The Family Preservation and Reunification Response ('the Response') is a new Victorian government initiative intended to deliver intensive, evidence-based, and coordinated support to children and families.
CEI has designed a suite of evidence-informed modules based on common elements to support the Response and was involved in supporting implementation of the modules across nine community service organisations (CSO).
CEI Director Dr Melinda Polimeni said the approach was important for implementing the Response during the COVID-19 pandemic, as family services needed to be flexible and able to adapt to new ways of working with children and families. Since 2020, CEI has partnered with the Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency, who work with Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations across Victoria, to identify culturally specific common elements for working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families. Dr Polimeni said:
This ground-breaking work will aim to support mainstream agencies and practitioners to adopt specific cultural practice techniques that are essential for effective engagement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families in the Response"
More recently, CEI has been working to support a statewide scale up, developing an implementation framework to support 36 community service agencies across the state to adopt and implement the Response. Dr Karla Lopez, CEI Senior Advisor and Project Manager for the Response says:
we know that high quality implementation is really important for good outcomes. CEI has been involved in supporting the Response implementation at a systems level, an agency level, and at the front line. Over the next 6 months we will provide training to over 400 practitioners and help each agency establish a local implementation team to drive implementation at their site. We understand that implementation of evidence-informed practices within a complex service system is an ongoing process of agile adaptation and adjustment, especially during a global pandemic, and we are really excited by the opportunity to support this major reform."
Common elements are discrete techniques that are commonly found in programs that are supported by evidence. They can be used flexibly by practitioners to account for the context they are working in, and the specific needs of the families they are servicing. They can also be used alongside other evidence-informed interventions to compliment - rather than replace - existing approaches or programs.
You can find out more about our common elements approach and implementation work here.