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Overview

Current Work

CREATE-ing PATHWAYS TO CHILD WELLBEING IN DISADVANTAGED COMMUNITIES, 2012-2021

Professor Ross Homel, AO
Griffith Criminology Institute, Griffith University

It is widely acknowledged that systemic approaches like collective impact initiatives are required in order to address so-called ‘wicked’ or ‘complex adaptive problems such as child maltreatment, school dropout, and youth crime. Within this approach multiple sectors work collaboratively to address agreed goals that are measurable, and supported by a backbone organization (a central organisation that supports collective efforts).

A major weakness of the collective impact movement is that it does not emphasise the use of evidence-based initiatives, and more broadly tends to neglect the extensive research in prevention science, especially as it relates to schools and human services. This project explicitly aims to remedy this defect.

On the other hand, an historical weakness of prevention science is that it has relied too much on trying to implement, on a large-scale, small prevention programs developed and evaluated by academics. The field has neglected, until recently, the task of strengthening existing large-scale government funded and administered programs by helping put them onto a stronger scientific foundation.

This research program explicitly addresses both of these weaknesses, focusing on the Australian Government program Communities for Children, which operates in disadvantaged communities through partnerships between community agencies coordinated by a Facilitating Partner and funded by the Department of Social Services. The program focuses equally on state government education and human services departments and on non-government organisations that deliver the vast bulk of community services in disadvantaged communities.

The program therefore aims to use prevention science to strengthen the whole child serving system, contributing to the formation of learning communities within and across sectors and organisations, so that regardless of changing political, policy and funding environments the child serving system is more able to sustain large scale, high impact work in disadvantaged communities.

INNOVATION

The program is innovative for several reasons:

1. It focuses on strengthening existing large scale service delivery systems through the formation of cross-sector prevention science learning communities;

2. It introduces a new profession, Collective Impact Facilitators (CIFs), who guide the local coalitions as they move beyond the status quo toward the scientific practice of collective impact by utilising prevention science methods;

3. It builds, tests and applies a world class range of electronic measurement tools and prevention science resources to support the work of community partnerships and the CIFs - see https://www.realwell.org.au. These include:

a. Rumble’s Quest, a 45-minute computer game for children aged 6-12 years that, in a highly engaging way, validly and reliably measures social and emotional wellbeing;

b. Parents’ Voice: an on-line version of PEEM, the Parent Empowerment and Efficacy Measure, together with a range of support resources and a data reporting tool;

c. The Community Coalition Wellbeing Survey, an on-line 67-item survey that measures the quality of functioning of community service partnerships.

d. A tool to measure and apply the economic efficiency with which services are delivered collectively to achieve given levels of improvement in child wellbeing.

e. The Pathfinder System and other tools, for guiding users through the Create Change Engine from Coming Together; Deciding Together; Planning Together; Doing Together; to Reviewing Together.

PROGRAM OVERVIEW: TEN YEARS IN BRIEF

The overall program objective is to implement a Prevention Translation and Support System (PTSS) progressively in Communities for Children (CfC) sites in NSW and Queensland, and to evaluate its impact on measures of child wellbeing, educational performance, and behaviour, as well as on family-school-community engagement and the quality of functioning of local partnerships involving schools and community agencies. The PTSS incorporates electronic tools and resources, and the services of CIFs in each community.

The research design involves extending the CfC partnerships of NGO service providers to include primary schools and state government funded family support services, supported by state departments of communities and education as project partners. This will make it possible to evaluate the collective impact of a wide range of services on child outcomes, including for very vulnerable children. Evaluation will focus on community level change in child wellbeing, as well as on changes amongst children attending clusters of primary schools in the neediest parts of CfC communities.

In addition, in the Logan community in Brisbane, evaluation will be attempted through a pioneering data linkage methodology at the individual child level. This project will link data on children’s exposure to programs and services through schools and community agencies with outcome data collected through schools, centred on social-emotional wellbeing, behaviour, and educational achievement.

