Research

QFCC research activities are designed to contribute to better services and outcomes for vulnerable families and children.

We’ve worked with key stakeholders and agencies to develop a Research Agenda 2016-19 (PDF, 164KB) to inform child protection policy and practice. The QFCC is working in some of these areas but also encourages others to consider these important areas for research. 

We have also developed a Knowledge and Resource Hub, which includes links to research, and research summaries. To have your research included, please email our research team on research@qfcc.qld.gov.au.

The Research Agenda is divided into 7 key areas:

  1. Building safe, supportive communities for children and/or families
  2. Reducing the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in the child protection system
  3. Improving out-of-home care
  4. Reducing young people's involvement with the youth justice system
  5. The workforce is developed and supported to meet the needs of children and families into the future
  6. Reducing the likelihood of child deaths
  7. Improved outcome measures

Find out more by clicking on each of the above areas.

Research scans

Our monthly Family and Child Research Scans provide a selection of research papers, designed to inform child protection policy and practice. This helps contribute to better services and systems for vulnerable children and families.

The research scans can be found in the Knowledge and Resource Hub and reflect key areas prioritised in our Research Agenda.

Research summaries

We aim to make research more accessible to policy makers, practitioners and other interested stakeholders.

Our research summaries provide a short, concise summary of relevant research and explore the implications of the research findings for policy and practice.

Research summaries can be found in the Knowledge and Resource Hub.

If you’d like to contribute to our growing list of research summaries, please email our research team.

Research in the Round

Our Research in the Round forums showcase the work of key Australian researchers, who focus on vulnerable children and families.

Find out more about Research in the Round.

The 7 key areas of our Research Agenda

Strategic area 1: Building safe, supportive communities for children and/or families

Outcome - Community members more likely to offer and ask for help when they need it

Areas of inquiry
  • What are the risk and protective factors that may make parents seek help and be confident in their parenting? 
  • How does the presence of DFV influence help seeking behaviour for Queensland parents? 
  • To what extent have the child protection reforms contributed to: children and families having timely access to high quality services; a child and family support system that is efficient, effective, client-centred and focussed on prevention; communities having confidence in the Queensland child protection system? 
  • How does cultural connection influence help seeking behaviour for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Parents? 

Outcome - Effective support services

Areas of inquiry
  • What are the characteristics of effective family support services and early interventions? What feature of successful initiatives is crucial for success? Which interventions work for different people, with different needs, and in different circumstances? 
  • What does organisational performance and capacity look like in the non-government child and family support sector? What are the strategic challenges and priorities for industry development? 
  • What would an industry-led excellence framework for child-safe child-friendly organisational culture look like? How could this be developed? 
  • What constitutes a successful Community Controlled Organisation in the eyes of funders and regulators? What support exists for ‘resetting’ the approach to capacity building and designing new approaches? 
  • What are the unique contexts in which CCOs work, what strengths do they possess, and what constitutes success for them and for the client/consumer

Outcome - Children and young people are safe online

  • What are the risk factors for online child sexual exploitation? How can children and families be assisted to reduce children’s risk of online abuse and seek support regarding online abuse? 
Completed:
  • Talking Families Baseline Research of Parents and Non-Parents (by QFCC)
  • Laying Foundations for Industry Excellence (QFCC and CSIA)
  • Reimagining Success for Community Controlled Organisations - Phase One (QFCC and PSC)
  • Help Seeking, DV and Indigenous Families (by QFCC)
In progress:
  • CSO Excellence Framework (QFCC and CSIA)
  • Out of the Dark - Phase 2 (QFCC)
  • Child Protection Reform Program Evaluation - Year 3 (by QFCC)

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Strategic area 2: Reducing the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in the child protection system

Outcome - More Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children cared for safely at home or with kin

