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Presentations by AIFS staff are listed below with links to abstracts, the complete paper, or slides from powerpoint presentations, if available.

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2014

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KaspiewR30 October 2014
Family law in Australia : research and policy development in the past decade.
Paper presented at the New Zealand Family Law Workshop, hosted by the University of Otago, Wellington, New Zealand

In this workshop, Dr Kaspiew will provide advise to a team from the University of Otago in relation to evaluation of reforms to the New Zealand Family law system.

Carson R29 October 2014
The whys and wherefores of children's matters with a special emphasis on Independent Children's Lawyers.
Guest lecture presented to the Monash Law School 'Principles of Family Law' class, Monash University Law Chambers, Melbourne Vic

Scott D18 October 2014
Understanding child neglect.
Paper presented at the Maternal and Child Health Nurse Victoria Annual Conference, Melbourne Vic

In this presentation, Dr Debbie Scott will discuss findings from CFCA Paper No. 20, which was released in April 2014.

Baxter J 8 October 2014
Child care in Australia.
Paper presented at the symposium 'Children, families, jobs in a 24/7 economy: Child-inclusive insights from Finland and Australia', Canberra ACT

This is an invitation-only symposium being organised by the Australian Government Department of Social Services and the Australian National University. Dr Baxter's presentation will include some analyses of Australian data on child care use in families of parents working non-standard hours.

Kaspiew R 7 October 2014
Honouring the role, meeting the challenges : a multi-dimensional empirical perspective on ICL practice.
Paper presented at the Independent Children's Lawyers National Conference, Sydney NSW

This presentation will present findings from the AIFS study on Independent Children?s Lawyers.

Price-Robertson R and Quadara A18 September 2014
Thinking about community level child protection.
Paper presented at the 2nd Annual Child Protection Forum, Melbourne Vic

This seminar presentation discusses key messages from two CFCA publications: 'Applying community capacity building approaches to child welfare practice and policy' and 'The good practice guide to Child Aware Approaches: Keeping children safe and well'.

Moloney L 9 September 2014
Mediation after the 2006 family law reforms : data from the first five years.
Paper presented at the 14th Biennial National Mediation Conference, Melbourne Vic

This presentation will discuss findings relation to mediation after the 2006 family law reforms.

Sweid R, Hand K and Baxter J 6 September 2014
Emerging research about school age care.
Paper presented at the 29th Early Childhood Australia National Conference, Melbourne Vic

Participation in school age care (SAC) has grown considerably since the 1980s, due to the increased availability of out-of-school-hours care places and the growth in maternal employment. Yet, in Australian research, little attention has been given to this form of care, or to other forms of care used by school-aged children. This symposium presents three papers examining different perspectives and issues related to use of SAC, with a common objective of these three papers being to explore factors related to engagement by children and families in SAC.

Edwards B and Warren D 5 September 2014
The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children - insights so far.
Paper presented at the 29th Early Childhood Australia National Conference, Melbourne Vic

In this presentation I showcase some of the important findings generated from using information collected from Australia's national longitudinal study - Growing Up in Australia. First, I describe patterns of child care and preschool utilisation in Australia. A particular focus here will be on how early childcare education decisions are intimately related to parental employment decisions. With respect to preschool, I highlight barriers to attending a preschool program, which has implications for the design of programs for certain groups in society. Second, I examine the implications of preschool use for children's development. Findings from this study suggest that preschool has causal impacts on children's learning. Third, I outline findings from work we have been conducting with the OECD examining the role of soft skills such as children's capacity to persist at tasks - these factors can be influenced by early childhood educators. We show that for outcomes such as depression or conduct problems, these capacities are more important in the psychosocial adjustment of teenagers.

Dowling N and Vasiliadis S 3 September 2014
The impacts of gambling on families and young people.
Paper presented at the Child Family Community Australia (CFCA) seminar series, produced CFCA and the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation

This webinar will discuss the family impacts of problem gambling, and describe recent research that examined young people's gambling behaviour. Associate Professor Nicki Dowling will explore the impact of problem gambling on family relationships, and on the functioning of individual family members such as parents and children. Specific topics will include the relationship between problem gambling and family violence, and the intergenerational transmission of gambling problems. Nicki will also discuss the need to develop assessment and treatment options for the family members of problem gamblers. Sophie Vasiliadis will consider a vulnerable family group - young people - outlining the evidence regarding gambling involvement and gambling problems among adolescents and young adults. Pathways to gambling problems will be discussed, as well as its relationship with alcohol and drug use, depression, anxiety, impulsivity, relationships and school performance. The identification of vulnerable youth for assessment and treatment will also be covered.

Kaspiew R and Tayton S 7 August 2014
Domestic Violence Prevention Review and Evaluation : focusing on at risk groups and communities and children affected by domestic and family violence.
Paper presented to the NSW Domestic Violence Council, Sydney NSW

This presentation will provide on overview of the research findings from the Violence Prevention Review Project.

Lodge J 6 August 2014
Working with families with a child who is bullying.
Paper presented at the National Centre Against Bullying Conference, Melbourne Vic

Jessup K and Baxter J 6 August 2014
Growing up in Australia, the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children.
Paper presented at the Judith Lumley Centre Lunchtime Seminar, La Trobe University, Melbourne Vic

The seminar provides an overview of the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC) and highlights some findings from the research that is relevant to researchers at the Judith Lumley Centre.

Jewell P and Hunter C 6 August 2014
Evaluation of Bringing Up Great Kids : the utility of a reflective parenting program for parents with complex needs.
Paper presented at 'Childhood Trauma: Understanding the Basis for Change and Recovery', the inaugural International Child Trauma Conference, Melbourne Vic

The Australian Childhood Foundation (ACF) has developed 'The Bringing Up Great Kids' (BUGK) Parenting Program for a range of parents including those facing complex issues. The program draws from child-centred and strengths-based perspectives, neurobiological development, attachment theory and narrative approaches. It uses mindful and reflective techniques to support parents to review and enhance patterns of communication with their children and to promote more respectful interactions. It aims to identify and address the sources of unhelpful or hurtful attitudes held by parents and help establish a new relationship context for children and their parents through facilitating opportunities for positive exchanges. The program has been adapted for use with parents from an expanded range of complex and diverse client groups including Aboriginal parents and parents of children with special needs. The program was subsequently rolled out across metropolitan, rural and remote regions of Australia. The Australian Institute of Family Studies has worked with ACF to evaluate the effectiveness of the adapted program in improving parents understanding of the influences on their parenting, their sense of themselves as parents, and their relationships with and management of their children. A mixed methods approach sought pre-, post- and six month follow-up feedback on various elements of the program and program delivery. This paper will discuss key aspects of facilitating the program with vulnerable parents and results of the evaluation.

