

Victoria has a history of responding to men who use violence through the development of men's behaviour change programs. These programs have been situated in the community sector and often unconnected to other organisations intervening in family violence including the criminal and civil justice systems. This paper reports on a 2009 survey undertaken with 29 Victorian Men's Behaviour Change programs (MBC programs). It was designed to look at the processes which extend accountability of MBC programs into the wider domestic violence intervention system. Survey responses were mapped onto the Men's Behaviour Change Matrix (Partnerships Against Domestic Violence, 2004) which was developed to establish guidelines for continuous improvement in these programs. In the survey, MBC programs were asked to provide information about the following dimensions: community partnerships / collaboration and organisational structure; pathways to programs; accountability and risk assessment process. The survey raised a number of issues about accountability of MBC programs and how other organisations interface with these programs in terms of information sharing, referrals, transparency of process, management commitment, risk assessment and feedback on issues of safety for partners and their children. These issues will be elaborated and discussed in the presentation.

Hunter B, Edwards B and Gray M
Farmers and drought : their financial stress, mental health and relationship distress. [Abstract]

The drought of 2002-07 had significant negative economic impacts on the Australian economy. It had particularly large impacts on financial hardship in regions affected, particularly among farmers. In this paper we investigate the effect of drought on the finances, mental health and relationships of farming families. We use the Rural and Regional Families study - a cross-sectional study of 8,000 people from rural and regional areas of Australia that includes interviews with 810 farmers - to conduct a detailed analysis of the factors associated with farming families' financial hardship, their relationships and mental health. We begin by investigating the effect of drought on farm production and how the economic viability of farms impacts on farming families. We then examine the impact of drought, farm production and the economic viability of farms on financial hardship, family relationships and farmers' mental health using regression. The influence of farming circumstances on these outcomes is also a focus (including the size and equity in the farm property, access to Exceptional Circumstances Relief payments, access to water sources and the years spent farming the land). We also discuss possible policy implications of our findings.

Hunter B
Pathways for Indigenous school leavers into training or employment. [Abstract]

If the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous socioeconomic outcomes is to be closed, Indigenous school leavers must optimise their engagement with the economic system. It is relatively common for Indigenous youth to spend some time in the workforce looking for jobs and changing jobs before going back to school to finish Year 12 latter in life. Consequently, in describing the pathways of school leavers, one can not focus solely on the late teenage years - Indigenous school-leavers follow a range of pathways and all of these pathways need to be understood before educational and employment gaps might be closed. This presentation will also focus on the process of further training, job search, getting a job and retaining that job for a substantial period of time. Some Indigenous people neither pursue education/training nor employment - as early experiences with parenthood and the criminal justice system can constrain available options. On balance such experiences illustrate the constraints facing Indigenous economic participation; however, custodial confinements can also involve elements of education, training and even work experience, all of which may have a role to play in the various pathways described. Engagement with the non-market sector may be an alternative which combines customary knowledge with a broad definition of productive economic activity. In practice, most Indigenous people living outside remote areas do not have such options. This presentation documents the available evidence about the factors and policy options that deliver sustainable engagement with the economy either through employment or further training to enhance future productivity.

Hunter N
Australia's children and young people : who is at risk? [Abstract]

According to key national indicators of children and young people?s health, development and wellbeing, most Australian children and young people are faring well. Australia has one of the world?s highest life expectancy rates and most children now grow up free from infectious diseases. Most children meet physical activity guidelines and educational standards. Despite this, there remains a significant population of children and youth who are exposed to a risk of social exclusion due to individual and familial factors such as parental unemployment, domestic violence, mental illness, parental substance abuse, disability and homelessness. Many children experience a combination of these factors, and therefore multiple disadvantage. This presentation will examine some of the key information available on children and young people at risk of social exclusion in the Australia. It will focus on key characteristics of these children and young people?who they are, what kind of experiences they have, and the types of disadvantage they face. Finally, an overview will be presented of the work the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare is undertaking in linking data across three major areas?child protection, juvenile justice and homelessness. This work aims to identify the characteristics of young people who move between these three sectors, and to provide valuable information for improving services for young people and for implementing, monitoring and evaluating targeted interventions.

Huston A
Children in poverty : can public policy alleviate the consequences? [Abstract]

Child poverty is persistent throughout the world, even in many wealthy countries. Among western industrialized countries, the United States has high child poverty rates (about 19% in 2008) as well as high income inequality. In recent years, U.S. policies to address child poverty have followed two paths: early intervention to improve the health and development of young children, and employment-based financial incentives and work supports for low-income parents. The results of these and other possible policies for children's development are discussed, and U.S. policies are compared to those in selected other western nations.

Janon N, Delfabbro P, Taplin J and Ziaian T
Effects of amount of time in child care on child social development : moderating effect of family conflict. [Abstract]

Family has a significant predictive effect on child development, even for children who attend child care. However, the effect of family on children development - particularly on the relationship between family conflict and the amount of time children spent in child care - is not extensively investigated. This study aimed to examine whether the effect that the amount of time in child care had on child social development would vary as a result of conflict in the family. It was hypothesised that spending greater amounts of time in child care would not be associated with differential developmental outcomes if children came from families that reported higher levels of family conflict. Since children with families who have higher levels of family conflict tend to have more behavioural problems, it was assumed that the effects of child care may be harder to discern among these children compared with those from families with lower levels of family conflict. To investigate this hypothesis, data was collected from 147 South Australian children. Results indicated that family conflict significantly predicted poor psycho-social outcomes even after controlling for other factors. The negative effect of family conflict on child pro-social behaviour was found greater when the children attended child care for several days per week. The results therefore suggest that the number of days per week spent in child care is a significant predictor of child pro-social behaviour, which in turn is dependent on the levels of conflict experienced by children in their families.

Jenkins B, Brennan D, Cass B and Valentine K
Information provision and kinship care : incorporating grandparent kinship carers as aged citizens and as a vulnerable user group. [Abstract]

Grandparents raising their grandchildren have particular needs for information on the support available to them. Having access to accurate, timely, complete and up-to-date information can greatly affect the wellbeing of grandparent kinship carers. It is known that information access is a problematic issue for kinship carers. This paper draws on 21 interviews with service providers and policy-makers in New South Wales, South Australia and the Northern Territory conducted as part of an Australian Research Council-funded project. Our analysis is informed by both the comprehensive literature on information provision by social welfare agencies, and a multi-disciplinary body of research regarding the information needs of aged citizens. Our findings show that grandparent carers are an increasingly visible population and that policy-makers and service providers recognise their need for financial support and other services. Nevertheless, the unique information-related needs of grandparent kinship carers are not currently being accommodated, resulting in exclusion from important services and support mechanisms such as payments, respite and parent training. We argue that current policies and services regarding the provision of information about kinship care need to be revised to accommodate grandparents who may often be both aged citizens and from a vulnerable user group.

Kaltner M
Re-referral for suspected child abuse and neglect concerns: the influence of family and child factors in a Queensland sample. [Abstract]

It is generally accepted that the primary aim of child protection systems is to ensure the safety of children brought to the attention of the child protection authority, through the prevention of further harm. Despite this intent, previous studies indicate child abuse and neglect recurrence rates to be between 9-30%. The majority of previous studies have focused on US or UK samples of 4-5 year data spans, with data from the child protection authority frequently being the sole source. In order to conceptualise the factors that exacerbate re-referral risk in Australia, the study examined a 25-year dataset of the Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect team located at the Royal Children's Hospital, Brisbane, with a range of data provided by Police, Health and Child Safety. Records of 6,669 cases from 1980-2005 were coded for analysis within the study. Results indicated that over the 25-year period, 5,943 unique children were referred to the team. Utilising multiple regression, the study examined the relationship between re-referral and various child and family-related variables. The relationship these variables shared with re-referral and the implications of these findings to child protection assessment are discussed within this presentation.

Karantzas G
Comparing the behaviours and perceptions of family caregivers and care-recipients. [Abstract]

Due to the lack of research examining the appraisals of family caregiving arrangements from the perspectives of both caregivers and care-recipients, very little is known about how the views that adult children hold about caregiving compare to older parents. Furthermore, little is known about how adult children and older parents fair in their perceptions of filial obligation and the quality of their familial caregiving relationships. Consequently, the aim of this study was to examine whether differences exist between adult children and older parents' perceptions of family caregiving, filial obligation and attachment style. The study involved 119 adult children (M = 50.11 years) and 148 older parents (M = 72.14 years), who were recruited through the University of the Third Age and the National Seniors Association. The samples were not of familial relation. Data were obtained using self-report and semi-structured interview procedures including an assessment of older parents' functional independence, adult child's caregiving and older parents care-receiving, perceptions of filial obligation, attachment style and carer burden. Significant differences were found between adult children and older parents' perceptions of caregiving even after controlling for parental dependency. Adult children consistently rated higher on filial obligation, caregiving and anticipatory future caregiving compared to older parents' perceptions of filial obligation, current care-receiving and willingness to receive future care. Although differences were not found for carer burden between adult children and older parents, the trend appeared to be in the same direction. The implications of the findings for professionals working with caregivers and care-recipients are discussed.