Areas of inquiry
  • What are the views and experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children within the Child Protection System? 
  • How do the trajectories of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in care compare to those of non-Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander children in care? Which interventions have positive outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, and what works to assist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and families across the system? 
  • How can Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander kinship carers be better supported? 
  • What is the level of over representation in the Child Protection System within Queensland, as compared to other jurisdictions across Australia? 
  • To what extent have the child protection reforms significantly reduced the level of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander over-representation in the child protection system? 
  • What are the views and experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families across all aspects of the child protection system? 
Completed:
  • Talking Families Baseline Research of Parents and Non-Parents (by QFCC)
  • Help Seeking, DV and Indigenous Families (by QFCC)
In progress:
  • Child Protection Reform Program Evaluation - Year 3 (by QFCC)

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Strategic area 3: Improving out-of-home care

Outcome - Reduce numbers of children missing from care

Areas of inquiry
  • What are the views of children and young people with an experience of running away/being absent without notice from their placement? 
  • What are the experiences of foster carers in supporting children and young people who run away? 
  • What are the predictors of a young person self-placing? What are the outcomes of young people who self-place? What are their needs, and how can they be better supported, particularly where there have been multiple placement breakdowns, or they are unable to return safely to home and are unable to live independently? 

Outcome - Greater stability for children in contact with the child protection system

Areas of inquiry
  • What are the long term outcomes for children and young people following reunification? What factors predict successful outcomes and what are the most effective supports to assist reunification? What are the risk factors for failed reunification? 
  • What are the long term outcomes for children and young people based on the stability of their care? What are the predictors of placement stability? What is the likelihood of placement breakdown based on the number of prior placements? In what circumstances does contact undermine, disrupt or support placement stability? 
  • What are the systems and processes that impact on placement stability? 

Outcome - Greater understanding of the wellbeing of children in care

Areas of inquiry
  • What are the views and experiences of children with mental health issues across all aspects of the child protection system? 
  • What is the impact of departmental interventions on a broad range of children’s outcomes (including safety, health, wellbeing and life outcomes)? What are the effective processes, and what mechanisms promote success? 
  • How do we improve the educational outcomes for young people in care? How can we keep young people engaged in education? 
  • What is the research that underlies the specific policies in place in Queensland? 

Outcome - Understanding trajectories

Areas of inquiry
  • What is the extent of overlap of the involvement of families and young people, across multiple (legal/administrative) systems, including child protection, family law, criminal justice (including domestic violence)? How can we use this to better support families and young people early on? 
  • How do the trajectories of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in care compare to those of non-Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander children in care? Which interventions have positive outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, and what works to assist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and families across the system? 

Outcome - Improved outcomes for young people who have transitioned from care

Areas of inquiry
  • How can we strengthen the residential care system, culture, practice and workforce to improve outcomes for children and young people in residential care? What are the views and experiences of children and young people with lived experience of residential care? Are the existing oversight mechanisms for residential care sufficient? 
  • What are the views and experiences of children transitioning from out-of-home care? 
  • What is the impact of departmental interventions on a broad range of children’s outcomes (including safety, health, wellbeing and life outcomes)? What are the effective processes, and what mechanisms promote success? 
  • How do we improve the educational outcomes for young people in care? How can we keep young people engaged in education? 
  • What are the long term outcomes for children and young people in the child protection system compared to those not in the system? How do they fare once they leave care, and what contributes to positive outcomes? What is the general picture of the differing experiences of young people in the system across time, and how does this relate to their life experiences? 
  • What are the long term outcomes of children who disengage from the education system, and what are the best ways to identify children early on? What is the relationship between disengagement and involvement in the child protection system? 
  • What are the post care outcomes of young people leaving care? What factors promote successful transitions to independence? How can we support the transition to independence better, and what are the views of young people as to how they could be better supported? Is the current duration of case management sufficient? Are there alternative transition models that could be explored? 
Completed:
  • Transition to Independence (T2i) Story and Video Project (by QFCC)
  • Departmental Systems that Contribute to Placement Instability (by QFCC)
In progress:
  • Hearing Our Voices Project – (collaboration between QFCC, CREATE and Foster Care Queensland)
  • Residential Care Review (QFCC)
  • Mental Health Project “Feeling Better” (collaboration between QFCC, G-Force, and Evolve Interagency Services)

