Reducing child abuse and neglect in NSW
To reduce the incidence of child abuse and neglect in NSW.
Who we’re working with
We have entered a partnership with the NSW Department of Family and Community Services (FACS) to trial SafeCare, an internationally renowned and innovative program which has been shown to reduce rates of child abuse and neglect by 26%. We are working closely with the National SafeCare Training and Research Center, Georgia State University, US and staff in six agencies:
- Wesley Mission (Western Sydney)
- CareSouth (Illawarra)
- Barnados (Orana, Central West and Western NSW)
- CatholicCare (Mid North Coast, Manning)
- Samaritans (Newcastle, Lake Macquarie)
- Mission Australia (Wagga Wagga)
What we’re doing
We have worked with the architects of the program, the National SafeCare Training and Research Centre, to adapt it to the Australian context and developed a rigorous system to support the agencies involved to implement it.
The US, Britain, Canada, Spain and Israel have all adopted SafeCare. Based on strong evidence, it works by teaching vulnerable families new skills to address parenting challenges and giving them support to master those skills. SafeCare trains practitioners to support parents one-on-one. Consequently, they improve their positive interactions with children, keeping their homes safe and improving their children’s health.
The results so far
The Western Sydney, Illawarra, Western NSW, Mid North Coast, Newcastle and Wagga Wagga regions are currently piloting SafeCare. There are now 41 workers delivering SafeCare to families, and 12 SafeCare coaches (including five Parenting Research Centre staff). And nearly 70% of workers in Brighter Futures at the SafeCare trial sites have become certified providers. Since late 2017, 28 families have completed the program with another 115 participating.
In addition, we have begun working with the National SafeCare Training & Research Center to become an accredited SafeCare training and coaching organisation as part of the NSW implementation of SafeCare.
Some Parenting Research Centre staff are now certified SafeCare coaches. The services involved in the pilot program will have access to local, high-quality SafeCare coaching support once more of our staff are certified. A three-year evaluation of the program’s effectiveness and cost benefit began in 2018.