Newsletter August 2022

We are delighted this month to extend invitations to a number of events, including learning opportunities, webinars, conferences, and new, free online courses. Please read on to learn more about what our team has been up to – and what’s in store. 

Save the date for the Evidence and Implementation Summit 2023!  

The next Evidence and Implementation Summit, hosted by CEI and our partners, will take place October 9-11, 2023. The EIS is one of the leading evidence and implementation sector events on the global calendar and the only event of its kind in the southern hemisphere. The event focuses on the intersection of research, policy and practice, with a focus on the synthesis, generation, translation, and implementation of evidence to improve lives. In 2023, we are planning an event that will bring together a wide network of global participants. 


Join next EIS Virtual Series webinar

You are warmly invited to join the second webinar in the EIS Virtual Series:  

“Improving social care systems at scale for children and families” 
14 September 2022 
9:30am-10:30am BST / 4:30-5.30pm SGT / 6:30-7:30pm AEST

Services for social care for children and families are among the most complex delivery models within public services. We need approaches can help move beyond the development of islands of excellence and instead improve outcomes at scale for children and their families – in line with the “dramatic, whole system reset” for social care highlighted in the recent independent review of children’s social care in the UK.

This webinar will tap into the expertise and insights of global experts on innovative approaches to moving evidence to practice for systems-level transformation that can improve lives. We will be joined by Isabelle Trowler, Chief Social Worker for Children and Families in England, and Argiri Alisandratos, Deputy Secretary for Children, Families, Communities, and Disability with the Department of Families, Fairness, and Housing in Victoria, Australia, alongside CEI’s Executive Director Dr Robyn Mildon.  


Launching new report with Victorian government on seven measures to strengthen early intervention

CEI is delighted to share a new report we have published with the Victorian Department of Treasury and Finance. Service systems are weighted heavily toward ‘treatment’ and acute services, leaving them hamstrung when it comes to effectively intervening early – ideally at a person’s first presentation to a service. The opportunity costs are significant, especially when we know evidence-informed early intervention services exist and have been successfully trialled in Australia.

The Victorian Government’s Early Intervention Investment Framework (EIIF) is a mechanism to encourage continuous growth in early intervention by linking investment to measurable impacts on outcomes of people using the services and the service system. In the first of three papers commissioned by the Victorian Department of Treasury and Finance, CEI identified seven features of successful early intervention systems and ways in which the EIIF could be leveraged or strengthened to foster these features in the Victorian service system. 


Join webinar on “Pathways to Research Impact”  

Please join a panel discussion webinar hosted by CEI's partners at the Sexual Violence Research Initiative (SVRI): 

“Pathways to Research Impact” 
7 September 2022 
10am-11am BST / 11am-12pm SAST / 5pm-6pm SGT / 7pm-8pm AEST 

Violence against women (VAW) and violence against children (VAC) are two of the most pressing public health and human rights challenges of our time. To strengthen our understanding of VAW and VAC, and to prevent it, we need research that can make a real impact by providing an evidence base for programs, policies, and advocacy in this space. Given the depth and breadth of the problem, there is an urgent need to maximise research uptake, research use and research impact.

This webinar will explore how researcher leaders need to think and work differently to ensure the uptake use and impact of their research work. Pathways to Research Impact (PTRI) is an initiative of the Sexual Violence Research Initiative in partnership CEI and the African Centre for Evidence. The webinar will launch the PTRI initiative – a free online course and guide for researchers seeking to ensure their work has impact. Learn more about this initiative and join the webinar launch.


Register for the inaugural CHILD Conference  

On 26-28 October 2022, the Centre for Holistic Initiatives for Learning and Development (CHILD) will be holding its inaugural, biennial conference in Singapore to promote science, innovation, collaboration, and partnership, providing a forum for multiple perspectives to improve the early years for young children. CEI is proud to be a partner of CHILD. The three-day hybrid event will bring together researchers, practitioners, policymakers, educators and organisational leaders in the field of early child development. The focus of the conference will be global, with a special emphasis on Singapore and Southeast Asia. Learn more, and register, below. 