De Vaus D, Gray M, Qu L and Stanton D 1 August 2014
The economic consequences of relationship breakdown - a comparative cross-national analysis.
Paper address presented at the 13th Australian Institute of Family Studies Conference, Melbourne Vic

One of the most significant family-related changes in recent decades has been the increase in relationship breakdown. This has led to a substantial increase in single-parent families. Research from a number of countries has shown that relationship breakdown is associated with a significant fall in financial living standard, especially for women with children. The issue continues to be a serious concern to policy-makers. Countries have varied policies in place to mitigate the negative economic impacts. This paper examines the economic consequences of relationship breakdown in six OECD countries (Australia, UK, Germany, South Korea, Switzerland, and the United States of America) using longitudinal data. These countries have been chosen partly because of the availability of comparable longitudinal data and partly because they vary in terms of their social security system and family law approaches to dealing with relationship breakdown. The paper seeks to understand how the short-term and longer-term economic impacts of relationship breakdown vary across countries and the extent to which government support alleviates negative impacts.

Weston R, Hayes A and Qu L 1 August 2014
Post-separation journeys of families where parents reported that violence or drug/alcohol addiction issues existed in the relationship pre-separation.
Paper address presented at the 13th Australian Institute of Family Studies Conference, Melbourne Vic

One of the aims of the 2006 reforms to the family law system was to encourage greater involvement of both parents in children's lives following separation, provided that this does not jeopardise their safety. What happens, then, in cases in which parents separate from a relationship entailing violence and/or drug or alcohol misuse? How well do the reforms cater for their needs? Based on the three-wave Longitudinal Study of Separated Families (LSSF), this paper compares the post-separation "journeys" of four groups of families: those where the participating parent reports: (a) alcohol/substance misuse alone; (b) family violence alone; (c) both issues; and (d) neither issue. These journeys are examined in terms of monitoring care-time arrangements, parents' perceptions of their inter-parental relationship and of children's wellbeing, their own wellbeing, and safety concerns held for self and/or their study child regarding any ongoing contact with the other parent. The results suggest that such pre-separation problems continue to play out in negative ways over at least the first five years of separation (the average period of separation monitored in the LSSF). All parents in the LSSF had separated after the 2006 reforms were introduced and well before the Family Law Legislation Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Act 2011 came into operation.

Moloney L and Qu L 1 August 2014
Negotiating parenting arrangements during the first five years of separation.
Paper presented at the 13th Australian Institute of Family Studies Conference, Melbourne Vic

This paper draws on data from the Longitudinal Study of Separated Families (LSSF) gathered at three points in time over a 5-year period. It examines the extent to which parents reported that arrangements regarding their children had been sorted out, were in the process of being sorted out, or had not been sorted out, and the extent to which these reports changed or remained stable. The data also reveal the main pathways used by parents to resolve disputes over their children (discussions, FDR, lawyers and courts), and the extent to which these pathways changed across the survey waves. Many respondents reported changed post-separation parenting arrangements over the three waves of data collection, suggesting that, on average, the most effective decision-making pathways will be those that support and encourage flexible processes. At the same time, a small percentage of families, most with complex or dysfunctional dynamics, remained in conflict over children throughout the 5-year period. Though these families made increasing use of more formal processes (lawyers and courts), they continued to report an inability to resolve their child-related disputes.

Baxter J and Strazdins L 1 August 2014
Which children think their fathers work too much? Cross sectional and longitudinal analysis of employment and family characteristics linked with Australian boys' and girls' reports of their fathers' jobs.
Paper address presented at the 13th Australian Institute of Family Studies Conference, Melbourne Vic

In Australia, as in many countries, a culture of long work hours exists putting pressures on family time among workers with children. Fathers in particular often work long hours, while mothers tend to work part-time hours. Research on fathering emphasises the importance of fathers as attachment figures for children, yet it is not known how children view fathers' jobs and long hours. We seek to redress this lack of focus on fathers' work, and add children's perspectives into the debate on work-family balance. This presentation makes use of new nationally representative data from Australia, in which children's views of their parents' jobs were collected. Here, we focus on children's views of their fathers' work hours. This paper uses Waves 4 and 5 of the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC), which were conducted in 2010 and 2012 when the older cohort in the study were aged 10-11 years and 12-13 years. In LSAC, children are asked if their mothers and fathers work too much, too little or about the right amount. In this presentation, multivariate analyses are used to explore how the perception that fathers work too much varies with fathers' job characteristics, family characteristics and social position. We also test if boys and girls hold different views of fathers' jobs. Two waves of data are used to examine how children's views of father's jobs change as children develop, and with changes in fathers' hours, work conditions or families circumstances.

Baxter J, Sweid R and Hand K 1 August 2014
Balancing work and child care needs in families where parents work non-standard hours or shift work.
Paper address presented at the 13th Australian Institute of Family Studies Conference, Melbourne Vic

For many families, the availability of suitable child care is essential to enable parents to maintain participation in employment. Workers whose hours involve employment outside standard hours, such as weekends, early mornings, evenings or even overnight, are likely to face particular difficulties in being able to find suitable child care, with formal options often only available during more standard hours. First, survey data are used to examine the prevalence of non-standard work hours, to help understand how much this is an issue across Australian families. We also use survey data to then explore how child care patterns vary for those families that have parents working non-standard hours. The complexities of managing child care along with non-standard hours are then highlighted using findings from qualitative research with police and nurses, in which parents were asked about how they manage their care arrangements and their preferences for alternative arrangements. This paper is of particular interest given the Productivity Commission Child care and Early Childhood Early Learning Inquiry.