Kaspiew R
Evaluation of the 2006 family law reforms : key findings. [Abstract]

This paper provides an overview of the key findings of the Institute's evaluation of the 2006 family law reforms. Three main areas, reflecting the key objectives of the reforms, will be covered; (a) the impact of family dispute resolution with exceptions and patterns in service use and court filings more generally; (b) patterns in post-separation care arrangements including those in court orders; and (c) system responses to family violence and child abuse. Some unintended consequences arising from the way legislation is expressed will also be examined.

Kaspiew R, Behrens J and Smyth B
Family violence in relocation disputes : a pre-reform exploration. [Abstract]

Family law courts in Australia are often asked to make decisions about whether a parent (usually a mother) should be allowed to relocate with a child or children, where the other parent (usually the father) opposes this. In this paper we focus on the role that family violence plays on disputes over relocation after separation. It draws on research from a three-year Australian Research Council Discovery Grant project which adds to our understanding of the situations in which courts have to make these decisions, and of parents' experiences of living with the decision. A significant majority of our cases involved allegations of violence and/or abusive behaviour. The men and women in our sample talked in very different ways about violence, revealing strongly gendered discourses about this issue. Men's accounts tended to speak of violence in terms of engagement with the legal system over state protection orders obtained on weak grounds, allegations made falsely or blown out of proportion and claims about violence being used in a tactical way. Women, in contrast, struggled to label violent behaviours in ways recognisable to the law, and for them experiences of violence were a motivating issue (though not a deciding factor) in relation to relocation. Women's experiences of the response of the family law system were varied, with some experiencing recognition and validation, others feeling their concerns had been marginalised and others being advised to not even raise a history of family violence.

Katz I, Pe-Pua R, Gendera S and O'Connor A
Meeting the needs of Australian Muslim families : exploring marginalisation, family issues and 'best practice' in service provision. [Abstract]

There is a growing number of Muslims in Australia. Muslims constitute an increasing proportion of Australian society. In 2006 there were 340,389 Muslims - 1.7% of the total Australian population (ABS 2007). Although the Muslim population is extremely diverse and their needs vary considerably between the communities and the individual families, there are also some issues which are common to Australian Muslim families. This paper will present findings from a project funded by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship that studies the social needs of marginalised Australian Muslim families and examines what formal and informal support Muslim families draw upon to meet these needs. The project also identifies good practice within services to address these needs. The research consisted of interviews with young people, parents and community service providers in two areas of NSW. The research found there are indeed a wide range of issues facing Muslim families and very few quality services to meet their needs. Three issues were highlighted by the participants: the need to address the negative stereotypes of Muslims in the media, the importance of religion and religious institutions for all Muslims and the need to provide school-based services. This paper will explore some of the complexities of these needs. It will highlight some of the intergenerational tensions within the community but also some of the major strengths. The paper will point towards how services may better meet the needs of Muslim communities by providing better access to services and more appropriate methods of delivering them.

Katz I and Levene-Coley R
A policy framework for parenting. [Abstract]

Traditionally parenting has been considered a private matter and not of concern to policy makers other than in extreme cases of abuse. In recent years, however, parenting has become increasingly important to policy makers. Nearly all governments have policies which target parents and families in their central role of raising children. Most policies focus on providing parents with the time or money to facilitate parenting (such as paid parental leave and tax credits or payments). However, as the evidence base for the importance of parenting is growing, policies are being developed to intervene more directly in family life to encourage parents to improve their parenting capacities, and to provide sanctions for those parents who do not parent adequately. Many policies and programs have been developed to address issues relating to particular groups of vulnerable parents/groups of parents facing particular issues/challenges. However, parenting policies are often fragmented and there is little literature that looks directly at parenting, as opposed to family, policies Very little research has yet been conducted to compare parenting policies across countries. As such, insight is required to the need or nature of a national policy framework specifically focusing on parenting to underpin, embed and drive policy and practice. This paper is based on a comparison of six countries' parenting policies (Australia, UK, Ireland, Canada, USA and Sweden). The paper will explore some of the tensions in current parenting policy and will discuss some of the innovations being developed in this area in the UK and other countries. It will comment on how these developments could be relevant in the Australian context.

Kerslake-Hendricks A
Grandparents in New Zealand : pleasures, pressures and support needs. [Abstract]

The New Zealand Families Commission explored the roles of grandparents in New Zealand. Research data were gathered through focus groups, an online poll and a nationwide telephone survey of approximately 1,200 grandparents. The presentation will focus on the following topics: What are the main pleasures and pressures for grandparents? How do cultural traditions and expectations influence the grandparenting role, particularly within Maori, Samoan and Korean (new migrant) families? How are grandparents supporting children, young persons and their families? What lifestyle changes have they undertaken to provide this support? How do grandparents balance their own needs and interests with caring and family responsibilities? What support and information do grandparents want? What do agencies need to know in order to provide support and information to grandparents? The research has identified particular groups of grandparents for whom more support is needed (e.g., grandparents raising grandchildren) and highlighted the areas in which grandparents have unmet needs for information and support. A report based on this research, titled Changing roles: The pleasures and pressures of being a grandparent in New Zealand, was published by the Families Commission in February 2010.

Keys D and Kirkman M
'We never have anything with us' : children's experiences of homelessness in Victoria, Australia. [Abstract]

Homelessness is a significant problem for Australian children. In the year 2006-2007, 21,400 children, 29% of whom were aged 5-9 years, accompanied their families to Victorian homelessness services. This paper reports on recent research commissioned by The Salvation Army Melbourne Central Division, in partnership with the Council to Homeless Persons, Melbourne Citymission, and Family Access Network and undertaken by the Key Centre for Women's Health in Society at the University of Melbourne. Interviews were conducted with 20 children aged 6 to 12 years from diverse ethnicities and cultural backgrounds, most of whom were living in supported accommodation. Twelve parents/guardians were also interviewed. Children had experienced between 3 and 11 changes of residence, including hotels or motels, refuges, sleeping rough or in cars, rooming or boarding houses, and caravan parks. It was evident that homelessness adversely affected children's sense of security, their mood and behaviour, their physical health, their education, and their overall experience of childhood. The overwhelming conclusion to be drawn from this research is that children affected by homelessness need security, stability, and the chance to become and remain part of a community.

Kwok E and Kenny D
Resolving misattributed paternity disputes in the context of the family law and child's best interest. [Abstract]

Former Australian High Court judge Michael Kirby recognised that the family law regarding marriage and parental responsibility has been affected by increasing divorce rate and increasing availability of scientific parentage testing. Misattributed paternity is defined as a male partner's discovery, through paternity testing, that a child for whom he has been paying child support and acting as a father is not genetically related to him.There is currently no legal framework to guide how these matters should be resolved by the family law. The aim of the study is to: (1) compare the significance that is placed on adults' rights and children's well-being in misattributed paternity by analysing media coverage of the Magill v Magill and Mulvany and Lane cases and interviewing biological and non-biological fathers for their perceptions on these cases; (2) examine possible changes in the family legal system in order to create greater balance between adults rights and children's best interest by interviewing judges, magistrates, lawyers, mediators and counsellors who routinely work with child custody matters; and (3) generate a legal framework for resolving misattributed paternity that can be uniformly applied by the Family Law Courts and community-based family services. It became evident that this framework must: (i) increase the chances that a father would receive remedy for damages; (ii) provide that the way in which the mother compensates for the father needs to have minimal impact on the children's well-being; and (iii) increase the possibility that children's interests and family relationships are protected.

Lawrence J, McFarlane C, Kaplan I and Maher S
Developing appropriate measures for assessing needs and changes in refugee children. [Abstract]

Service providers and researchers face an urgent need to develop psychological tools that can identify the multiple and specialised issues and needs among refugee children. Particularly urgent is the need to develop evidence that tracks experiences of change and recovery. Refugee children's experiences of trauma and dislocation and language difficulties place particular constraints on measurement. It is not surprising that there is little research tracking the effects of interventions, in changes in individual refugee children's responses. Standard measures have limited applicability and sensitivity to vulnerable children and their life circumstances. We critique standard psychological measures and identify some indicators for judging their applicability to refugee and other vulnerable children. The critique focuses on the assumptions about normal and exceptional functioning that lie behind standard tasks, their language, assessment and research tasks, styles of presentation and facility for allowing young people to express their problems and needs. Our collaborative project involves clinicians and researchers working together to develop suitable tools for identifying children's initial difficulties, and to track changes in response to clinical and counselling intervention. We provide examples of the tasks and measures we are developing, specifically using computer-assisted tools in child friendly ways. Examples include sorting and simple projective measures that are attractive and accessible for refugee and other vulnerable young samples.

Levi M
Reflections on researching Sudanese mothers parenting teenagers. [Abstract]

Being a mother of adolescents is often a challenge but, for women with refugee backgrounds, the challenges can be more complex. Of the approximately 13,500 humanitarian refugees resettling in Australia every year, the majority are families arriving with adolescent children. Sole parents - often women whose husbands have been killed or have disappeared in wartime - head many of these families. My research investigated the experiences of recently arrived women from Sudan who are raising teenaged children in Melbourne. Using a qualitative methodology, I conducted in-depth interviews with Sudanese refugee mothers and with key informants from the community. A maximum variation sampling strategy was used as the aim was to gain insight into both the depth and range of the mothers' experiences. Results of the study showed that the mothers raise children in the context of complex challenges-such as family separation-and advantages-such as access to healthcare and education. This paper will elaborate on the methodological and ethical issues raised in conducting the research, and contextualise these within broader theoretical considerations. I will discuss some reflections on my experiences in the field and consider various questions these experiences raised on the role of the researcher in refugee communities.