Understanding COVID's impact on early childhood education and care in England 

CEI has completed a major study funded by Nuffield Foundation on the impact of the COVID pandemic on early childhood development and care (ECEC) services in England, in partnership with researchers from the University of East London, Institute for Fiscal Studies, Frontier Economics, and Coram Family and Childcare. The study highlighted the pandemic's impact on children's take-up of early education and care and the learning loss that arose particularly for minority ethnic and more disadvantaged children. It also showed the impacts on an already-vulnerable ECEC sector, with worrying implications for the future as the sector faces financial vulnerability, uncertainty over levels of take-up as demand for flexible provision increases, and an unprecedented staff crisis. The report calls for more central government funding and an expanded role for local authorities to support the sector – and children's development opportunities – for the future. 


Evaluating programs to support special needs caregivers in Singapore 

Project 3i is a new, caregiver-led initiative helmed by CaringSG for special needs caregivers and the community, with aims to connect, enable, and empower caregivers as well as to build an inclusive community for families in Singapore. This important work is timely as caregiving stress is of rising concern in Singapore. Through their CAREconnect, CAREbuddy, and CAREwell programs, CaringSG is helping to shape the local caregivers’ support landscape. CEI has been commissioned to conduct a formative evaluation of these programs, which will enable CaringSG to clearly articulate how change may be achieved through Project 3i and to obtain data-driven insights to measure and improve the programs and their delivery. CaringSG is supported by the National Council of Social Service, Tote Board, and Temasek Foundation.


Building evidence about the attitudes of parents and young people towards mental health support in Singapore

Mental health conditions have been called the ‘second pandemic’ with global rates of depression and anxiety having grown 28% and 26% respectively. Youth mental health is a particular concern in Singapore, with challenges emerging even before the pandemic.  To contribute to a better understanding of the ways communities, policymakers, and institutions can better support young people, CEI worked alongside our partners at Research for Impact and Blackbox on a project commissioned by Majurity Trust to learn more about the attitudes of youths and parents towards mental health support. This study is the first to compare perspectives of these groups toward mental health support and services in Singapore. The study found that young people would most frequently choose to turn to their friends and family for support when they experience stress.  


Implementing an evidence-informed innovation strategy with Bethany Community Services

Bethany Community Services has a long history of delivering much needed community support and educational services to children, families, and individuals in the western regional area of Victoria, Australia. The organisation has developed an ambitious plan to embed evidence in practice across all areas of service delivery by using innovative methods, aiming to lead the way in building capacity and competency in the delivery of excellence in community services. To support this strategy, CEI has partnered with Bethany to design and develop an evidence-informed practice framework and will support staff to lead a staged roll-out using implementation science principles and techniques. By supporting Bethany’s development of a learning culture and climate that supports ongoing learning and continuous quality improvement, CEI will assist Bethany to remain an innovative and evidence-informed organisation well into the future, and a leader in the sector. 


Events, News, and Publications

  • CEI is hiring across a range of roles.
  • In June, CEI Managing Director Mary Abdo moderated a panel at the Asia Venture Philanthropy Network Conference in Indonesia on ‘Sustainability & Livelihoods: Scalable Climate Smart Solutions’. The panel touched on themes related to implementation, the importance of centring communities, data and evidence as core tools, and the importance of working with the grain of incentives for change. 
  • In July, CEI Managing Director Jane Lewis was a panellist at the Online Summit: What future for the early years?, part of a two-day Ideas in Practice event hosted by Leeds University Business School. Her session showcased and elaborated the evidence base which can inform a sustainable way forward for the early years.
  • In July, CEI Director Dr Melinda Polimeni presented 'Beyond 'What Works': Mobilising Evidence Across Social Service Systems' at the Future/Inclusive Festival, a festival of ideas, participation and collaborative action convened by RMIT’s Social Innovation Hub, supported by City of Melbourne and Victorian Government. Dr Polimeni's session focused on contemporary challenges facing the social service sector 
  • In August, CEI’s Executive Director Dr Robyn Mildon moderated a panel for CHILD, the Centre for Holistic Initiatives for Learning and Development: “No time to waste: Testing, trailing and evaluating in Early Childhood Settings” in their Evidence to Practice and Policy Webinar Series.