Meredith V, Rush P and Robinson E 1 August 2014
Fly-in fly-out workforce practices in Australia : the effects on children and family relationships.
Paper address presented at the 13th Australian Institute of Family Studies Conference, Melbourne Vic

The mining boom in Australia has led to the rapid increase in a fly-in fly-out/drive-in drive-out (FIFO/DIDO) workforce in recent years, resulting in corresponding concerns for the impact on workers, their families and children. In 2011, FIFO/DIDO workforce practices in Australia were highlighted in a Commonwealth House of Representatives Standing Committee on Regional Australia. The Inquiry's report noted a lack of depth and breadth in existing research into the impact this lifestyle may have on workers and their families. While noting the gaps in current research, this presentation draws from available evidence related to the impacts of the FIFO lifestyle for children and families. Outcomes for families and children are closely related to a range of contextual factors, such as workplace cultures, rosters and recruitment practices, as well as community and home environments, and individual characteristics. There is a high level of complexity involved in understanding the FIFO lifestyle and how it may impact on child- and family-level outcomes. As well as providing insight into organisational and individual and family factors that interplay with workers', families' and children's experience of the FIFO lifestyle, findings into the impacts FIFO has on family functioning, wellbeing (including mental health of the FIFO worker and at-home partner/parent) and couple relationships is discussed. A list of benefits and challenges that families can consider in relation to FIFO employment and implications for policy-makers, practitioners and future research is provided to participants.

Higgins D 1 August 2014
A public health approach to promoting safe and supportive family environments for Australia's children.
Paper presented at the 13th Australian Institute of Family Studies Conference, Melbourne Vic

Families can play a crucial role in protecting children by providing a safe and supportive environment. There is considerable research in Australia and internationally looking at the most 'at-risk families' (where statutory child protection systems are focused); however, there is relatively little focus on how children's wellbeing is affected by different family environments in the broader Australian population. To illustrate this, I present data from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC) that show three broad family environments can be identified: cohesive, disengaged, and enmeshed (particularly where conflict between parents seeps into relationships between parents and children). Our results suggest that potentially problematic dynamics within families are not just concentrated in particular socio-economic groups. Public health strategies can be enlisted to identify and respond to the needs of children in families characterised by disengagement or enmeshment (e.g., parenting programs, public information campaigns) and using universal services to lower the risk of dysfunctional family environments and target referrals for more intense services. This combination shifts the risk profile of the entire population of families, as well as targeting those who need a more intense service. Data from LSAC showing changes in the family environment and child outcomes over time support the assumption that policy interventions to address family environments have the capacity to produce tangible outcomes for children. Examples of where services could screen for problematic family environments will be briefly addressed, along with other implications for service delivery.

Qu L and Kaspiew R 1 August 2014
Property division after separation : new insights.
Paper presented at the 13th Australian Institute of Family Studies Conference, Melbourne Vic

The division of property and financial resources after separation has not been examined on a systematic quantitative basis for more than a decade. New evidence from Wave 3 of the Longitudinal Study of Separated Families provides the most recent insights currently available on this question. The data were obtained from a near-national representative sample of separated parents who separated in 2008. The Wave 3 survey was conducted in 2012 by which time the majority of the cohort had sorted these issues out and examined what services were used, how property was divided and the factors that influenced the quantum of the division. This paper examines the levels of net assets included in the pool available for division, procedural aspects of property division (time frames and services used), the outcomes of property division and the factors associated with the quantum of the division.

Qu L, Baxter J and Daley C 1 August 2014
Australians' journeys through life - changes in family composition.
Paper presented at the 13th Australian Institute of Family Studies Conference, Melbourne Vic

The Australian Census Longitudinal Dataset (ACLD) presents the opportunity to look at changes in family composition between 2006 and 2011. During this period, Australian families have experienced many social and economic changes and we can explore changes in family relationships and transitions as families increase and decrease from marriages and divorces, re-partnering, the arrival and departure of children and other family members. The ACLD provides a rich dataset to consider changes in family composition in the context of other characteristics including employment status, working hours, housing tenure, income, education and geography. For those families with children, analysis includes consideration of parental characteristics such as their educational experience, employment arrangements and need for assistance. Changes in family composition will also be considered for a selection of key sub-population groups such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, those needing assistance and CALD. Understanding family compositional changes over time through the ACLD can provide greater insights in considering support services to Australian families and children particularly those considered vulnerable or at risk.

Qu L and Weston R 1 August 2014
Leaving and returning to parental home.
Paper presented at the 13th Australian Institute of Family Studies Conference, Melbourne Vic

Whether temporary or permanent, leaving one's parental home is an important marker of achieving adulthood. The timing and circumstances leading to this transition and any return home vary considerably. Using the Australian Census Longitudinal Datasets (ACLD) 2006-2011, this paper focuses on patterns of leaving one's parental home or of returning to it apparent among young men and women between 2006 and 2011 and some of the socio-demographic factors associated with these trends. Particular attention is given to links between leaving home and family type, here defined in terms of whether the young adult was living with both natural parents or with one natural parent and a step-father or step-mother, for prior research has found that young adults tend to be less satisfied with their relationship with step-parents than with biological parents.

Kenny P, Higgins D and Sweid R 1 August 2014
Impacts and needs of those who experienced forced adoption : is it solely trauma?
Paper address presented at the 13th Australian Institute of Family Studies Conference, Melbourne Vic

During the mid- to late-twentieth century (1940s to 1980s), it was common practice for babies of unwed mothers to be adopted by married couples. Many of the infants were taken from their mothers at childbirth as a result of extreme pressure and coercion that they experienced from social workers and hospital staff. It has now been recognised that the separation of a child from its mother in this manner was neither moral nor legal. The adoptions that occurred in this way have been termed "forced adoptions". The past practices of forced adoption have resulted in lifelong consequences for the majority of those directly involved, particularly for mothers and adopted persons, but also for other family members. Many of those affected by forced adoption policies and practices continue to struggle with ongoing mental, physical and social health problems as a result of their adoption experiences - there is now evidence of the wide-ranging psychological impacts including complex and/or pathological grief and loss, self-identity and attachment issues, anxiety and depression disorders, and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This presentation will focus on the results of two national studies undertaken by the Institute pertaining to the role that trauma continues to play in the lives of those affected by forced adoptions, the broader psychological, emotional and social impacts, and the ways in which service providers (particularly mental health professionals) can most appropriately respond to the current needs of those affected.