Lodge J
The bully/victim continuum : stability of peer victimisation in school and patterns of internalising and externalising problems in early adulthood. [Abstract]

This paper uses contemporaneous and retrospective data to: (a) explore patterns of peer victimisation and school difficulties in early adolescence; and (b) examine the early adult outcomes along the bully/victim continuum with respect to internalising (depression, anxiety, and stress) and externalising (anti-social behaviour) problems. The data come from more than 1000 young people participating in the Australian Temperament Project. They cover two developmental periods: adolescence (at 12-13 and 13-14 years) and early adulthood (23-24 years). Adolescents were classified as belonging to one of four bullying subtypes: bully, victim, bully-victim or neither. The results show that the experience of peer victimisation in school was relatively stable over time. Furthermore, peer victimisation was also related to persistent levels of difficulties in school, especially social isolation. Results also indicated differences at follow-up (age 23-24 years) between bullies, victims, bully-victims, and those not involved in one of these behaviours, in terms of both internalising and externalising difficulties. Notably, symptoms of anxiety and depression were highest among victims and bully-victims. Victims also reported higher levels of stress, while bully-victims and bullies reported higher levels of anti-social behaviour. These findings underscore the relevance of chronic peer victimisation for adolescent wellbeing. In the longer term, they also point to concerning levels of internalising and extenalising problems along the bully/victim continuum - particularly among those who are both victims, and perpetrators, of this behaviour.

Macklin J
Opening address. [Transcript]
McCardle J
Preventing and reducing problem debt in families and whanau : putting research into practice. [Abstract]

Increasing levels of household indebtedness and the recent recession has prompted the Families Commission to examine what can be done to strengthen family resilience within the current economic climate. As an independent Crown entity, the purpose of the Families Commission's research is to provide the evidence that will bring about positive change for families and whåanau. This presentation will outline two pieces of research in the family economic wellbeing area. The first piece of research was conducted jointly with the Retirement Commission and uses survey data to test the degree to which financial behaviour could explain over-indebtedness in New Zealand families. The second piece of research captures the experiences of 40 families accessing budgeting services for financial support. The various factors that influence families' debt situations are explored. We will discuss how we have used this work as a basis for making a difference for families and whåanau through advocacy and to inform our plans for further research.

McDonald M, Bromfield L, Parker R and Higgins D
Building a robust evidence base through research/practice collaboration : lessons from Promising Practice Profiles. [Abstract]

Australia lacks a robust evidence base to inform the planning and delivery of services to children and families in disadvantaged communities. This evidence base is necessary because it helps to ensure that interventions to reduce the negative impacts of area-based disadvantage are effective. Although international evidence regarding effective interventions is useful the unique characteristics of Australia's socio-cultural context influences what interventions work, for whom and under what circumstances. Large-scale quantitative studies go some way towards the development of this evidence base; however, these studies cannot answer the question of how and why specific interventions work. This poster reports upon a review of an evaluation method that was designed to identify promising practice (i.e. the "how and why" of interventions) among child and family services in disadvantaged Australian communities. In this poster, the strengths and challenges of this method, known as Promising Practice Profiles, are explored. The key strengths include: encouraging collaboration between research and practice "cultures" and building the research and evaluation capacity of practitioners. The key challenge is that it brings researchers and practitioners into an "arena of change" that can make the process time-consuming and labour intensive. It is argued that identifying how and why interventions work, through methodologies such as Promising Practice Profiles, requires a bridging of the gap between research and practice cultures. The process of bridging this gap poses challenges for researchers and practitioners that need to be acknowledged in order to advance the development of a robust evidence base in this field.

McFarlane C, Kaplan I and Maher S
Researching the wellbeing of refugee families : findings and methods. [Abstract]

This paper aims to outline some of the issues raised in conducting research with refugee families. It draws on the experiences of researchers conducting interviews with refugee family members who had received services from the Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Torture. The purpose of this research has been to capture service outcomes and indicators of family wellbeing. The findings emerging from the study inform the process behind the undertaking of the research project. This study found that indicators of family wellbeing relate to the structure of the family, family roles, family function, family who are missing or separated, family violence and parental mental health. These elements influence the process of research with refugee families. Refugee families often have high needs, they may be fractured, strained and traumatised. Children and young people may hold particular roles within the family that are outside familiar developmental parameters. Given the unfamiliarity of refugee participants with research, language and cultural differences, care needs to be taken to ensure the integrity of both the researchers and participants. To gain trust and informed consent, respect and safety need to be privileged, interpreters have to be chosen carefully, and ethical considerations placed firmly above the research agenda. Using research examples, this paper anticipates some of the challenges unique to this group, such as where the research is conducted, who is present, and how researchers respond to participants. In doing so, the authors aim to promote a beneficial research experience for participants and researchers alike.

McFerran L and Laverty S
Older women : at home, at risk. [Abstract]

Violence against older women comes under the umbrella of both domestic and family violence, and older adult abuse, but has often fallen in the gap between. Contributing to the invisibility of older women has been the focus in the family violence sector on younger women and their dependent children, and poor collaboration between aged, health and family violence services to protect the safety of older women. Yet one in four women who have experienced a recent incident of physical violence are aged 45 and older, and older women are now entering homeless services in greater numbers than older men. Factors such as the rapidly ageing population, the impoverishment of some groups of older women and the failure to construct affordable single-person housing stock will contribute to rising levels of female abuse and homelessness in old age. This paper describes the work of the Older Women's Network NSW, including its report into violence against older women, The Disappearing Age, which calls for a gendered analysis of ageing; the campaign to increase GP-referral of older women experiencing family violence to specialist domestic violence services; and research into the hidden pathways of increasing numbers of older women into homelessness.

McFerran L
Domestic violence is a workplace issue : keeping working women on the job and on the road to recovery. [Abstract]

This paper will discuss the productive partnership between the Australian Domestic and Family Violence Clearinghouse (ADFVC) and trade unions to address domestic violence as a workplace issue. Returning or staying in work is known to be a critical pathway for women to leaving a violent relationship and retaining financial independence and capacity. However, the impact of domestic violence on an individuals' work performance can jeopardise their employment. Since 2009, the ADFVC has worked with the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) (NSW Branch) and other unions to provide information on international good practice in union initiatives that promote domestic violence workplace strategies. As a result, a set of model domestic violence clauses have been tabled in this round of enterprise bargaining in the New South Wales university sector. The clauses will provide paid leave for employees for relevant appointments, changes to working times and patterns, and confidentiality in the workplace. In consultation with Australian Working Women's Centres, the ADFVC also drafted a proposal to incorporate domestic violence measures into the Fair Work Act 2009. These have been submitted to the Australian Law Reform Commission Inquiry into domestic violence.

McGain L and Watkins D
Complexity in at-risk children and young people : systemic issues for families involved with mental health and child protection services. [Abstract]

In Australia, the concept of "harm" to a child can take a number of forms and its legislative context in Australia is well summarised. There is evidence to show that for maltreated children, injuries, infections, mental and behavioural disorders causing hospital admission occur at a higher rate than for their peers. However, not all forms of harm have a malevolent undertone and in some cases, can be caused as a consequence of serious psychiatric morbidity. Notwithstanding this, where there are issues of poor mental health and allegations or substantiations of harm to a child, families may find themselves in receipt of intervention from both Mental Health and Child Protection Services. This poster will look at the interface between Mental Health Services and Child Protection Services and identify "in-common" factors and those unique to either service system that can help or hinder service provision.

McGrouther K
LSAC sample management and data collection. [Abstract]

McGuire A, Gardiner E and Runge C
Understanding the impact of military deployment on families : an Australian study. [Abstract]

The effect of military deployment on the serving member has been extensively researched, with most literature linking deployment with poorer health and more symptoms of ill health in veterans relative to comparison groups. While most literature investigating the effects of deployment has highlighted numerous mental and physical implications for veterans, less attention has been directed to investigating these effects on the partners and families of the deployed member. The current research aimed to determine what, if any, physical, mental or social health impacts families experienced as a result of deployment. This research presents a qualitative description of the unique strengths, challenges and relationship processes in Australian Defence Force families. Four in-depth focus groups were conducted with partners of Royal Australian Navy, Australian Army and Royal Australian Air Force personnel who were deployed to Timor-Leste. Content analysis procedures were used to analyse the data. The findings support aspects of prior research but also provide new insights by exploring the influence of work-family conflict and family dynamics, and revealing how these factors impact the ability of families to cope with deployment separation. In light of the existing literature, conclusions and implications of these findings are addressed.

McKenzie H
A qualitative research study on child support - the influence of child support payments on single payee parent family's economic wellbeing : findings from a qualitative study. [Abstract]

The economic wellbeing of single parent families entitled to child support is often dependent on the actual receipt of the payment. Previous child support research has identified that payments are not always received, or they may be late or not the correct amount. As such, the receipt, or lack of child support can impact single payee parents' ability to financially provide for their families. This poster presentation will discuss findings from a qualitative study into the experiences of low-income single payee parents entitled to child support. Single payee parents spoke of their child support arrangements, their ability to rely on child support, their capacity to negotiate financial support with the payer parent, the values placed on child support, and the use of child support in relation to meeting the basic necessities for their families living experiences and situations.These findings will add to the existing Australian literature on child support for single payee parents.