Building on the Pathways to Prevention Project in Brisbane (2001-2012), there are three phases of the current 10-year program. The first phase (2012-2016), focused on building the capacity for collective impact (e.g., the development of interactive web‐based electronic resources, including videos, games, and evaluation tools) to improve both child wellbeing and the functioning of local CfC Coalitions, using prevention science. This phase was funded by an Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage grant.

The second Establishment Phase in 2017-2018 is being funded by the Department of Social Services and state government partners in NSW and Queensland, with NGO partners employing staff who are trained in prevention science principles to enable them to work as part-time CIFs in nine communities: three in Queensland and six in NSW. In this phase, development of the electronic resources is continuing, including the tool for economic efficiency analysis, and CIFs are being trained in the Coming Together, Deciding Together, and Planning Together phases of the Create Change Engine cycle.

Phase 3, the Implementation and Evaluation Phase, will be conducted in 2019 through early 2021, with funding from a second ARC Linkage Project. Existing programs and services will be assessed in light of the priority goals for child wellbeing, arrived at by community coalitions in 2018, and then a range of goal-directed evidence-based programs will be considered for possible implementation, alongside existing services. For comparison, data on child outcomes will be collected through schools in the remaining 13 CfC communities in NSW and Queensland where the Prevention Translation and Support System will not be implemented.

PHASE 3 PARTNERS 2019-2021

Research Team

1. Prof Ross Homel, Project Leader
2. Dr Kate Freiberg, Project Scientist
3. Dr Sara Branch, Field Director
4. Prof Greer Johnson
5. Assoc. Prof. Beverley Fluckiger
6. Assoc. Prof Tara McGee
7. Dr Jacqueline Homel
8. Assoc. Prof Sama Low-Choy
9. Australian National University - Dr Matthew Manning
10. International Prevention Scientist - Dr Brian Bumbarger

Government Departments

1. Australian Department of Social Services
2. NSW Department of Education
3. NSW Department of Families and Community Services
4. Queensland Department of Education
5. Queensland Department Child Safety, Youth & Women

Non-government Organisations

1. The Smith Family
2. Mission Australia
3. The Benevolent Society
4. The Salvation Army (Eastern and Southern Territory)
5. The Australian Primary Principals Association
6. Logan Child Friendly Community Ltd
7. InVision Media
 

Related Media Items

News

Expertise Keywords

  • child wellbeing
  • community empowerment
  • crime prevention
  • developmental and life course criminology
  • developmental prevention
  • violence prevention

Country Affiliations

  • Australia

Research Publications and Outputs

Recent Publications

Publications: 191 (Other: 191)