Quadara A and Wall L 1 August 2014
Acknowledging complexity in the impacts of sexual victimisation trauma.
Paper address presented at the 13th Australian Institute of Family Studies Conference, Melbourne Vic

The adverse impacts of sexual victimisation have been extensively documented and are now recognised as comprising a range of coping strategies to a traumatic event. The dominant framework through which this range of responses is understood and organised has been through the construct of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, PTSD was developed with survivors of single, or one-off, or relatively contained events. Those working in the fields of psychiatry, traumatology and social work do not see PTSD as adequately capturing the often interconnected effects of chronic and/or polyvictimisation. Increasingly, "complex trauma" or "complex post-traumatic stress disorder" is seen as better capturing the impacts of early onset victimisation on mental health, interpersonal relationships, and self-capacity. In this paper we explore how the particular dynamics of sexual victimisation perpetrated in familial contexts such as secrecy, complicity and fragmented attachments underpin the dimensions of complex trauma. We then consider the implications of this for how human service systems can better support survivors of sexual abuse and developments underway to assist this.

Moloney L and Deblaquiere J31 July 2014
AIFS family lawyer surveys and evaluations of the 'Better Partnerships' and 'Coordinated Family Dispute Resolution' initiatives : the spirit is willing but challenges remain.
Paper presented at the 13th Australian Institute of Family Studies Conference, Melbourne Vic

AIFS surveys of family lawyers conducted in 2006 and 2008 found that less than a third of respondents expressed confidence in Family Relationship Centres' (FRCs) capacity to integrate themselves into the family law system. In the 2008 survey, just over half the respondents reported that they never referred clients to community-based mediators. These findings stand in considerable contrast to the largely positive experiences arising out of an initiative begun in late 2009, in which legal services entered into formal partnerships with FRCs. The AIFS' evaluation of this program found that though most partners recognised the need to continue to work through the practice differences associated with different professional training and cultural traditions, high or very high levels of collaboration and considerable enthusiasm for the project were also reported. The Coordinated Family Dispute Resolution (CFDR) pilot program, also evaluated by AIFS, ran from late 2010 until April 2013. This program delivered a carefully managed series of interventions aimed at assisting with post-separation parenting arrangements where family violence had occurred and/or was occurring. It typically involved two case manager/family dispute resolution practitioners, specialist support professionals and legal advisors for each party, a child consultant and the possibility of child-inclusive interventions. In this presentation, we summarise key data from the above surveys and evaluations. We suggest that, taken together, the lawyer surveys and "better partnerships" evaluation signal a positive development in inter-professional attitudes, while the CFDR evaluation articulates important service delivery challenges associated with inter-professional cooperation in complex family law parenting cases.

De Maio J, Kaspiew R, Smart D, Dunstan J and Moore S31 July 2014
Disclosure of family violence and parents' attitudes to the family law system.
Paper presented at the 13th Australian Institute of Family Studies Conference, Melbourne Vic

This paper presents findings from the Australian Institute of Family Studies' "Survey of Recently Separated Parents" - a large-scale, near-national representative study of recently separated parents undertaken in 2012. The study examined parents' experiences of the family law system, with a particular focus on experiences of domestic and family violence. This paper considers parents' experiences of professional behaviour and practice in relation to family violence and safety concerns. The research confirms the experience of family violence is common among separated families and indicates that a sizable minority of parents who experience family violence before or during separation do not disclose these experiences to police or other services. Importantly, there are a number of factors influencing whether a parent will disclose family violence, including the timing of their experiences and whether they have safety concerns for their child. Furthermore, the service "pathway" a parent takes during and after separation impacts on whether they disclose family violence, particularly regarding negotiations for parenting arrangements. The research suggests professional behaviour and practice in relation to eliciting disclosures is uneven. Professionals commonly respond to disclosures by referring the parent to another service. In a substantial minority of cases parents report "nothing happened" in response to their disclosure. The research shows parents have mixed views and considerable uncertainty about the family law system's effectiveness in dealing with family violence issues. This presentation provides important insights about professional practice concerning disclosures of family violence, and parents' perceptions of the family law system's effectiveness in responding to safety concerns.

Baxter J31 July 2014
Australian mothers employment trends and transitions.
Paper presented at the 13th Australian Institute of Family Studies Conference, Melbourne Vic

In Australia, as in many countries around the world, there is ongoing interest in the extent to which mothers participate in paid work, the nature of their paid work and the implication of this work for them and their families. Recent analyses of Australian Census data show that, among families with children aged under 18 years old, the proportion of mothers who were employed increased from 55 per cent in 1991 to 59 per cent in 2001 and then to 65 per cent in 2011. Not surprisingly, employment rates for mothers over this period remain lower when children are younger, reflecting that many mothers withdraw from paid work when they have young children but then return to work as their children grow older. This presentation highlights these trends, along with trends in mothers' working hours, and some more detailed analyses of employment trends and transitions for mothers of children of different ages and different characteristics. Some new analysis of mothers' return to work following childbearing is also presented.

Smart D and Stephens L31 July 2014
Wellbeing of children and young people in the first years of out of home care.
Paper presented at the 13th Australian Institute of Family Studies Conference, Melbourne Vic

Ensuring positive outcomes for children and young people who are unable to be raised by their parents is a fundamental aim of the out-of-home care (OOHC) system. By following the progress of children over time after their entry into care, the Pathways of Care Longitudinal Study (PoCLS) will help us learn more about the factors that promote or impede positive outcomes. An important first step is the measurement of children's development on entry to OOHC so that we have a baseline to test if children's development in OOHC improves, stays the same or declines. This paper reports on the wellbeing of children in the first years of care using direct assessments of cognitive and language capacities, and caregivers' and children's reports of physical health and socio-emotional behaviour. The paper provides an overview of children's general physical health and the presence of health conditions or disabilities. Rates of significant behaviour problems among PoCLS children aged 12 months and older will be reported and compared to the general population. Finally, the extent to which children are meeting developmental milestones is reported, including their language development and non-verbal intelligence. This baseline data gives a good indication of how children are faring in terms of development and wellbeing on entry to care for the first time in their lives. Later waves of the study are needed to determine the factors that facilitate improved outcomes for these children.