McNamara J and Payne A
Social inclusion initiatives : the effect of 'joined up' approaches. [Abstract]

Developing policies and programs that support social inclusion is increasingly emphasised in a range of policy contexts both in Australia and overseas. These initiatives are likely to be based on 'joined up' ways of working, in recognition of the complexity and multidimensionality of social exclusion. However, finding out what works, in what context and for who, and then translating this information into practice is not always straightforward. In 2009, the ACT Chief Minister's Department commissioned the National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling to undertake a review of international social inclusion initiatives, with the aim of critically analysing the types of factors that contributed to the success of programs using joined up approaches. This paper presents findings from this work. We describe some key evaluations of social inclusion programs which had a strong emphasis on joined up approaches (many involving initiatives targeted at vulnerable families and communities) - both in the international literature and the growing body of Australian work in this area. We then go on to synthesise the key principles, success factors and pitfalls that emerge from the evaluation literature and from broader policy analysis and development. Practical implications of our findings for policy and program development conclude our presentation.

McNamara P, Lewis P, Carroll R, Halfpenny N, Elefsiniotis J, Webster M, Antonucci K and Wilks S
Respite care project : findings from the scoping exercise. [Abstract]

Respite care for children and young people usually takes the form of foster care provided for short periods, either through regular ongoing stays or in emergency situations that temporarily prevent the usual carer or carers from providing care. Local and international research suggests that respite care (both emergency and regular) can broaden social networks, de-escalate stress and increase the coping skills of carers and children and young people (Hartley, 2008). The Respite Care Project Consortium consists of Good Shepherd Youth and Family Service, Berry Street, Anglicare Victoria, MacKillop Family Services, Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency (VACCA), Office of Victorian Child Safety Commissioner and Victorian Department of Human Services - La Trobe University is the academic partner. This Consortium recently completed a scoping exercise to map respite care services across Victoria, by geography and program. Managers of all the respite care services identified by the Victorian Department of Human Services were approached by mail-out, with respondents engaging in semi-structured telephone interviews. This paper presents the study's qualitative-quantitative findings (Ochiltree, 2010). It describes the diversity and scope of respite care, the need and unmet need for respite, and suggests where respite care services are positioned in a continuum of family support. It presents managers' views on good practice and on current and projected needs for services. Findings support programmatic extension of respite care services to reduce stress, prevent family breakdown and support reunification. Resource development to extend the training of volunteer carers emerges as a priority. Findings from the scoping exercise will ground further mixed-methods research into the effectiveness of respite care.

Mendes P
Moving from dependence to independence : a study of the experiences of 18 care leavers in a leaving care and after care support service in rural Victoria. [Abstract]

Young people transitioning from state out-of-home care are arguably one of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged groups in society. Many have been found to experience significant health, social and educational deficits. Most western countries have now introduced specific policy and practice initiatives to improve the life chances of care leavers, but there have been varied conclusions about the efficacy of those programs. This paper argues that a community development support model based on a partnership between professionals social welfare workers and local community networks is most likely to enhance outcomes for care leavers. Particular reference is made to the leaving care and after care support program introduced by St Luke's Anglicare in the rural city of Bendigo, which has included key program initiatives around housing, employment and mentoring. Some conclusions are drawn about 'what works' in leaving care programs, including particular implications for rural policy and practice.

Meyer Tucker J
Reducing the "beauty pageant" approach to funding services for families. [Abstract]

The challenge for funding is an ongoing issue for non-profit organisations. It is important to note the difference between "For Profit" and "Non-profit" organisations in this matter. When a For Profit business finds a way to create value for a customer, it has generally found its source of revenue, that is, the customer pays for value. When a Non-profit finds a way to create value for a beneficiary (e.g. integrating prisoners back into society) it has not identified its economic engine: that is a separate step. It is a fair assumption to propose that Non-profit organisations are involved in two businesses: one related to their program activities (business model) and the other related to raising charitable subsidies (funding model). It is also a fair assumption to propose that the existing way families services are funded could be likened to a "beauty pageant". This "beauty pageant" or "chaotic fundraising scramble" of tendering for services does not sit comfortably within services for families because children and their families are not commmodities. Following an analysis of ten funding models, this poster explores how an Australian Non-profit organisation (that delivers services to children and families) has approached this challenge. It makes clear recommendations for both those receiving and distributing funding.

Millar J
Desperately seeking security : UK family policy, lone mothers and paid work. [Abstract]

Over the past thirty years family policy has become a significant and accepted part of the political and policy landscape in many industrialised countries. In the UK, and in many other countries, this has included an increasing focus on measures to enable parents to enter and to stay in employment. Work is the new welfare and work for all is a key policy objective. The policy logic is clear - paid work provides a route out of poverty, promotes social inclusion and wellbeing, and gives children a better start in life. This work-based welfare approach has changed the context in which people make their decisions about work and about when and how to combine work and care. This is particularly true for women, and even more so for women who are lone mothers. Lone mothers thus provide a good test case for examining the impact of the work-based welfare state on employment sustainability and family well-being. This paper outlines the key policy developments in the UK and then focuses on the lived experience of working lone mothers, drawing on longitudinal qualitative research with lone mothers and their children. This research highlights the importance of security to wellbeing in work, but also shows the difficulties in achieving that security.

Miranti R and Yu P
Persistence of social exclusion among older people in Australia. [Abstract]

The existing Australian and international research on social exclusion tends to focus more on children or working age people, whilst little specifically examines the social exclusion of older people. Where studies of social exclusion of older people exist, they suggest that disadvantage among older people is cumulative in nature. From these studies it follows that social exclusion among older people may persist over time. The aim of this paper is to analyse whether social exclusion persists among older people in Australia. There are three contributions of this paper. First, we will analyse measures of social exclusion for older people in Australia drawing from the previous literature. Second, we will examine whether an older person experiencing social exclusion at one time is more likely to experience it again (persistence). Third, we will investigate factors that may be protecting older people from experiencing persistent social exclusion. The poster will use all eight waves of the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey to examine this issue.

Miranti R, Cassells R and McNamara J
Employment status of partnered working women in Australia : examining the impact of male partners' characteristics. [Abstract]

Women's participation in the labour market in Australia has increased significantly during the past 20 years. Part of this increase is due to a substantial rise in labour force participation of married women. The theoretical literature has highlighted that the labour supply decision of married women is usually determined in the context of their family labour force participation, particularly the labour supply decision of the husband. This paper examines the effect of the male partner's characteristics on the employment status of women who are either married or living in a de facto relationship. We use data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia survey to understand the nature of these relationships for women engaged in full-time and part-time employment and women who are considered to be underemployed. We find that, when considering other factors that affect employment status, the characteristics of the male partner do have an affect on the employment status of partnered women, however these are complicated and vary with each employed group of women.

Moloney L
Mandatory dispute resolution and the 2006 family law reforms : use, outcomes, links to other pathways, and the impact of family violence [Abstract]

This paper draws on data from the AIFS evaluation of the 2006 family law reforms. It examines how often separated parents enter family dispute resolution (FDR) processes, the nature of the disputes brought to FDR, and the immediate outcome, including what percentage of parents that enter the process are judged to be suitable candidates and what percentage are issued with certificates. The paper examines the somewhat differing views of lawyers and family relationship professionals on the advantages of and risks associated with FDR, and the experiences of FDR from the perspective of the clients. Finally, consideration is given to what has happened an average of a year or so after separation to: those who reached agreement at FDR, those who did not reach agreement but did not receive a certificate, and those who were given a certificate permitting them to proceed to court should they wish to do so. These data raise important questions regarding referral patterns, use of service sector resources and the aims of clinical practice.

Nicol A
The experience of financial stress in Australia : the role of life events and prior stress. [Abstract]

Many families experience some form of financial stress. While families may experience some incidence of 'going without', this is likely to be a transient part of normal household budgeting practice. A far greater concern is the more severe forms of financial stress, especially where such stress persists over time. Research suggests some families are at a greater risk than others of experiencing financial stress, including single parents, income support recipients and those who have experienced certain major life events, such as a job loss or relationship breakdown. Little is currently known about the underlying factors that lead to or protect against financial stress in 'at risk' families. Using eight waves of data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia study, this paper presents findings on the incidence and persistence of different types of financial stress among individuals, with particular reference to the influence of major life events. Longitudinal analysis is employed to assess whether the characteristics of individuals who experience financial stress have changed over time. Multivariate analyses are also used to explore relationships between financial stress, demographic factors and major life events. Findings are discussed in relation to financial management policy.

O'Connor M, Sanson A and Frydenberg E
What is the relationship between positive development and psychopathology in early adulthood? A comparison of three models. [Abstract]

Emerging adulthood (18-25 years) is a transition period characterised by both great potential for positive change and a relatively high incidence of problem outcomes. Recently, a model of positive development during the transition to adulthood (at 19-20 years) was developed and tested on data from 1158 participants in the Australian Temperament Project. The model - comprising social competence, life satisfaction, trust and tolerance of others, trust in organisations and civic engagement - was found to be a reliable representation of positive development. However, little is known about how positive development is related to psychopathology. Some suggest that these are separate but inversely related, others see them as being on the same continuum with an absence of problems indicating positive development, and a third possibility is that they are completely independent. This question has important implications for theory and interventions: for example, should we expect an intervention aimed at preventing adverse outcomes to also promote positive development? Three models reflecting the relationships described above were tested. The aspects of psychopathology were: depression, anxiety, antisocial behaviour, problematic alcohol use and problematic marijuana use. The first model (separate dimensions, but inversely related) was a significantly better fit for the data than the other models, although a strong direct relationship between life satisfaction and depression was also found. These results suggest that positive development and psychopathology are best viewed as separate but related. Hence, intervention efforts in one area are likely to have a beneficial effect on the other.