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Strategic area 4: Reducing young people's involvement with the youth justice system

Outcome - Young people have improved support to reduce the likelihood that they will enter, or re-enter the youth justice system

Areas of inquiry
  • What are the views and experiences of children within the youth justice system? 
  • What is the extent of overlap of the involvement of families and young people, across multiple (legal/administrative) systems, including child protection, family law, criminal justice (including domestic violence)? How can we use this to better support families and young people early on? 
  • What is the prevalence of young people in residential care that enter into the youth justice system? 
  • How can they be better supported to stay out of the youth justice system? What regulatory or behaviour management systems could improve outcomes for young people and prevent the criminalisation of behaviour? What are young people’s views as to the best ways to respond to behavioural issues in residential care facilities? 
  • What is the research that underlies the specific youth justice policies in Queensland? 
In progress:
  • Youth Justice (by QFCC)
  • Residential care - Police call-outs (by QFCC)

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Strategic area 5: The workforce is developed and supported to meet the needs of children and families into the future

Outcome - Improved workforce planning and support

Areas of inquiry
  • What is the profile of the current workforce across the child and family services sector? 
  • What are the cultural conditions within the working environments for stakeholders across the sector? 
  • What are the necessary skills (generic or specialist), qualifications and personal attributes of all those involved in either a direct care role, or are frontline case workers?  What skills of practitioners are associated with better outcomes for children? Which factors predict staff resilience? 
  • What models are used in other jurisdictions which facilitates smaller agencies having access to Senior Practitioners? 
  • How can agencies get more of their cohort group (carers or those with long term involvement in the child protection system) into the formal workforce? 
  • What models are used in other jurisdictions which facilitates smaller agencies having access to Senior Practitioners? 
  • How can agencies get more of their cohort group (carers or those with long term involvement in the child protection system) into the formal workforce? 
Completed:
  • Workforce Profile Survey (by QFCC)
  • Talking Families Baseline Research of Stakeholders (by QFCC)
  • Models of Access to Senior Practitioners (by QFCC)
In progress:
  • Career and Capability Framework (by QFCC)

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Strategic area 6: Reducing the likelihood of child deaths

Outcome - Reduced likelihood of preventable child deaths

Areas of inquiry
  • What are the leading causes of child deaths in Queensland? 
  • What are the demographic and other characteristics in relation to leading causes of child deaths in Queensland? 
  • What are the child death prevention messages for families, children and the community? 
Outcome - Closing the gap in child mortality
  • Comparing Indigenous and non-Indigenous rates, and causes, of child death in Queensland. 
Completed:
  • Child Death Annual Report 2016-17 (by QFCC)
  • Child Death Annual Report 2015-16 (by QFCC)
  • Key findings: Child deaths in Queensland 2016-17 (by QFCC)
  • Key causes of external and preventable child deaths 2016-17 (by QFCC)
  • Key Findings: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child mortality 2016-17 (by QFCC)

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Strategic area 7: Improved outcome measures

Outcome - Improved ways of measuring outcomes

Areas of inquiry
  • What are the benefits and challenges in implementing a computer game measuring child social and emotional wellbeing in secondary support services? 
  • How can a continuous culture of feedback and evaluation be encouraged and supported across the sector? What are the barriers to the use of research findings to support practice? How do we encourage cultural change in relation to the use of evidence? 
  • What are the appropriate measures of the outcomes of primary, secondary and tertiary interventions? What are the appropriate tools to measure those outcomes? 
  • How can individual agencies, particularly NGOs, access de-identified sector wide data (e.g. as available in aged care) for research or benchmarking, to assist in informing their practices and to understand the changing needs of the system sector wide? 
Completed:
  • Rumbles Quest Trials (by QFCC)
In progress:
  • Oversight Monitoring Framework (by QFCC)

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29 June 2018