Kaspiew R and Carson R30 July 2014
Family violence, child abuse and the practices of Independent Children's Lawyers.
Paper presented at the 13th Australian Institute of Family Studies Conference, Melbourne Vic

Matters involving concerns about family violence and child safety make up most of the case-load of Independent Children's Lawyers (ICL) who are appointed in some family law matters to represent the best interests of children. Recent research examining the role and efficacy of ICLs has highlighted considerable variation in approach among ICLs in relation to having direct contact with children in matters where these concerns are at issue. Some ICLs are reticent to talk to children in such matters for a range of reasons, including a desire to avoid burdening children through over-exposing them to professionals. Other ICLs adopt a contrasting approach, involving a potentially substantial level of contact with children even in these circumstances. This presentation will examine the views and experiences of key stakeholders - including children who were interviewed for the research - in relation to this critically important, yet contested, area of ICL practice. The research is based on data collected from judges, ICLs, non-ICL legal practitioners and non-legal family law practitioners and parents and children who had been in a matter involving an ICL.

Edwards B and Daraganova G30 July 2014
The OECD Education and Social Progress Project (ESP), an international comparative study of the role of non-cognitive skills on social progress into adulthood.
Paper presented at the 13th Australian Institute of Family Studies Conference, Melbourne Vic

The ESP project aims to identify learning contexts associated with the development of cognitive and non-cognitive skills and the role of skills in the development health, income and employment, crime and volunteering. Non-cognitive skills are important for two reasons: (1) they have been found to have as powerful influences on adult incomes as IQ; and (2) are more malleable than cognitive skills in middle childhood and adolescence and therefore there are more amenable to intervention. In this paper we focus on the results for Australia from analyses of data from children in the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC) aged 4-5 to 12-13 years and from the Australian Temperament Project aged 7 to 23 years. There are a number of unique features of the paper. (1) We apply non-parametric dynamic latent variable models specifically developed for this project. (2) Rather than examine non-cognitive skills in aggregate - a limitation of the literature to date - we focus on three measures of temperament that are measured in the same manner in both studies - persistence, reactivity and sociability. (3) We examine depression and obesity in both studies. (4) We use unique features of the studies, for LSAC we use the rich data on family and learning contexts to understand how temperament and cognitive skills are influenced, while for the ATP we can examine university completion. In combination, the paper sheds new light on how families and learning contexts shape skill development and outcomes into emerging adulthood.

Rintoul A and Thomas A30 July 2014
Understanding the impacts of gambling : the need for better surveillance, reporting and responses to improve public health.
Paper presented at the 13th Australian Institute of Family Studies Conference, Melbourne Vic

The promotion and accessibility of gambling products has increased in recent years. A substantial minority of the Australian population experience gambling problems. This can have severe consequences for gamblers, their families and society. Gambling problems cause poor mental and physical health and may co-occur with substance use, depression and anxiety. Problematic gambling may lead to reduced work productivity or job loss, relationship dysfunction, theft, fraud, bankruptcy and loss of housing. Only a minority of people with gambling problems ever seek formal treatment for gambling, and health and other service providers are not always aware of the role that gambling may play in compounding or causing other problems. Gamblers and those affected by gambling - including spouses, children and friends - come into contact with a range of health, social, financial, police and criminal justice services as a result of gambling problems. Yet the role and impacts of gambling are poorly understood and documented in these settings. This may be because the workforce is not trained to identify and respond to the challenges of gambling, or because surveillance and reporting systems are not designed to capture these gambling-related harms. Efforts should be made to systematically identify and report the impacts gambling to improve our understanding of the links between gambling, health and wellbeing. This will assist in designing healthy public policy to better support gamblers and their families as well as develop strategies to prevent gambling-related harm.

Edwards B, Forrest W and Harvey J30 July 2014
The Transition and Wellbeing Family Study : investigating the social, physical, and emotional health of family members of men and women who have recently transitioned out of the Australian Defence Forces (ADF).
Paper presented at the 13th Australian Institute of Family Studies Conference, Melbourne Vic

Although there has been a great deal of research investigating the welfare of veterans in Australia, much less is known about the social, physical, and emotional health of their families. There is growing evidence, however, that military service can have both long-term effects on the partners and children of service personnel after leaving the military. In turn, the social and emotional health of family members can have important implications for the health and welfare of veterans. The Transition and Wellbeing Family Study (TWFS) is a new research project that aims to address this gap by investigating the wellbeing of family members of men and women who have recently transitioned out of the Australian Defence Forces (ADF). Part of the Transition and Wellbeing Research Program (TWFP), the project is being funded by the Department of Veterans' Affairs and is being managed by the Australian Institute of Family Studies . It is based on an online survey of approximately 30,000 family members of ex-ADF personnel who will be surveyed as part of the Transition and Wellbeing Program. In this presentation, we describe the aims and objectives of the TWFP, briefly review the results of Australian and international research on the social, physical, and emotional health of military and veteran families, and discuss key aspects of the survey methodology, including its online administration, key concepts and measures, potential sources of data linkage, and possible ways of limiting the effects of sample selectivity.

Thomas A, Saugeres L and Moore S30 July 2014
The importance of where you come from : exploring the impact of early life experiences on later gambling behaviour.
Paper presented at the 13th Australian Institute of Family Studies Conference, Melbourne Vic

Exposure to gambling is common in early life, through birthday gifts, watching "the race that stops a nation", family card games or inclusion in regular gambling occasions. It has been argued that early life experiences including early exposure to gambling and negative childhood experiences can leave people vulnerable to later gambling harm. However, there is still limited understanding about how and when these early experiences put someone at risk. Qualitative analysis of life history interviews with 48 gamblers in metropolitan and rural Victoria were used to explore the connections between early family experiences and later gambling. Findings showed the vast majority of regular gamblers had been exposed to gambling within their family as children. Results demonstrated the importance of the context of the exposure in influencing later behaviour. Participants assessed as being at low risk of gambling harm discussed family modeling of responsible gambling in early exposure experiences. In contrast, several gamblers classified as being at moderate-high risk reported problematic gambling within their family of origin. Further, most problem and moderate-risk gamblers had experienced negative early family experiences (conflicts, lack of encouragement/support, negativity, emotional distance, lack of communication, abuse). In line with theoretical modeling, early family dysfunction had impacted significantly on the participants' lives as adults and this, together with modeling of excessive gambling had contributed to various maladaptive behaviours including excessive gambling.