O'Connor M, Stokes S and MacDonald S
Community Living Association, Inc. - Strong Families Project : holistic capacity building support to families headed by a parent with an intellectual disability. [Abstract]

Community Living Association, Inc. (CLA), established in 1989, is located in Nundah, Brisbane. This poster presentation will showcase the CLA Strong Families Project which supports families headed by a parent with an intellectual disability. National and international research demonstrates that parents with an intellectual disability are over-represented in child protection services and care proceedings. At the same time, a significant body of national and international research demonstrates that parents with an intellectual disability can parent effectively, with good supports. Common life experiences of parents with an intellectual disability supported by CLA include experiences of abuse and exploitation, childhood removal into foster care, unemployment, homelessness, poverty, mental illness, alcohol and drug addictions, social isolation, and few positive adult relationships. The CLA Strong Families Project works with parents and children, and the significant relationships in their lives to support parent-child attachment, child resilience, family well- being, and community engagement. The four key components of CLA Strong Families practice are Early Intervention; Holistic Service; Capacity Building; and Place Based Support. The efficacy of this model is demonstrated by the wide range of positive outcomes that have been achieved by parents, children and families involved in the CLA Strong Families Project.

O'Mara A
Family dispute resolution in practice : an overview of a service delivery model of child-focussed mediation and child-inclusive mediation. [Abstract]

The impact of post-separation conflict on children has received much attention recently and as such has been the catalyst for change in the way parenting disputes are resolved. Family dispute resolution (mediation) is now a compulsory first step for separated families as an alternative to court and has led to a dramatic change in the way parents resolve conflict post-separation in Australia. This paper will provide an overview of the service delivery models of both child-focused mediation and child inclusive mediation used by Relationships Australia Queensland. This paper will discuss the practical and theoretical benefits and limitations of both forms of mediation in effectively improving parental focus on the best interest of the child, parental communication, co-parenting alliance and children's and parent's satisfaction with parenting arrangements. The paper will also discuss future research projects involving interventions for both parents and children involved in post-separation conflict.

Oommen J and Carnovale C
Be.Heard project : listening to the voices of children and young people living in out of home care. [Abstract]

For most children and young people, major life decisions such as the school they attend or where they live are made by their parents. However, for many children and young people who live in out-of-home care, these decisions are made for them in formal processes, often by a number of adults who may not even know them. In recent years, the participation of children and young people has emerged as a significant issue for several reasons and state governments are beginning to recognise the need to listen to the voices of children and young people, particularly those in state care. The Victorian Child Safety Commissioner, in recognising the importance of young people's participation in decisions that affect them, commissioned the CREATE Foundation to adapt the Queensland Be.Heard program to reflect the Victorian context and to deliver the initiative in the Southern Metropolitan and Hume Regions. The Victorian Be.Heard project is an independent survey that listens to what children and young people are saying about their experiences in care. The survey covers areas such as health, cultural planning, education, participation, family contact, family decision-making, placement and support, best interests planning, complaint processes and transition from care. In this unique partnership, staff members from both organisations interviewed 161 children and young people aged 5-18 years, living in either kinship care, foster care, residential care or permanent care. The perceptions and experiences of these children and young people formed the basis of regional reports. These were provided to the Department of Human Services and contracted community service agencies responsible for these participants' wellbeing, to ensure their views centrally inform the continued development of care systems.

Price-Robertson R, Bromfield L and Vassallo S
What is the prevalence of child abuse and neglect in Australia? A review of the evidence. [Abstract]

Reliable data on the prevalence of child abuse and neglect is an essential component in the development and delivery of effective, evidence-based child protection policies and services. For example, the National Framework for Protecting Australia's Children has set the overall target of a 'substantial and sustained reduction in child abuse and neglect in Australia over time', which implicitly demands accurate maltreatment prevalence estimates. However, there has been no methodologically rigorous, nation-wide study of the prevalence or incidence of child maltreatment in Australia. This paper presents the findings from a systematic review of large-scale contemporary Australian studies (i.e., post-2000) that have either superficially measured the prevalence of all the forms of maltreatment as a component of a broader study or have measured one or two forms of maltreatment in detail. The review included 16 studies. A reliable range of prevalence estimates was found for physical and sexual abuse. There was some good evidence with which to estimate rates of emotional maltreatment and the witnessing of family violence. However, there was insufficient evidence to accurately estimate the prevalence of child neglect. This paper also discusses definitional and methodological issues that contributed to divergent prevalence estimates.

Pryor R and Field K
Mental health prevention, promotion, treatment and recovery within a Family Service Agency. [Abstract]

Four years ago, Drummond Street commenced embedding a public health framework across our agency. This included resourcing a high quality Family Intake Program to screen and assess across a range of health risks for all family members (adults, young people and children), to program-match according to the spectrum of interventions (promotion, prevention, early intervention, treatment and recovery), and to facilitate access programs and services within our agency and from the broader local community service system. Evaluation of our Family Relationship Counselling Program and our Family Mental Health Support Service has provided evidence for the effectiveness and value of family service agencies in addressing the causes and impacts of a range of health risks, including mental illness. Of particular importance, our client outcomes (including pre and post testing and quantitative data analysis) demonstrated significant reductions in mental health symptoms (from a level indicative of psychiatric diagnosis to a level indicative of absence of diagnosis), after six or less counselling sessions, and also significant improvements in couple relationship and family functioning, including increased cohesion and reduced conflict. In this way, our counselling programs were shown able to reduce onset and severity of health risks. Family services, as essentially universal services, are accessed by community members who may otherwise not seek help. Implications of our findings in terms of the public health potential of the family relationship and family service sectors, and in terms of the capacity of these sectors in providing mental health treatment via the family- or community- setting will be illustrated.

Purdie N
School attendance and retention of Indigenous Australian students. [Abstract]

This paper reviews the quality and breadth of the available evidence on strategies for improving school attendance and retention, evaluates the evidence base in relation to this, and identifies gaps in the available research. Areas of particular focus include: evaluations of programs and activities; research examining the cost-benefit and/or cost-effectiveness of programs and activities; research on adopting/implementing mainstream programs for Indigenous Australians and Indigenous people in other developed countries like Australia; and programs, strategies and practices for responding to traumatised individuals and communities, relevant to school attendance and retention. The paper highlights the importance of discussing school attendance and retention in diverse settings (urban, rural and remote) and considers the issue of students whose first language is not English.

Qu L, Weston R, Moloney L and Deblaquiere J
Grandparent-grandchild relationships after parental separation : findings from the AIFS Family Law Evaluation. [Abstract]

Quadara A
Contexts of women's sexual revictimisation. [Abstract]

This paper focuses on the role of community and social level factors in patterns of revictimisation and support-seeking, particularly for women. Following the ABS' analysis of socio-demographic and geographic characteristics of individuals with repeat victimisation histories, this presentation draws on community psychology, social disorganisation, social capital and collective efficacy literatures. This information is used to consider how a person's interpersonal and distal environments impact on vulnerability to repeat violence and discusses the resources available to seek formal and informal support from others. Implications for prevention initiatives and system responses to victims of interpersonal violence are considered.

Redmond G, Gubhaju B, Smart D and Katz I
Parents' education and children's outcomes : is the gradient getting steeper? [Abstract]

This paper compares the relationship between parents' education and children's outcomes in two surveys that follow Australian cohorts of children through their early years - the Australian Temperament Project (following children born in Victoria in the early 1980s) and the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (following children born in 1999). Over this period there has been a revolution in education in Australia. In the early 1980s, relatively few parents had a tertiary education, and a large proportion left school without qualifications. In the 2000s, a high proportion of parents have at least a bachelor degree (and significant numbers have higher qualifications), and very few leave school without any qualifications. This paper finds that the relationship between parental education and children's behavioural problems has grown more acute over the years: a low level of parental education is a stronger determinant of children's behavioural outcomes around age 9 now than 20 years previously. On the other hand, the association between parents' education and children's verbal reasoning/reading skills appears to have changed little. The paper explores how other factors, such as the child's temperament, and sociop-demographic factors including gender and ethnic background may mediate these relationships between parental education and child outcomes in the early 1980s and 20 years later.

Reid M
Does anyone really care? The inquiry into better support for carers - a case study. [Abstract]

The Inquiry into Better Support for Carers was regarded by many as a promising milestone for those providing unpaid care and support to family members and friends with a disability, mental illness or disorder, chronic condition, terminal illness or who are frail. It provided an opportunity to highlight the situation of family carers across the country and see their needs formally addressed at a national level. It opened the floodgates for discussion of the issues facing Australia's family carers, and had an unprecedented level of response with over 1300 submissions from community groups, organisations, professionals and, most importantly, carers themselves. As the national peak body representing family carers, Carers Australia was greatly disappointed by the lack of support for the Inquiry's findings. While the government committed to the introduction of National Carer Recognition Legislation, few of the 50 recommendations outlined in the Committee's 'Who Cares...?' report will deliver real change for carers. There was instead a great deal of rhetoric, with commitments and agreements to further consider. The social isolation and high levels of poor health and wellbeing experienced by family carers remain unaddressed. Young carers in particular, have been left unsupported and at risk of long-term disadvantage. The presenters will examine the government's response, the continued need for real reform to support family carers and meet future challenges, and the measures that should be introduced as a matter of urgency.

