Co-design to develop an evidence-informed permanency practice framework

Stream: Permanency practice in out-of-home care
Date: Wednesday, 11 September 2019
Time: 1.25 pm – 2.25 pm


Out-of-home care reforms in NSW emphasise permanent homes for children in care, through family preservation or restoration wherever possible, or guardianship and open adoption if children cannot safely return home. To support these reforms, NSW Family and Community Services have commissioned an evidence-based, well-designed and well-documented service model, integrating delivery of family restoration with other permanency planning options, with processes and tools to guide implementation. Co-led by the Parenting Research Centre and the Institute of Open Adoption Studies, this project aims to develop an evidence-based practice framework for supporting parents and carers to have the skills and confidence to offer and sustain a permanent home for children through restoration, guardianship or open adoption. The early phases of this project involved an evidence review to identify, synthesise, and assess the current research base on permanency planning practices. This involved a systematic scan of the published and grey literature since 2000 to identify key references on practices, outcomes, measures and methodologies. Four review authors independently read the titles and abstracts of studies identified in the search (n=365), identified appropriate papers, and extracted information about the practices (e.g., intended purposes, strengths, limitations) onto a standardised table. This evidence review will contribute to developing a framework, through a co-design process with out-of-home care agencies that self-nominate in an expression of interest process. The presentation will summarise the findings from the evidence review on practices that support permanency and discuss how these are being applied in the co-design phase of the project.


Annette Michaux (Presenter), Parenting Research Centre
Annette Michaux is a Director at the Parenting Research Centre, providing leadership and direction in social policy and reform cross-sectorally in relation to parenting and family support. Annette has three decades of experience in child and family practice, policy and research management, including as General Manager of Social Policy and Research at The Benevolent Society, CEO of the NSW Child Protection Council, and a senior policy staffer at the NSW Commission for Children and Young People.

Amy Conley Wright (Presenter), University of Sydney
Amy Conley Wright is Associate Professor of Social Work and Director of the Institute of Open Adoption Studies, University of Sydney. She is also Honorary Senior Fellow at Early Start Research Institute, University of Wollongong. Her research focuses on permanency for children in out-of-home care, with current projects on Family Group Conferencing, family contact for children in permanent care and foster carer recruitment and training. Amy previously held academic positions in social work and child development in Australia and the USA. She has served as a board member and consultant on child and family services for government and non-government organisations.

Betty Luu (Presenter), University of Sydney
Betty Luu is a Research Associate at the Institute of Open Adoption Studies and has a firm research interest in understanding how the early environment can best support children’s development. With a background in developmental psychology, she has experience in implementing, managing and contributing to child-centred research within a broad range of topics, including: children’s psychosocial and cognitive development, early childhood education, and children and young people’s identity formation. In her current role, Betty is conducting applied research and practice development in the area of permanency and out-of-home care in NSW.