Study As
Full Time

Principal Supervisor
Dr Olivia Octoman

Main Campus
City East

Applications Close
30 Apr 2023

Study Level

Applications Open To
Domestic Candidate

Tuition Fees:
All domestic students are eligible for a fee waiver. International students who receive a stipend are eligible for a fee waiver. Find out more about fees and conditions.

Project Stipend:

About this project

In South Australia, the aim is for every child to be safe from harm, do well at all levels of learning, develop skills for life, enjoy a healthy lifestyle, and be active citizens who have a voice and influence. Children and young people in out of home care regularly report poorer outcomes than children and young people who have not spent time in out of home care. Despite this, many jurisdictions do not routinely and regularly utilise standard tools to measure child wellbeing. Regular information about child wellbeing is important to assess current needs of children, identify emerging issues, monitor children’s wellbeing over time, and inform intervention. While there are many tools that capture the wellbeing of children and young people, many of these tools are not sensitive enough to identify changes in the population of children in out of home care. A measure of wellbeing that can be utilised across multiple levels including individual caseworkers, team leaders, area managers, and to track children’s wellbeing in out of home care at the state level will allow monitoring and routine assessment of how children and young people are doing in out of home care, and inform interventions to ensure positive outcomes for children and young people. 

The project is supervised by researchers from the Australian Centre for Child Protection, one of the University of South Australia's leading research centres acclaimed for driving innovation in child protection research and its ability to drive policy into practice. The Australian Centre for Child Protection is dedicated to supporting vulnerable children and families. The Centre provides a supportive and experienced research environment that helps PhD candidates to thrive.

What you’ll do 

The candidate will have the opportunity to conduct real world relevant research working collaboratively with end users. The candidate will be expected to engage with the academic and practice communities including presenting and publishing work where appropriate. It is expected that the student will gain extensive skills in collaborating and working with industry partners, problem solving and negotiating creative solutions. The applicant will gain experience in understanding and explaining the complexity of the child protection system. They will also gain research skills including undertaking systematic reviews, collection of data, and analysis of data. It is also anticipated that the applicant will gain valuable communication skills both communicating research with practice, policy and research audiences and in negotiating project priorities and approach with end user stakeholders. 

Where you’ll be based

You’ll be based within the Australian Centre for Child Protection, in a supportive research environment. This project will allow the candidate to develop national and international academic connections through supervisors, and engage meaningfully with staff from child protection departments and non-Government agencies responsible for children in out of home care.

Supervisory Team

Dr Olivia Octoman (Principal Supervisor)

Professor Leah Bromfield (Co Supervisor) 

Dr Sarah Cox (Co Supervisor)

Financial Support

There are two types of scholarship offerings for our domestic applicants, available to fund a stipend for this project, including the Enhancing Practice, SA Department for Child Protection Professional PhD Scholarship, and the Enhancing Practice, SA Department for Child Protection PhD Scholarship Standard Scholarship. The Professional Scholarship will be considered for outstanding PhD candidates who also have practice experience, including professionals such as child protection practitioners, who have worked or are working in the field of child protection. This 3-year PhD scholarship is valued at $45,000 per annum, with an additional $5000 to support research activities throughout the program. The Standard Scholarship is available to emerging and leading scholars in child protection and related areas. This 3-year scholarship is at the fulltime base Research Training Program rate at approx. $28,500 per annum, with an additional $5,000 top up for research support activities throughout the program.

Eligibility and Selection

This project is open to application from domestic applicants only. Full time students not located in Adelaide will be considered providing the candidate is able and willing to travel to the SA where needed/appropriate. International applicants are not invited to apply at this time.

Applicants must meet the eligibility criteria for entrance into a PhD. Additionally, applicants must meet the project specific essential selection criteria:

  • Applicants should provide a brief Research Proposal outlining their proposed approach for the project
All applications that meet the eligibility and selection criteria will be considered for this project. A merit selection process will be used to determine the successful candidate. The successful applicant is expected to study full-time, and to be based at our City East Campus

Essential Dates

Applicants are expected to start in a timely fashion upon receipt of an offer. Extended deferral periods are not available. Applications close, Sunday 30 April 2023.

How to apply:

Applications must be lodged online, please note UniSA does not accept applications via email.

For further support see our step-by-step guide on how to apply , or contact the Graduate Research team on +61 8 8302 5880, option 1 or email us at You will receive a response within one working day.

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