Designing new ways of working to help families
To reform the way two community service agencies deliver services to improve outcomes for families.
Who we’re working with
What we’re doing
We’re working with Wesley to redesign its Brighter Futures program, which focuses on building the resilience of families with younger children at risk of entering the child protection system. At Key Assets, we are helping staff reform the way they deliver foster care, family preservation and restoration services.
At both organisations we’re applying PracticeWorks method to this work. PracticeWorks involves developing new models of working that are based on what we know from evidence but at the same time, are completely aligned with what an agency wants to achieve. We integrate them into an organisation’s existing structure and develop them together with an agency’s staff.
This redesign involves analysing the entire program and addressing several key questions. How does it currently work? What is the agency hoping it will achieve in terms of child and family outcomes? And what does the evidence say works to achieve those outcomes?
We know from our work in this area that designing evidence-informed initiatives is one thing, but implementing them is quite another, and is dependent on context. The most rigorous evidence-informed initiative or approach will not succeed if it can’t be implemented in local agencies.
At both Wesley and Key Assets we have worked with staff to co-design customised frameworks for the way they practice. These frameworks are the ‘scaffolding’ that practitioners need to support their clients in making change.
Importantly, we focus not just on building frameworks like these, but on helping the agencies put them into action, monitor how they work, ensure they support staff needs and ultimately, measure success to make sure they lead to better outcomes for families.
The results so far
The new practice frameworks developed for Key Assets and Wesley will create a real-time feedback system for workers about their practice and give each agency information to see if it is on track. This will result in a cycle of continuous improvement for each organisation.
We are currently implementing the frameworks in both organisations. We’re monitoring the new systems, troubleshooting problems as they arise, learning from challenges and refining our approach. The next step will be to evaluate this work to see if it has made a real difference to those families using the Wesley and Key Assets services.