Reimondos A, Gray E and Evans A
Understanding living-apart-together (LAT) relationships. [Abstract]

Research on the nature and pattern of contemporary relationship formation and dissolution has almost exclusively focused on unions such as cohabitation and marriage in which the two partners share a common household. However, a growing body of research is now accumulating on a form of partnership not easily accommodated within traditional definitions of relationships: that of "living-apart-together" (LAT) relationships. People in LAT relationships identify themselves as being in intimate partnership with someone they do not live with. Interest in LAT relationships has only recently emerged and questions remain as to how these relationships should be defined and accommodated at both a conceptual and theoretical level. Using data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia survey (Wave 5), we estimate that 24% of the population aged 18 and over that are not cohabiting or married, identify as being in a non-co-residential relationship. We find that the meaning of these relationships varies greatly by life course factors, such as age, and previous relationship history. While the younger generations frequently anticipate moving into a common residence with their partner in the future, among the older generations, LAT appears to be a more permanent arrangement allowing a combination of both intimacy and autonomy.

Robertson J and Pryor J
Parenting Through Separation evaluation. [Abstract]

The Parenting Through Separation (PTS) program is available nationally throughout New Zealand. Over 5,000 parents have attended the 4-hour program since its inception in May 2006. The PTS program aims to educate parents about the impact of separation on children, how to minimise parental conflict and how to make post-separation care arrangements that are in the children's best interests. This presentation will detail the results of a recent evaluation of this program, including an assessment of the extent to which PTS is meeting its aims and the extent to which parents who attend the program report learning about separation and its effects on children. Using before-and-after measures, the evaluation also assessed the extent to which parents reported reduced parental conflict, more satisfactory care arrangements and improved child adjustment. While PTS is doing well in achieving most of its goals, the presentation will also discuss areas where it is having less of an impact.

Robinson E and Power L
What works with adolescents? Family connections and involvement in interventions for adolescent problem behaviours. [Abstract]

Adolescence is a critically important period of growth in which healthy individuation from family ideally occurs, particularly in Western societies. However, this premise has often been translated into a perception that young people are increasingly less likely to need family involvement and support in their lives. As a consequence of this, there is no consistent approach to the in¬volvement of family members in treatment and intervention options for young people in need of support. This presentation will summarise literature regarding adolescent-parent relationships and explore the evidence for family involvement in interventions, such as family therapy, to address adolescent problems. The RAPS Adolescent Family Therapy and Mediation Service, based in Sydney, will be described as an example of a preventative service working with both adolescents and their parents on issues that may lead to youth homelessness, including violence, substance abuse, truancy, running away, self-harm and family conflict.

Rogers H and Webb H
The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children : key research questions and policy applications. [Abstract]

Rose J, Baxter J and Hewitt B
Time to balance : do gender, context and employment hours affect satisfaction with time pressure? [Abstract]

This paper investigates women and men's satisfaction with time pressure using data from the 2006 'Negotiating the Life Course' study. We argue that satisfaction with time pressure is an important indicator of work-family balance. Three measures of time pressure were examined including: overall time pressure, time pressure at home, and time pressure at work. Our results showed that men and women in full-time employment reported the lowest levels of satisfaction with overall time pressure. However, women employed longer part-time hours were also significantly less satisfied with overall time pressure than women employed fewer hours, suggesting that not all part-time employment reduces overall time pressure. We found men and women employed full-time had higher levels of satisfaction with time pressure at home than those not employed or employed in some categories of part-time work. Additionally, men and women employed full-time had lower levels of satisfaction with their time pressure at work than those employed part time. These results raise important issues for understanding how perceptions of time pressure vary across contexts of work and home and in relation to employment hours. They also have implications for understanding the role of part-time employment in alleviating women's time pressure and assisting work-family balance.

Ross N
Contrasting children's participation through lawyers in family law and child protection proceedings. [Abstract]

National and international research carried out with children stresses that some children and young people want the opportunity to be more actively involved in legal proceedings where decisions are being made about their lives. Children's lawyers provide one means of facilitating children's participation. This paper presents _ ndings from a qualitative study of children's lawyers in New South Wales (NSW) who represent children in family and child protection proceedings. It explores lawyers' perceptions of their role in facilitating children's participation in the Family Courts and in the Child Protection jurisdiction of the NSW Children's Courts. In the interviews and case studies lawyers indicated that children participated much more actively in Children's Courts than in the Family Courts. The research highlights the need for lawyers to develop rapport and good professional relationships with children and young people in order to facilitate opportunities for their participation. However, lawyers' attitudes and commitment to developing rapport in order to facilitate participation vary greatly, as do the imperatives in the relevant legislation. The paper concludes that it is time for an engaged dialogue between children's lawyers, judicial of_ cers, policy makers and researchers about the value of children's participation and how this can be most effectively facilitated.

Sartbayeva A and Kanjanapan W
Does combining work and study affect engagement in leisure and recreation activities among Australian youth? [Abstract]

The recent National Early Childhood Development Strategy is based on commitments to provide the best possible start for children and families. This strategy recognises that many families experience levels of disadvantage and vulnerability and that specific efforts are required to support these families, many of whom are considered 'hard-to-reach'. This paper describes a research project involving 50 families fitting the description of disadvantaged and hard-to-reach, as their children commenced school. The research aimed to identify decision points, and subsequently intervention points, for these families; assess the availability of appropriate support; and identify strategies and resources which support successful transition to school. Conclusions drawn from the research note that many families and children derive considerable benefits from the support and resources that are currently being invested in the early years. However, much of this support is limited (often by time or expenditure). Withdrawal of support at critical times can lead to a poor return on this investment. Recommendations from the research include calls to recognise transition to school as a time of additional stress for families, identify complementary supports for families, build on family strengths, and maintain supports across the transition to school.

Sayers M, Brinkman S and Goldfeld S
Transitions to school. [Abstract]

Research shows that high quality preschool experience for children in the years before entering formal primary school enhances the overall development of children, with significant benefits for children from disadvantaged backgrounds. The same research suggests that quality preschool experiences should also enhance the transition experience for children. The Australian Early Development Index (AEDI) census in 2009 provides the first national snapshot of developmental outcomes for children with different preschool arrangements and their experience of school transition. In addition to the developmental information. teachers also record if children have attended an early intervention program and if the child has been in any non-parental care on a regular basis prior to school (e.g. preschool or child care). Overall 82% (n= 214,238) of children in the total cohort (n=261,203) attended part time or fulltime education and care. The AEDI checklist also included questions describing children's transition experiences with 70.6% of children making good progress in adapting to the structure and learning environment of the school. The relationship between preschool experiences, transition to school and developmental outcomes suggests that policy efforts to address educational disadvantage before children arrive at school are well placed.

Shin H, Rogers H and Bettini E
Involved fatherhood : does it help a mother's work-family stress? [Abstract]

The last few decades have seen an increase in women's workforce participation such that there are now more Australian women participating in paid work than ever before. Moreover, men are now working more paid hours than in the past. The wellbeing of family members is likely to have been significantly affected by these changes, and this raises the question of how fathers and mothers with young children in Australia are coping. This paper is specifically interested in father's involvement with child caring and whether this is related to mothers' work and wellbeing. The paper will investigate the impact of a range of factors on mother's work including return to work after child-birth and mother's perception of relationship satisfaction and work-life balance. The study will use data from families with 'intact' couples in the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC). Due to the nature of the research questions, and the need to gather information about family and work factors from the time of the birth of the child, only data from the infant cohort will be used. This preliminary analysis is intended to stimulate discussion on involved fatherhood, and assist in identifying policies that could assist women to participate more fully in the work force, while maintaining a healthy work-life balance.

Shipley M, Blakemore T and Zubrick S
Trajectories of family disadvantage in the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children. [Abstract]

Families, by virtue of the resources they have access to and/or control over, may be a source of both resilience and risk for children. When the resources available to children are limited, they may be disadvantaged, at risk of poor outcomes and vulnerable to social exclusion. This paper builds on previous work that established an index of multiple disadvantage for families participating in the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC). The index includes measures of family socio-economic circumstances, indicators of health and wellbeing and perceptions of support and safety. We use Waves 1 to 3 of LSAC to examine the transition of young Australian families into and out of multiple disadvantages. This paper exploits the longitudinal nature of LSAC to explore and describe the trajectories of families with multiple disadvantages and the implications for their use of health and community services. Families experiencing multiple disadvantages can face challenges in providing the developmental resources necessary for positive outcomes. Meeting the complex needs of families who experience multiple and entrenched problems poses a distinct challenge to social policy-makers and service providers. Understanding families' transitions in and out of multiple disadvantages provides vital information for social inclusion policy and program interventions.

