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Thursday, September 20 • 2:00pm - 2:30pm
Principles before rules: Child-centred, family-focused and practitioner-led evaluation in child protection

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Stefan Kmit (Department for Child Protection)

Supporting a learning environment through evaluation requires more than just the monitoring of service indicators. The South Australian Department for Child Protection (DCP) is committed to principles-based evaluation processes with children, families and practitioners that acknowledge the improvement journey is just as significant as the final outcome. Known as 'the rudder for navigating complex dynamic systems ' (Patton, 2018), principles-focused evaluations enable us to think beyond structures and processes to re-direct focus on service user experience and outcomes. Our ability to form and reform service approaches based on what key stakeholders tell us underpins a continuous improvement and questioning culture.

This is all driven by a passion to best identify how we can (a) better use the voice of the child; (b) shift our view of children and families from service users to service shapers; (c) orient findings towards practitioner learning; and, (d) create more opportunities for closer collaboration across the board.

Recent 'evidence-informed practice ' (Moore, 2016) evaluations of the DCP Young People's Council and the DCP Volunteer program have featured the voice of children and their families and carers within the system. Using these as case studies, we will examine the evaluation design and engagement strategies incorporated with children and families and share critical learnings about applying a principles-focused approach.

avatar for Rhianon Vichta

Rhianon Vichta

Research and Evaluation Coordinator, Brisbane Youth Service
Rhianon Vichta became an evaluator after spending more than 20 years delivering, designing, managing and working to improve social programs both in Australia and overseas. Throughout her career journey from crisis counsellor to CEO, she continued to seek answers to the fundamental... Read More →

avatar for Stefan Kmit

Stefan Kmit

A/Manager, Research and Evaluation, Department for Child Protection

Thursday September 20, 2018 2:00pm - 2:30pm AEST
Chancellor 5