Find out more

Contact the Centre for more information on how we can help you or your organisation deliver award-winning child and family sensitive practice.


Email: Lisa McDonald, Development Manager 

T: (08) 8302 1385


The Australian Centre for Child Protection offers policy and practice solutions tailored to the specific needs of our clients.


Protecting children is everyone's business.


What Practitioners told us

"Taking the time to remember the children in all the services is really important. This workshop is a great tool to get people to include the point of view of the children in their work."


"This workshop has brought a further/broader awareness of the ways in which I can relate to our clients and how to discuss the needs around parenting and communicate in effective ways to gain information whilst being sensitive. This will enable us to have a more positive outcome/result to achieve client/family goals."


"I found the workshop to be very resourceful and used a helpful variety of cultures in scenarios. Reinforces practice currently used. Great for networking. Useful to have strength-based resources on display and incorporated into the workshop. Thanks!"


"Very interactive workshop connected my knowledge from disparate training and experience and helped me link further with outside organisations. Thank you."


"Before participating I did not know much about how to work with families/children but the training has given me some great tools I can use. It has made me reflect on the work I have done and if there was something I could have done better."


"I found the workshop informative, reminding us of effective ways to work with clients no matter what organisation we are from. Very interesting and educational listening to others share experiences and expertise from across the caring industry. Thank you so much for the opportunity."


"Talking through the scenarios helped me to relate the information to reality and made it easy for someone with no parenting background to understand and adopt the things discussed."


"The staff were fantastic and knowledgeable. Excellent tools provided and explored. Fantastic facilitating - empowering. Good to get up-to-date knowledge and information. Fantastic that I can now be part of a mailing list."



Quick Facts

> 13% of 12-year old Australian children are exposed to an adult who regularly binge drinks.


> 49% of people who experience violence by a current partner have children in their care.


> Families are one-quarter (26%) of the homeless population.


> An estimated one-quarter of Australian children are living with at least one parent who has a mental illness.


> An estimated 1.5% of Australian children under 15 have a parent attending drug treatment.





Practitioner resources:


 > Arney, F. & Scott, D. (2013) Working with Vulnerable Families: A partnership approach, 2nd edition, Cambridge University Press: Port Melbourne.          

 > Literature review on the issues for the safety and wellbeing of children in families in which parents are experiencing domestic violence, substance misuse, and mental illness.

 > Scott, D. (2009), ‘Think child, think family: How adult specialist services can support children at-risk of abuse and neglect’, Family Matters, 81, 37-42.

 > Literature review on improving outcomes for children living in families with parental substance misuse.

 > The Communities and Families Clearinghouse Australia (CAFCA) publishes Practice Sheets, which are brief, evidence-informed resources that provide an overview of the literature on a specific practice and considerations for practice. 


Protecting and Nurturing Children: Building Capacity, Building Bridges (BCBB)

 BCBB: award-winning initiative | Workshop & Workplace Support | Child and family sensitive practice | eLearning courses 

Protecting and Nurturing Children: Building Capacity Building Bridges is an award-winning initiative supporting practitioners to learn and practice new skills in child and family sensitive practice.

Our BCBB team wins the Chancellor Awards, 2013The initiative consisted of two related streams of activity:

  • Building capacity: Enhancing the knowledge and skills of practitioners in child and family and adult-focused services to support parents to meet the immediate needs of children in their care.
  • Building bridges: Strengthening collaboration between adult-focused and child and family-focused services to change the way clients with multiple needs experience the service system.

BCBB - an award-winning initiative

Parents involved with child protection services commonly present with problems of substance misuse, mental illness and experiences of domestic violence. These are key risk factors of child abuse and neglect. Protecting and Nurturing Children: Building Capacity Building Bridges was a large-scale, award-winning initiative that partnered with Communities for Children in twelve locations around Australia.

The 'broad aim' of the initiative is to ensure there is 'no wrong door' when vulnerable families seek assistance. We want parents and their children to receive the support they need regardless of how they become known to formal services and supports.

Throughout this initiative the consistent message from service providers, supervisors and managers from both adult-focused services and child and family-focused services was that translating research and concepts into practical application to support parents to meet the needs of their children is difficult. High quality workforce development is essential to achieve this.

While workforce development is a necessary condition, it is not a sufficient condition for systematic change. In order to embed Child Aware practice, there are three levels to address:

  1. the policy environment and funding conditions;
  2. the organisational context; and
  3. the practitioner values, knowledge and skills.

The National Framework for Protecting Australia's Children provides a blueprint for building the capacity of universal and targeted child and family services and adult specialist sectors, to deliver child and family sensitive services. The Centre's training for practitioners builds the bridges between these services and sectors, reduces risk factors for child abuse and neglect, and enhances protective factors.

Stories of ImpactThe Australian Centre for Child Protection (ACCP) is a national research centre. It’s driven by social justice, sustainability and innovation in pursuit of its mission: ‘Preventing and responding effectively to child abuse and neglect are our highest priority’.

In 2010, with a grant from the then Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, ACCP developed and delivered Protecting and Nurturing Children: Building Capacity Building Bridges (BCBB) over three years as a key initiative supporting the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children 2009-2020: Protecting Children is Everyone’s Business.

View Stories of Impact (PDF, 2.61MB)

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Workshop & Workplace Support

Practitioners who enrolled in our child and family sensitive workshops learned and practiced skills in:

  • introducing parenting issues in a way that is easy and non-threatening
  • identifying services and supports that parents and their children may need
  • providing information and making active referrals to specialist services and programs

Participants were supported to practice their new knowledge and skills with work-based learning activities (e.g. ideas for engaging an adult on a parenting issue and identifying the needs of children). Work-based learning activities also contributed to training accreditation. Training participants have access to BCBB practice coaches who deliver follow-up support after the workshops back in the work-place.

Organisations that enrolled their staff in training were given access to BCBB coaching to help them assess and make any necessary changes to the work environment to support the implementation of practice change.

If you or your organisation is interested in finding out more about our current workshops and workplace support, please contact Christine Gibson, Project Manager: (08) 8302 2981.

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Child and family sensitive practice

Child and family sensitive practice is practice in traditionally adult-focused services (including collaborative practice between adult services and child and family services), which is supportive of parents in their parenting role and attends to the needs of children.

Child and family sensitive practice is provided in the context of service provision where the primary role of the practitioner is to treat or respond to a presenting adult problem. Child and family sensitive practice is different from – and does not replace the need for – children’s, parenting and family support practitioners and services.

Having an understanding of an adult’s parental responsibility and the needs of their children can be enormously valuable for practitioners working in adult-focused services.

Parenting is enormously significant as both a motivator for change and a major stressor. Exploring parenting issues with an adult you are working with can enhance both the service and support you offer them in a number of ways. These may include:

  • an increase in motivation to access help
  • a more open and honest relationship between you and the person you are supporting
  • an increase in their sense of hope that change is possible
  • an increase in focus on the reasons for seeking help

Exploring parenting issues will also benefit children in the care of the adults you are working with. Benefits here include:

  • early identification of problems
  • earlier linking of families into family support services that will build on their strengths and help them to deal with problems they are facing
  • diversion of families from the child protection system via use of early intervention and preventative strategies

eLearning Courses

'Child Aware Supervision' - eLearning course, Support your staff to support kids and families. The Child Aware Supervision elearning course provides training for supervisors in strategies that promote child and family -sensitive practices in their service.  To learn more please follow these links:

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