Warren D30 July 2014
Retirement decisions of couples : the impact of spousal characteristics and preferences on the timing of retirement.
Paper presented at the 13th Australian Institute of Family Studies Conference, Melbourne Vic

This paper provides new evidence of coordination of retirement by mature age couples in Australia. Two complementary estimation approaches are used to highlight the importance of taking the household decision-making context into account when modeling the retirement behaviour of partnered men and women. First, a single risk hazard model provides insights into the influences of a spouse's characteristics on the retirement decision of the individual. Second, a competing-risks framework is used to examine the retirement behaviour of couples exiting from a situation in which both are in paid employment. There is strong evidence of coordination of retirement by mature age couples in Australia due to complementarities in leisure and, for women, because of caring responsibilities. In particular, the results suggest that women may delay their own retirement if their partner has a financial incentive to continue in the labour force; or retire early to care for a partner who is in poor health.

Lodge J and Baxter J30 July 2014
Under-reporting or unaware? Parent and teacher reports of children's bullying experiences.
Paper presented at the 13th Australian Institute of Family Studies Conference, Melbourne Vic

One feature of bullying is that it often occurs during times when children are not being closely supervised by adults. As such, parents and teachers may not always be aware that a child has been a victim of bullying behaviours. This paper explores to what extent parents and teacher are aware of bullying, using data drawn from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (Wave 4). These four waves of longitudinal data allow us to measure whether, according to parents and teachers, children were persistently bullied or picked on from age 4-5 years through to age 10-11 years. There were discrepancies between both parent and teacher reports of bullying and child reports of unfriendly behaviours (pushing, showing, hitting; name-calling or insulting; social exclusion; and note-writing). The findings suggest that for a significant number of children who reported experiencing unfriendly behaviours, their parents and teachers may either not be aware that they had experienced these behaviours, or if they were aware, may not have considered those actions to be bullying behaviours. There is some variation in findings for children reporting many different kinds of unfriendly behaviours, suggesting that when children are bullied in multiple ways, the outcomes may be more apparent to parents and teachers, perhaps because children are more likely to talk to adults about these experiences. The importance of providing both teacher training and parent information to help children deal with these situations is fundamental to efforts to reduce school bullying.

Smart D, De Maio J, Silbert M and Jenkinson R30 July 2014
Insights from the building a new life in Australia study : cohort overview and preliminary findings.
Paper presented at the 13th Australian Institute of Family Studies Conference, Melbourne Vic

The Building a New Life in Australia study is a 5-year longitudinal research project that aims to provide a broad evidence base to assist policy development and program improvement, and improve understanding of the factors that influence humanitarian migrant settlement outcomes. The first wave of data collection was conducted during October 2013 - March 2014 with the recruitment of approximately 1,500 individuals or families who had been granted permanent visas through Australia's "offshore" (refugee) and "onshore" (asylum seeker) humanitarian programs. A number of migration pathways are being investigated. In the offshore group, migrants with a 200 (Refugee), 202 (Special Humanitarian Program) and 204 (women-at-risk) visa sub-classes were all eligible for the study. Humanitarian migrants holding an 866 visa (onshore group) also participated in the study. Participants were recruited from 11 sites around Australia (including capital cities and regional areas) and came from a diverse range of national and cultural backgrounds. A range of key domains are being investigated, including family composition and characteristics, housing arrangements, English language proficiency and training, educational background and engagement in study, employment and income, pre-migration experiences, physical and mental health, self-sufficiency, community engagement and support, life satisfaction, and perspectives on life in Australia. This paper highlights key findings from Wave 1 from these key domains.

Higgins D, De Maio J and Smart D30 July 2014
Relationships of children in out-of-home care with their caregiving family and peers.
Paper presented at the 13th Australian Institute of Family Studies Conference, Melbourne Vic

Establishing close, supportive relationships with caregiving families and peers is an important contributor to placement stability for children in out-of-home care and a crucial influence on their happiness and wellbeing. This paper describes carers' and children's perceptions of their relationships with each other as well as relationships with peers in the first years of being in out-of-home care. This information is derived from the reports of 1282 carers and 337 children and young people aged seven years and older who provided relevant information during the first wave of Pathways of Care Longitudinal Study (PoCLS). The paper examines carers' perceptions of how well children have settled into the placement; the children's current progress; and the closeness of their relationship with the child. Children's reports of their relationships with carers will also be examined, for example how often caregivers help them when they have problems, if they feel listened to and are praised when they have done something well. Carers' views about children's close friends and their capacity to get on well with other children have also been collected in the PoCLS and will be reported. In summary, the paper focuses on children's social relationships with their caregiving family and peers, as such relationships may play a key factor in influencing children and young people's long-term outcomes.

Kaspiew R and Humphreys C24 July 2014
Family violence, separated parents and fathering : empirical insights and intervention challenges.
Paper presented at the Child Family Community Australia (CFCA) seminar series

This webinar will highlight findings and discuss the implications of recent research projects into family violence and fathering. Dr Rae Kaspiew will discuss the Survey of Recently Separated Parents 2012, which aimed to identify opportunities for improving support for children and their families after separation. In particular, detailed insights into the extent, severity, impact and disclosure of family violence will be explored. Professor Cathy Humphreys will describe a recently funded ARC project into family violence and fathering programs. The state of knowledge around family violence and fathering programs will be discussed, as will the challenges involved when the issue of men's relationships with children are raised in the context of family violence.

Scott D22 July 2014
Child abuse and neglect : the public health perspective.
Invited paper presented at the Master of Public Health course, Child Public Health Elective, Murdoch Children's Research Institute, Melbourne Vic

Baxter J14 July 2014
Mothers' jobs and spillover : which families are struggling more?
Paper presented at the Relationships and Stress Mini-Conference, held at Deakin University, Melbourne Vic

This presentation will present findings from DSS Occasional Paper No. 50, 'Employment characteristics and transitions of mothers in the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC)', which was published in December 2013.

Meredith V25 June 2014
Family factors in early school leaving.
Paper presented at the Barwon South Family Law Pathways Network, Colac Vic

This paper touches on school engagement by parents in the context of separation and divorce, an area of particular interest to practitioners in this sector.