Skelton F, Hidderley L and Atkinson J
Families with young children in Footprints in Time, the Longitudinal Study of Indigenous Children [Abstract]

My baby likes ... going for walks, reading books, bath time, sleeping, drinking breast milk (ngunga milk), teasing, swearing, pulling out hair, splashing in his swimming pool. In 2008, more than 1,600 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families were interviewed for Wave 1 of Footprints in Time: the Longitudinal Study of Indigenous Children. Families with children around one year old and families with children around four years old were chosen to take part in the study within 11 sites across Australian in remote, regional and urban areas. Families were interviewed for Wave 2 in 2009 when the children were around two and five years old, and are being interviewed again in 2010 for Wave 3. This session will introduce the study design and scope and highlight family characteristics such as family composition and size, age of mothers and number of siblings. There will be a brief analysis of family strengths, as reported through the study, major life events affecting families and parenting, and an examination of activities that are done with different members of the family. Some preliminary data from the Wave 2 Footprints in Time dataset, expected to be released late in 2010, will also be presented.

Smith L
Miles apart? A comparative analysis of the 2006 reforms introduced in the UK and Australia. [Abstract]

The powerlessness of the courts effectively to resolve parental conflict over children following relationship breakdown has long been a concern in both the UK and Australia. In recent years both countries have attempted to address the problem through law reform. Similar concerns, such as recognition of the need to look beyond law and engage wider community services in solving family problems, provided the impetus for reform in each jurisdiction. However, the actual reforms introduced differ significantly, both substantively and procedurally. This paper will compare the legislative changes introduced by the Children and Adoption Act 2006 in the UK with the more far reaching changes to family law and the family law system introduced in Australia in the same year. The paper will consider the similarities and differences in each jurisdiction's approach in terms of the impact the reforms are having on the resolution of family disputes and on the family justice system as a whole. It will also consider whether there is a case for suggesting that the UK should follow Australia's lead in this area as well as the broader question of what implications the changes in these jurisdictions might have for the future development of family law.

Smyth B, Rodgers B, Temple J, Esler M, Shephard A and Son V
Bargaining and negotiations over child support and parenting time among separated parents registered with the Child Support Agency. [Abstract]

Sweeping changes to the Australian Child Support Scheme were recently introduced, featuring a dramatically different system for the calculation of child support. The extent to which the new scheme is perceived to be 'fairer' and having improved the wellbeing of children and their families, is of considerable policy interest in Australia and overseas. This paper explores bargaining and negotiations over child support and parenting time among a national random sample of 5,046 Child Support Agency clients. This research is supported by an Australian Research Council linkage project between the Australian National University, the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, and the Child Support Agency.

Spangaro J, Zwi A and Poulos R
Effects of routinely screening women for domestic violence in health services : an evaluative study of the NSW Health program. [Abstract]

Domestic violence tends to be under-identified in health services despite the serious health effects it causes. In 2003, NSW Health introduced domestic violence screening for women attending antenatal, mental health, drug and alcohol, and infant health services. The first evaluative research of this program has recently been completed. The study found that many women use domestic violence screening to disclose abuse for the first time and that this action was based on active judgements about the safety of speaking of it. Surveys with women who did not disclose abuse indicated that 14% had actually experienced recent abuse. Women reported that after the experience of screening, their support for being asked questions about abuse increased. Self-reported changes to other attitudes in the six months since screening indicated an increased understanding of the nature of domestic violence, particularly among women who had experienced recent abuse. Screening reaches women who have not sought help from other services. Analysis revealed great diversity in the level of safety, nature of abuse and needs of women who disclosed abuse, pointing to the need for flexible and diverse responses. Screening provided opportunities for women to be assisted in a number of ways which will be explored in this presentation.

StGeorge J and Fletcher R
Travelling well : commuting parents' involvement with their children. [Abstract]

For most Australian parents, there is continuing tension between work and family commitments. This paper reports on a regionally based qualitative study that explored how 21 part-time or full-time working parents who commute 10-15 hours per week to work, manage both the quantity and quality of their time with their young children (0-5 years). The study revealed the difficult conditions of commuting and the importance of social support to parents' wellbeing, as well as a significant pattern of parent-child interaction that we have described as 'attentive parenting'. Four dimensions characterise attentive parenting: talking to children, planning quality interactions, mindful attention to parent-child interactions and giving undivided attention. Parents felt these activities contributed to the parent-child bond and their children's wellbeing in spite of an acknowledged lack of interactive time. The way in which parents were able to convert child-available hours to child-focused time gives a fresh insight into parenting practices and highlights parents' potential to successfully manage the union of caretaking and working roles. Family and work policies need to take into account not only the proportion of parents' time spent at work, but also contextual factors that contribute to successful family functioning.

Surtees N
Families in transition : the benefits and costs of NZ family law for lesbians, gay men and their children. [Abstract]

Families today are arguably exploring unfamiliar terrain in their transition to new forms of relationships. Despite progressive New Zealand family law, the rules determining parental status have not kept abreast of the diversity in family structure deriving from social change and reproductive technologies. Highlighting the uncoupling of conception and heterosexual sex, reproductive technologies are frequently central to the family innovation of lesbians and gay men. In requiring the intervention of third parties, establishing boundaries between all those involved can be challenging. Drawing from a qualitative study exploring how lesbians and gay men create and maintain family, this paper highlights the positive impacts of legislation on these families and the problems that can arise as a result of gaps in the recognition of some arrangements. The paper also discusses the benefits of legal recognition of relationships between lesbian non-birth mothers and their children, the limited legal protection available for donor fathers (men who have donated sperm to lesbians on the understanding they will share the parenting of any resulting children), and the consequences of their lack of protection for children. The paper concludes by recommending that more than two parents should be able to be identified in law in some situations.

Taft A, Small R, Hegarty K and Watson L
MOSAIC (Mothers Advocates In the Community) : a cluster randomised trial of mentor support to reduce intimate partner violence and depression among pregnant and recent mothers in primary care populations [Abstract]

Intimate partner violence (IPV) imposes a significant illness burden on mothers and consequently on children. A disproportionate IPV burden occurs among disadvantaged communities. GPs and maternal and child health (MCH) nurses are universal services with the potential to identify mothers at risk and refer them early on to appropriate support. However, there is a dearth of rigorous evidence to inform health professionals about where to refer. There is some evidence that social support, IPV advocacy or home visiting can benefit disadvantaged mothers and children. This paper reports the results of the MOSAIC cluster randomised trial. MOSAIC aimed to reduce IPV and depression among mothers identified by their GP or MCH nurse as at risk of or experiencing IPV. MOSAIC involved 24 GP and 82 MCH nurse clinics randomised after a day's training. 174 abused mothers 15 years or older were recruited from 215 eligible clinician referrals from January 2006 to December 2007. In the intervention arm, women received ?12 months weekly home visiting support from trained and supervised local mothers, offering non-professional befriending, parenting support, advocacy and assisted referrals. IPV, depression, wellbeing and parenting stress were measured at baseline and follow-up. The study found that non-professional mentor support appears promising for improving safety and enhancing wellbeing among mothers experiencing IPV who attend primary care.

Taylor J
'What happened to the babies?' A look at disadvantage and advantage across 18 years. [Abstract]

What happens to children who are disadvantaged (or advantaged) as infants? Is their fate really determined in the first few years of life? These questions are best addressed through longitudinal research and have been examined in earlier research for children over a relatively short time frame. The Brotherhood of St Laurence's longitudinal Life Chances Study commenced in 1990 as a study of children born in Melbourne that year. It aimed to follow the lives of those children over time and to explore a wide range of factors that influence their life chances, including family income, health, family relationships, social supports and ethnic background. The study has followed a group of 140 young people since their birth. This paper outlines some recent findings about educational outcomes and employment pathways for the whole cohort at age 18. It then presents new analysis that explores the fate of the young people who were identified as the ten 'most disadvantaged' and the ten 'most advantaged' as infants at the start of the study. It explores their pathways and 'outcomes'. The paper reflects on the implications of the findings for predicting outcomes and for supporting families through the years of childhood and adolescence.

Taylor M, Edwards B and Gray M
Area level unemployment and children's development in New South Wales. [Abstract]

In recent years there has been an increasing interest in the role that the community plays in children's development among researchers, practitioners and policy makers. Neighbourhood disadvantage has been found to be associated with poorer outcomes for children, including learning and behavioural outcomes and physical health. Job losses that arise from economic recessions have an impact on neighbourhood disadvantage, as job losses in recessions tend to be concentrated geographically and neighbourhood income inequality has increased after each economic recession. The effect of increasing concentration of unemployment in particular areas is expected to adversely affect children. What remains unknown is the extent of this adverse effect and which children are likely to be most affected. Another key priority from a policy and practice perspective is to identify the geographic areas where children are likely to be most affected. This is required to enable service providers and governments to allocate resources to geographic areas that are most in need. Using area level unemployment data from 2001, data from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children and the 2006 Census of Population and Housing, we intend to estimate the increased risk for poor developmental outcomes for children in New South Wales as a result of rising unemployment levels in the area, as well as project the geographic areas likely to have the most children at increased risk due to the rise in area level unemployment.