Funded Griffith Research

Engagement and Impact

Learning and Teaching

Current and Past Courses

  • Crime Prevention (3010CCJ)
    Teacher, Print Materials, Mt. Gravatt Campus, Semester 2, 2017.
  • Crime Prevention (3010CCJ)
    Teacher, In Person, Mt. Gravatt Campus, Semester 2, 2017.
  • Crime Prevention (3010CCJ)
    Teacher, Online, Online, Semester 2, 2017.
  • Crime Prevention (3010CCJ)
    Teacher, Print Materials, Other Campus, Semester 2, 2017.
  • Crime Prevention (3010CCJ)
    Convenor, Print Materials, Mt. Gravatt Campus, Semester 2, 2016.
  • Crime Prevention (3010CCJ)
    Teacher, Print Materials, Mt. Gravatt Campus, Semester 2, 2016.
  • Crime Prevention (3010CCJ)
    Convenor, In Person, Mt. Gravatt Campus, Semester 2, 2016.
  • Crime Prevention (3010CCJ)
    Teacher, In Person, Mt. Gravatt Campus, Semester 2, 2016.
  • Crime Prevention (3010CCJ)
    Convenor, Online, Online, Semester 2, 2016.
  • Crime Prevention (3010CCJ)
    Teacher, Online, Online, Semester 2, 2016.
  • Crime Prevention (3010CCJ)
    Convenor, Print Materials, Other Campus, Semester 2, 2016.
  • Crime Prevention (3010CCJ)
    Teacher, Print Materials, Other Campus, Semester 2, 2016.
  • Independent Project (7027CCJ)
    Convenor, Print Materials, Mt. Gravatt Campus, Semester 1, 2015.
  • Independent Project (7027CCJ)
    Convenor, Supervised Research, Mt. Gravatt Campus, Semester 1, 2015.
  • Independent Project (7027CCJ)
    Convenor, Mixed Mode, Supervised Research, Mt. Gravatt Campus, Semester 1, 2015.
  • Independent Project (7027CCJ)
    Convenor, In Person, Mt. Gravatt Campus, Semester 1, 2015.
  • Crime Prevention (3010CCJ)
    Convenor, Print Materials, Mt. Gravatt Campus, Semester 2, 2015.
  • Crime Prevention (3010CCJ)
    Teacher, Print Materials, Mt. Gravatt Campus, Semester 2, 2015.
  • Crime Prevention (3010CCJ)
    Convenor, In Person, Mt. Gravatt Campus, Semester 2, 2015.
  • Crime Prevention (3010CCJ)
    Teacher, In Person, Mt. Gravatt Campus, Semester 2, 2015.
  • Independent Project (7027CCJ)
    Convenor, Online, Online, Semester 1, 2015.
  • Crime Prevention (3010CCJ)
    Convenor, Online, Online, Semester 2, 2015.
  • Crime Prevention (3010CCJ)
    Teacher, Online, Online, Semester 2, 2015.
  • Crime Prevention (3010CCJ)
    Convenor, Print Materials, Other Campus, Semester 2, 2015.
  • Crime Prevention (3010CCJ)
    Teacher, Print Materials, Other Campus, Semester 2, 2015.
  • Independent Project (7027CCJ)
    Convenor, Print Materials, Mt. Gravatt Campus, Semester 1, 2014.
  • Independent Project (7027CCJ)
    Convenor, Supervised Research, Mt. Gravatt Campus, Semester 1, 2014.
  • Independent Project (7027CCJ)
    Convenor, Mixed Mode, Supervised Research, Mt. Gravatt Campus, Semester 1, 2014.
  • Independent Project (7027CCJ)
    Convenor, In Person, Mt. Gravatt Campus, Semester 1, 2014.
  • Independent Project (7027CCJ)
    Convenor, Online, Online, Semester 1, 2014.
  • Punishment. Justice and Reform (3006CCJ)
    Convenor, In Person, Gold Coast Campus, Semester 2, 2013.
  • Punishment. Justice and Reform (3006CCJ)
    Convenor, Print Materials, Mt. Gravatt Campus, Semester 2, 2013.
  • Punishment. Justice and Reform (3006CCJ)
    Convenor, In Person, Mt. Gravatt Campus, Semester 2, 2013.
  • Punishment. Justice and Reform (3006CCJ)
    Convenor, Online, Mt. Gravatt Campus, Semester 2, 2013.
  • Independent Project (7027CCJ)
    Convenor, Print Materials, Mt. Gravatt Campus, Semester 1, 2013.
  • Independent Project (7027CCJ)
    Convenor, Supervised Research, Mt. Gravatt Campus, Semester 1, 2013.
  • Independent Project (7027CCJ)
    Convenor, Mixed Mode, Supervised Research, Mt. Gravatt Campus, Semester 1, 2013.
  • Independent Project (7027CCJ)
    Convenor, In Person, Mt. Gravatt Campus, Semester 1, 2013.
  • Punishment. Justice and Reform (3006CCJ)
    Convenor, Online, Online, Semester 2, 2013.
  • Independent Project (7027CCJ)
    Convenor, Online, Online, Semester 1, 2013.
  • Punishment. Justice and Reform (3006CCJ)
    Convenor, Print Materials, Other Campus, Semester 2, 2013.