Baxter J and Strazdins L21 June 2014
Which children think their fathers work too much? Cross sectional and longitudinal analysis of employment and family characteristics linked with Australian boys' and girls' reports of their fathers' jobs.
Paper presented at the 2nd Work and Family Researchers Network Conference, New York, USA

Baxter J and Gray M20 June 2014
Employment without childcare : mothers' double burden or father involvement?
Paper presented at the Work and Family Researchers Network Conference, New York, USA

Baxter J11 June 2014
AIFS' experience (to date) in using the ACLD.
Australian Census Longitudinal Dataset (ACLD) Technical Workshop, held at the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Melbourne Vic

In this workshop, Dr Baxter will discuss the AIFS experience in using the Australian Census Longitudinal Dataset.

Gray M, De Vaus D, Qu L and Stanton D 4 June 2014
Single motherhood, paid employment and the social security system.
Paper presented at the Foundation for International Studies on Social Security Conference, Sigtuna, Sweden

Hayes A29 May 2014
"Life Chances - stories of growing up in Australia."
Speech presented at the launch of the book 'Life Chances: Stories of growing up in Australia', by Janet Taylor, at the Brotherhood of St Laurence, Fitzroy Vic

Carson R28 May 2014
Independent Children's Lawyers Study : the research and the report.
Paper presented to the Northern Family Law Pathways Network, Launceston, Tas.

This presentation will present findings from the Independent Children's Lawyer study.

Thomas A, Delfabbro P and Armstrong A27 May 2014
Can we see gambling problems? Visible indicators of gambling problems in EGM venues.
Paper presented as part of Responsible Gambling Awareness Week, Keysborough Vic

This presentation is based on research conducted when Dr Thomas was at Swinburne. The research validates a behavioral checklist, which has been designed to assist gaming venue workers to identify people who may be experiencing gambling problems from visible behaviors (e.g. spending extended periods gambling, becoming visibly distressed, lack of interaction with other people).

Kaspiew R27 May 2014
Independent Children's Lawyers : all things to all people?
Paper presented to the Children and Youth Issues Committee, Law Institute of Victoria

This presentation will present findings from the Independent Children's Lawyer study.

Hayes A26 May 2014
Changing gambling environments : from awareness to collective responsibility and coordinated action.
Speech presented at the launch of Responsible Gambling Awareness Week (RGAW), auspiced by the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation, Melbourne Vic

Alan Hayes is one of the speakers at the launch of Responsible Gambling Week. His presentation will discuss the need for research on the impacts of gambling on families and the wider community, noting that the Australian Gambling Research Centre (AGRC) within the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) places research priority on understanding the pathways to responsible gambling and gambling problems with a particular focus on families. Other speakers at the launch include the Hon Edward O'Donohue, Victorian Minister for Liquor and gaming Regulation, Mr Serge Sardo CEO Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation, Associate Professor Paul Delfabbro, University of Adelaide and Mr Joel Zyngier, Senior Associate, Accredited Specialist Workplace Relations, Holding Redlich.

Hayes A23 May 2014
Beyond single generation solutions : prevention and early intervention in life course perspective.
Paper presented at the Families Australia Policy Forum, Brisbane Qld

The presentation will discuss family transitions and AIFS research in this area.

Hayes A23 May 2014
Beyond individuals to families (and communities) in context.
Paper presented at the Families Australia Board Meeting, Brisbane Qld

The presentation will discuss family transitions and AIFS research in this area.

Scott D 6 May 2014
Meeting children's needs when the family environment isn't always "good enough" - a systems approach.
Paper presented at the Integrated Practice Seminar Series IV, produced by the Greater Shepparton Best Start Project, Berry Street and FamilyCare, Shepparton Vic

This series aims to consolidate the theory and practice of family centred practice and promote strong interagency relationships and networks for workers, to achieve better outcomes for children and their families.

Hayes A 2 May 2014
The Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) : an overview of its origins, organisation, current research and dissemination activities.
Paper presented at the Federal Circuit Court of Australia Annual Conference, Melbourne Vic

Kenny P30 April 2014
Adoption in Australia : past practice, impacts and current issues.
Paper presented at the Australian Psychological Society (ACT Branch) Professional Development Seminar, Canberra ACT

Quadara A and Miller R28 April 2014
Sexual abuse and exploitation prevention : effective responses.
Paper presented at the Child Family Community Australia (CFCA) seminar series

In Australia, approximately 1 in 3 females and 1 in 7 males report having experienced some form of child sexual abuse. Despite these numbers and the well-documented adverse impacts on wellbeing, sexual abuse and exploitation remain hidden, characterised by secrecy, delayed disclosure, and social denial. Often, those caring for children are unaware of the prevalence of child sexual abuse and its dynamics, and do not know how to effectively respond to indications that sexual abuse is occurring. This webinar will present current research evidence on the extent of child sexual abuse in Australia. It will outline the diverse circumstances in which sexual abuse and exploitation occur, and the dynamics that underpin them. The webinar will also describe children's experiences of disclosure, the constraints they can experience in being heard, and what child-focused organisations can do to support them. It will conclude by presenting a multi agency approach to sexual abuse and exploitation prevention.

Higgins D 8 April 2014
Making organisations child safe : messages from research and practical implementation strategies.
Paper presented at the NSW Family and Community Services (FaCS) Workshop on Child Safe Organisations, Sydney NSW

This workshop is aimed at managers and funding providers who understand how to assess how engaged an organisation is in the task of become "child safe", and how to work with agencies to assist them with reflective practice - identifying their particular risks, and looking at opportunities to mitigate risks, or manage them if they can't be reasonably avoided.

Higgins D 1 April 2014
Where's the child? Child-aware lessons from past policy and practice.
Paper presented at the 2nd Child Aware Approaches Conference, Melbourne Vic

Presented as part of the 'Learning from the past' symposium at the conference.

Higgins D31 March 2014
Services to enhance safe and supportive family environments for Australia's children.
Keynote address presented at the 2nd Child Aware Approaches Conference, Melbourne Vic

Dr Higgins will be presenting a Keynote address as part of the Child Aware Approaches Conference in Melbourne. This presentation will discuss data from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC) that show three broad family environments.