Troup C
Uptake of family-supportive leave among public sector employees : the relationship between leave utilisation and individual and family wellbeing. [Abstract]

Organisations are increasingly implementing a range of work-leave entitlements to assist employees to balance work and family responsibilities. Recent evidence has suggested mixed findings on the impact of work-leave policy on employees' wellbeing, citing organisational culture and inequity among employees as the major barrier to their uptake. There is limited evidence within Australia to effectively evaluate the impact of these policies. Examining leave use among a group of employees with a well-established set of policy entitlements and broadly similar working conditions allows for a detailed examination of the factors associated with the implementation of policy. Using data from an online survey of Queensland public sector employees conducted in August 2008, this paper reports on the utilisation of a number of entitlements including various flexible leave options as well as entitlements intended for employees with caring responsibilities (e.g., carers, parental leave). Regression analyses examine the relationship between leave utilisation on a number of measures of wellbeing. Findings suggest positive benefits are not always guaranteed, with differences evident across gender and leave usage. The paper concludes that implementation processes continue to hinder outcomes for some employees.

Valentine K, Helyar S, Skattebol J, Bevan K, Adamson E, Brennan D and Woodruff J
Because children and families matter : delivering on the national reform agenda. [Abstract]

The Australian Government has signaled a much needed shift in Australian social policy by using social inclusion as the underlying principle guiding reforms, creating a National Framework for Child Protection and including the needs of vulnerable children, young people and families in other related policy reforms. UnitingCare Australia and the Social Policy Research Centre at the University of New South Wales undertook a cross-cutting analysis of the government's ambitious reform agenda with a focus on the needs of children, young people and families, particularly those who are most vulnerable. This analysis mapped the core components and strengths of the following policy reforms: the National Framework for Protecting Australia's Children 2009-20, the National Early Childhood Development Strategy, the Early Years Learning Framework, the Australian Government Compact with Young Australians, the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women, and the Homelessness White Paper: The Road Home. Our analysis explored if and how reform agendas targeting vulnerable and disadvantaged children, young people and families are aligned, and if and how they can contribute to improved social inclusion and deliver positive outcomes for the people and communities they intend to support. This paper discusses the priorities and challenges in delivering on the promise of these reforms.

Vassallo S, Smart D, Cockfield S, Gunatillake T, Harris A and Harrison W
Drink- and drug-driving amongst drivers in their mid-20s : trends, stability and co-occurrence with other risky driving practices. [Abstract]

This paper presents findings from the Australian Temperament Project Young Drivers study, a collaboration between the Australian Institute of Family Studies, the Transport Accident Commission of Victoria and the Royal Automobile Club of Victoria. The study investigates levels of safe and unsafe driving among young Australians, and factors related to differing driving patterns. The aspects examined in this paper are drink- and drug-driving (driving when under the influence of illegal drugs). When combined with driving, substance use may have lethal consequences. Alcohol is the most common substance found in drivers killed or injured on Australian roads. While less is known about the impact of other drugs on driving performance, there is increasing evidence that illicit substances such as marijuana, amphetamines and ecstasy may also impair driving, particularly when used with alcohol. Data on the occurrence of drink- and drug-driving among a large cohort of drivers aged in their 20s are presented. The data come from the 13th and 14th survey waves (at 19-20 and 23-24 years). Three questions are addressed: How common is drink- and drug-driving (driving under the influence of marijuana, ecstasy and/or amphetamines) among drivers in their mid-20s? Do rates of drink- and drug-driving increase, decrease or remain the same from the late teens to the mid-20s? Are young drink-drivers more prone to engage in other forms of risky driving (e.g. speeding, driving when fatigued and drug-driving) than other drivers? The implications of the findings will be discussed.

Wade C, Mildon R and Polimeni M
Comparing the results of an Australian efficacy evaluation and an effectiveness trial for parenting interventions aimed at reducing child abuse and neglect. [Abstract]

Behavioural family interventions, such as parent training, are among the most widely evaluated interventions available to assist children at risk of child abuse and neglect. A large amount of evidence exists to support their effectiveness, particularly when such interventions are delivered by the developers of the programs. Much less research attention has been given to the use of evidence-based programs by practitioners at the coalface, and few examples of successful dissemination of such interventions exist. Using an example of programs developed to teach parenting skills to parents with an intellectual disability, the paper will present examples of two Australian parenting programs that were trialled first by program developers and then by practitioners who work with these families in a diverse range of services and agencies. A comparison of parent and child program outcomes will be made, with a view to evaluating the effectiveness of a training and dissemination model aimed at building the capacity of practitioners to deliver evidence-based interventions to families at risk of child abuse or neglect. This paper will conclude with a discussion of the implications of the gap between research evidence and scientific knowledge of 'what works' and the general practice of workers in the field.

Weston R
Child support liability, compliance and fairness : reports of parents who separated after the 2006 family law reforms were introduced. [Abstract]

Williams P and Bridge K
Segregation in the suburbs : how the suburbs are shaping work, home and community for Australian families. [Abstract]

Cities in Australia and around the world are struggling to cope with increasing populations. As a result, traditional suburbs are expanding and major new master-planned developments are being undertaken to meet the demand for housing. At the same time, a growing population of Australians are in paid work or seeking it, often combining caring responsibilities with their work, education and community activities. The demands and resources associated with living in outer suburbs affect how successfully people configure their home, work and community lives. If demands are high and resources inadequate, the wellbeing of individuals, families and communities is put at risk. The Work, Home and Community Project was a large multi-method research project designed to explore how different people, at different stages of life and living in different types of communities, experienced work, home and community. This paper focuses on the experiences of adolescents and working parents. The Work Home and Community Project conducted surveys, interviews and focus groups with 961 males and females aged 11-89 years. This paper reports on qualitative data collected from 174 adolescents and 93 parents in working households. These participants were recruited from outer suburban communities of Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane and included four master-planned communities and four adjacent, lower socio-economic, traditional communities. The suburbs offer many families a desired standard of living that may include home ownership, a sizeable house and a sense of community. If the level of resource in the community matches the daily demands faced by a family then their experience of integrating work, home and community is likely to be positive. If, however, the level of resource is inadequate - if there are inadequate amenities, few jobs and poor public transport for instance - individuals, families and communities become vulnerable. This paper will illustrate the vulnerabilities of families in the suburbs by concentrating on the experience of adolescents and women in particular. How we configure the suburbs in relation to work, education and recreation will determine the level of inclusion and opportunity for families living in these areas.

Wise S, Pollock S, Mitchell G, Argus C and Farquhar P
Meeting the education needs of out of home care children : messages from the Care-system Impacts on Academic Outcomes study. [Abstract]

For children and youth living in out-of-home care, education provides a pathway to social inclusion and opportunity. However, research consistently shows out-of-home care children are at a greater risk of experiencing poor education outcomes compared to children in the community more generally. There is good evidence to suggest that the circumstances of children on entry into care, as well as post-care events, can contribute to poor education outcomes. This paper presents findings from the Care-Systems Impacts on Academic Outcomes (CIAO) project - a large, comprehensive study of 199 children and youth aged 4-17 years receiving placement services from Anglicare Victoria and Wesley Mission Melbourne. Of a sub-sample of 142 school-enrolled children, three highly internally homogeneous and highly externally heterogeneous groups emerged as a result of two-step cluster analysis: 'damaged', 'disengaging' and 'doing well'. Qualitative interview data is also presented to elaborate and contextualise the picture built from the quantitative survey data. The formation of distinct and readily interpreted clusters on risk and protective factors known to predict school success is discussed in terms of responses within the care and education systems that may be critical in regard to improving educational engagement and outcomes among out-of-home care children and youth.

Yu P
Disability, participation and youth wellbeing. [Abstract]

Prior studies find economic and social participation important for wellbeing. What is less clear is whether such participation is more important for people with disability than for others. This research investigates the issue using the first eight waves of the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia survey, focusing on young people aged 15-24 years, who are at a critical transitional stage of life. Preliminary results show the onset of disability is associated with a lower level of overall life satisfaction (the key measure of wellbeing in this research), while economic and social participation generally improves self-reported wellbeing. In particular, employment, friendship and active club membership are more important for youths with disability than for the general population and are more significant than income for the wellbeing of young people in general. Overall, the results highlight the importance of economic and social participation for the wellbeing of young people with disability and the implications of the findings are discussed within a policy context.

Zimmermann D and Martin S
Developing Stepfamily Inclusive Practice : results from national training program evaluation. [Abstract]

This paper presents findings from the external evaluation of a National Stepfamily Practitioner Training Program funded by Dept of FAHSCIA in 2009-2010. 14 one-day "Repartnering with Children" workshops were presented to the family relationships sector in all states and territories, with the aims of: improving understanding and responsiveness to stepfamilies' needs and promoting understanding of stepfamily-inclusive practice. The training program utilised Stepfamilies Australia's model for Stepfamily Inclusive Practice. External evaluation was conducted by Dr Anita Pryor, Centre for Family Research and Evaluation on validation of effectiveness of Practitioner Training, including follow-up evaluation with participants and evaluation of the impact of consolidation training on practitioner effectiveness. The evaluation framework was guided by an examination of the experiences, effects and effectiveness of workshops, with a focus on impacts for practitioners across three key areas of practice to work with stepfamilies effectively: knowledge (level of understanding); skills (counselling and other skills); and confidence (a sense of competence). The experiences, effects and effectiveness of the workshops were examined against these key areas via both process and outcome evaluations of participants' experience of training and its impact on their practice, involving a range of research methods and data sources.