Research by Higher Degree Supervision or Scholarship

Theses Supervised at Griffith

Background

Bio

Ross Homel, AO is Foundation Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia.

Professor Homel has published three monographs and six edited books, as well as more than 150 peer-reviewed papers and numerous high impact government reports. He has won many awards for his research on the prevention of crime, violence and injuries and the promotion of positive development and wellbeing for children and young people in socially disadvantaged communities. His accomplishments were recognised in January 2008 when he was appointed an Officer in the General Division of the Order of Australia (AO) “for service to education, particularly in the field of criminology, through research into the causes of crime, early intervention and prevention methods.” In May 2008 he was recognized by the Premier of Queensland as a ‘Queensland Great’, “for his contribution to Queensland’s reputation for research excellence, the development of social policy and justice reform and helping Queensland’s disadvantaged communities.” In December 2008 he was shortlisted for 2009 Australia of the Year, in 2009 he received a Distinguished Service Award for Alumni, Macquarie University; in 2010 he received the Sellin-Glueck Award from the American Society of Criminology for criminological scholarship that considers problems of crime and justice as they manifest outside the United States; and (with Dr Kate Freiberg and Dr Sara Branch) won the Norman Smith Publication in Social Work Research Award for the best paper in Australian Social Work in 2014.

He has served as Director of the Key Centre for Ethics, Law, Justice and Governance, he was founder and director of the Griffith Institute for Social and Behavioural Research (now the Griffith Social and Behavioural Research College); he has served as Head of the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice; as a Commissioner of the Queensland Criminal Justice Commission; and in the early 2000s worked with Fiona Stanley and others to establish the Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth and its associated ARC research network. He is a former Board member and Vice-President of the Council for Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, and is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and former member of the Academy executive committee.
 

Education and Training

  • BSc Bachelor of Science, University Of Sydney 1969 - 1969
  • MSc Master Of Science By Research, University of Sydney 1970 - 1971
  • PhD Doctor Of Philosophy, Macquarie University (Sydney) 1985

Awards and Honours

  • Appointed an Officer in the General Division of the Order of Australia (AO), "For service to education, particularly in the field of criminology, through research into the causes of crime, early intervention and prevention methods.”, Governor General of Australia 2008 - 2008
  • Queensland Great, “for his contribution to Queensland’s reputation for research excellence, the development of social policy and justice reform and helping Queensland’s disadvantaged communities.”, Premier of Queensland 2008 - 2008
  • Allen Austin Bartholomew Award, shared with Professor Alan France, for the paper, 'Societal access routes and developmental pathways: putting social structure and young people's voice into the analysis of pathways into and out of crime', Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology (2006), Vol. 39(3)., Australian and New Zealand Society of Criminology 2007 - 2007
  • National Crime and Violence Prevention Award, First prize., Australian Institute of Criminology 2004 - 2004
  • Fellow, and member of Academy Executive, Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia 2004 - 2004
  • Benjamin Drug Prevention Award, ) for the Local Government Community Action Project in Cairns, Townsville and Mackay, Queensland Department of Health 1998 - 1998
  • National Violence Prevention Award, with colleagues, Australian Institute of Criminology 1998 - 1998
  • National Road Safety Award (New South Wales section), for research contribution to the development and evaluation of random breath testing., Australian Road Safety Foundation. 1995 - 1995
  • Honorary Fellow “For substantial contributions made to support the advancement of experimental criminology”, Academy of Experimental Criminology 2016 - 2016
  • Social Work Research Award, awarded to Dr Kate Freiberg, Professor Ross Homel, and Dr Sara Branch, Australian Social Work 2014 - 2014
  • Honorary Fellow, "For substantial contributions made to support the advancement of experimental criminology", Academy of Experimental Criminology 2011 - 2011
  • Sellin-Glueck Award, American Society of Criminology 2010 - 2010
  • Distinguished Service Award, Macquarie University, Macquarie Alumni 2009 - 2009
  • National Violence Prevention Award, Australian Institute of Criminology 1994 - 1994