Price-Robertson R31 March 2014
Child aware approaches - recognising and implementing child aware principles and practice.
Paper presented at the 2nd Child Aware Approaches Conference, Melbourne Vic

AIFS was commissioned by the Department of Social Services to produce a paper outlining some of the key principles of the Child Aware Approaches National Initiative and to showcase best practice examples. In this Conference presentation, the key components of the AIFS paper will be outlined. This will be followed by an interactive discussion and small group activities, where participants will have the opportunity to reflect on how Child Aware principles and practices may apply to their own settings. It is hoped that the information generated in this session can contribute to future Child Aware initiatives.

Quadara A27 March 2014
A new legal frontier - young people, new technologies and sexual violence.
Paper presented at the Victoria Police Sex Offenders Registry Asia Pacific Conference, Melbourne Vic

In this presentation, Dr Quadara will present findings from the AIFS Research Report No. 23 "The role of emerging communication technologies in experiences of sexual violence: A new legal frontier?"

Higgins D19 March 2014
Making your organisation child safe. (PDF )
Paper presented at the Aboriginal Child, Family and Community Care State Secretariat (AbSec) Bi-Annual Conference, Coffs Harbour NSW [previously presented at the ACWA Best Practice Forum]

Kaspiew R14 March 2014
What do children need from their Independent Children's Lawyer.
Paper presented at the NSW Legal Aid Professional Development Conference

Dr Kaspiew will be presenting findings from the Independent Children's Lawyers Study as part of a panel session.

Carson R13 March 2014
The whys and wherefores of children's matters with special emphasis on the ICL.
Guest lecture presented at the Monash University Law School 'Principles of Family Law' course

This presentation will discuss the role and efficacy of Independent Children's Lawyers in Australian family law proceedings. It will consider the development of the ICL role in case law, legislation and as reflected in the Guidelines for Independent Children's Lawyers (2007), before focusing primarily on the findings emerging from the recently released AIFS study entitled 'Independent Children's Lawyers Study - Final Report'.

Moore S12 March 2014
Research on independent children's lawyers.
Paper presented at the Albury Wodonga Family Law Pathways Network Conference, Albury NSW

Hayes A28 February 2014
Bouncing back : family strengths and community supports when 'stuff happens'!
Paper presented at the Sydney Anglican Diocese Mothers' Union Seminar 'When Stuff Happens - Helping Families through Difficult Times', Sydney NSW

The presentation will discuss dealing with difficulties in family life such as divorce, and the problems parents and families face when things don't turn out as they expected e.g a child with problems, be it a significant disability or behavioural problems and avenues for assistance.

Meredith V, Sibbel A, Washington P and Ashby N26 February 2014
The effects of fly-in fly-out (FIFO) workforce practices on families in Australia.
Paper presented at the Child Family Community Australia (CFCA) seminar series

A limited but growing amount of Australian research into fly-in fly-out (FIFO) work practices tentatively suggests that a FIFO lifestyle can have positive, negative or few effects on children and on family relationships - depending on the circumstances. This webinar will present findings from the CFCA paper Fly-in fly-out workforce practices in Australia: The effects on children and family relationships. Implications for research, policy and practice, FIFO families and mining organisations will be discussed by an expert panel.

Hayes A21 February 2014
Longitudinal insights into the power of parenting : from early childhood to the middle years and beyond. (PDF 5.9MB)
Paper presented at the 16th Annual Helping Families Change Conference, Sydney NSW

This address draws on recent evidence from Australia's suite of longitudinal studies to cast light on the positive pathways most children take on the journey to adulthood. It also uses the longitudinal data to explore the factors that can place young people at risk of a range of problems and vulnerabilities. Most importantly, these longitudinal studies show the power of parenting and positive family functioning in influencing a range of developmental outcomes, across the lifespan. In parallel with the research base, Australia has a wide range of programs to support, strengthen and sustain families, including those that focus on promoting effective parenting practices. The address considers some examples of these initiatives. As such, the presentation squarely demonstrates how research can underpin both policy and practice in powerfully connected ways.

Rintoul A21 February 2014
Reducing harm and improving consumer protection : a review of design features critical to the success of EGM pre-commitment technology.
Paper presented at the 5th International Gambling Conference 'Gambling in a mobile era: Developments, Regulations and Responses', Auckland, New Zealand

This presentation will synthesise key messages stemming from the work AGRC undertook for FaHCSIA/DSS on pre-commitment.

Thomas A20 February 2014
Removal of ATMs from electronic gaming machine venues in Victoria, Australia.
Paper presented at the 5th International Gambling Conference 'Gambling in a mobile era: Developments, Regulations and Responses', Auckland, New Zealand

This presentation reports on an evaluation of the removal of ATMs from Victorian gambling venues in 2012 as a harm minimisation and consumer protection measure. The study was undertaken by Swinburne University and Anna Thomas remains involved through her new role at AGRC. The report findings have already been discussed in the media.

Vasiliadis S20 February 2014
Gen Y : gambling to cheer up and get high.
Paper presented at the 5th International Gambling Conference 'Gambling in a mobile era: Developments, Regulations and Responses', Auckland, New Zealand

This presentation will report findings of a survey of young adults in Melbourne, and discuss specific gambling motivations to be targeted in early and tertiary intervention strategies for this group. The findings are based on the PhD thesis by Sophie Vasiliadis at the University of Melbourne.

Kaspiew R18 February 2014
Independent Children's Lawyers : multiple perspectives on expectations and experience of practice.
Paper presented at the AIFS seminar series, Melbourne Vic

Independent Children's Lawyers (ICLs) are appointed in some family law matters to represent the best interests of children. Recent research by the Australian Institute of Family Studies has examined ICL practice on the basis of multiple perspectives from ICLs, judicial officers, other legal and non-legal professionals in the family law system and parents and children who have been involved in litigated matters with an ICL. The research shows that the ICL role has three important aspects: evidence gathering, litigation management and supporting children's participation. Different stakeholders place different levels of emphasis on the relative importance of each of these functions, with participation being least emphasised by family law system professionals. From the perspective of the children and parents involved in the research, current ICL practice in the area of supporting participation falls short of expectations. In this seminar, the lead researcher on the ICL Study, Dr Rae Kaspiew, will present an overview of the main findings of the project.

Hayes A 7 February 2014
Australia's longitudinal studies as rich resources for studying development, health and wellbeing across the lifespan.
Paper presented at the Institute of Early Childhood 2014 Staff Retreat, Macquarie University, Sydney NSW

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