Child protection: engaging with parents
Title: Engagement of birth parents involved in the child protection system: A scoping review of frameworks, policies, and practice guides
Author: Parenting Research Centre
Commissioned by: NSW Department of Family and Community Services
Published: August 2017
Child protection services ideally aim to both protect children and strengthen families so that they are able to care for their children. To achieve this, it is essential to work effectively with birth parents, and engage with them so they take up, remain in, and complete programs to ensure children are safe and families remain intact or are restored.
This review aimed to identify and synthesise strategies for engaging parents with workers in statutory child protection services and other agencies that work with families involved in the child protection system.
- The review identified fourteen strategies for engaging parents.
- Strategies for engaging birth parents include having a service culture that supports engagement; being supportive and focusing on parents’ strengths; being flexible; resourcing agencies appropriately; creating a good first impression; and demonstrating respect.
- A combination of several engagement strategies may be needed for effective engagement of birth parents.
- Services need to acknowledge the history of trauma Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families have experienced with child protection and work with communities toward culturally appropriate engagement.
- The effectiveness of engagement strategies has not yet been established.