Social Work - Research Publications

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    Identifying and dismantling racism in Australian perinatal settings: Reframing the narrative from a risk lens to intentionally prioritise connectedness and strengths in providing care to First Nations families.
    Hine, R ; Krakouer, J ; Elston, J ; Fredericks, B ; Hunter, S-A ; Taylor, K ; Stephens, T ; Couzens, V ; Manahan, E ; DeSouza, R ; Boyle, J ; Callander, E ; Cunningham, H ; Miller, R ; Willey, S ; Wilton, K ; Skouteris, H (Elsevier BV, 2022-04-26)
    INTRODUCTION: The perinatal period is a time when provision of responsive care offers a life course opportunity for positive change to improve health outcomes for mothers, infants and families. Australian perinatal systems carry the legacy of settler-colonialism, manifesting in racist events and interactions that First Nations parents encounter daily. OBJECTIVE: The dominance of a western risk lens, and conscious and unconscious bias in the child protection workforce, sustains disproportionately high numbers of First Nations infants being removed from their parents' care. Cascading medical interventions compound existing stressors and magnify health inequities for First Nations women. DESIGN: Critical discourse was informed by Indigenous ways of knowing, being and doing via targeted dialogue with a group of First Nations and non-Indigenous experts in Australian perinatal care who are co-authors on this paper. Dynamic discussion evolved from a series of yarning circles, supplemented by written exchanges and individual yarns as themes were consolidated. RESULTS: First Nations maternity services prioritise self-determination, partnership, strengths and communication and have demonstrated positive outcomes with, and high satisfaction from First Nations women. Mainstream perinatal settings could be significantly enhanced by embracing similar principles and models of care. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: The Australian Anti-racism in Perinatal Practice (AAPP) Alliance calls for urgent transformations to Australian perinatal models of care whereby non-Indigenous health policy makers, managers and clinicians take a proactive role in identifying and redressing ethnocentrism, judgemental and culturally blind practices, reframing the risk narrative, embedding strength-based approaches and intentionally prioritising engagement and connectedness within service delivery.
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    Hierarchies of affectedness after disasters
    Brady, K ; Gibbs, L ; Harms, L (ELSEVIER SCI LTD, 2021-10-13)
    Disasters result in a range of impacts that significantly disrupt the health and wellbeing of those affected. After disasters, a hierarchy of affectedness may be explicitly or implicitly developed, where those affected are compared to each other, and to people affected by disasters in other locations. When an individual's sense of place is so significantly disrupted, these hierarchies are critical to improving the understanding of recovery trajectories, including mental health and well-being outcomes. These hierarchies have practical implications that influence the health outcomes of those affected, including eligibility for disaster aid, support services, and the way that people affected by disasters relate to others in their community. This paper expands the 'hierarchy of affectedness' concept coined by Andersen (2013) using findings from a qualitative study in Australia and New Zealand. Using a letter writing research method, twenty people who had been impacted by a range of disasters in different locations described what they considered helpful and unhelpful in the recovery. One emergent finding in this study was that hierarchies of affectedness are negotiated between impacted individuals, others affected in the same community, and outsiders. These hierarchies served as a helpful sense-making tool for some people impacted by disasters, while causing considerable secondary stress for others. Based on these findings, we offer an expansion to Andersen's existing model of hierarchies of affectedness in post-disaster settings.
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    High-Risk Cases at the Intersection of Domestic/Family Violence and Child Protection: Learning from Practice
    Tsantefski, M ; Young, A ; Wilde, T ; O'Leary, P (SPRINGER/PLENUM PUBLISHERS, 2021-02-20)
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    Human capital and child protection: A research framework in the CRC context
    Wulczyn, F ; Parolini, A ; Huhr, S (PERGAMON-ELSEVIER SCIENCE LTD, 2021-08-10)
    Since it was adopted November 1989, the Convention on the Rights of the Child has shaped the objectives for child protection systems around the world. Generally, those objectives fall along three dimensions: permanency, safety, and well-being. However, despite well-being receiving increasing attention in light of evidence that points to the importance of early childhood experiences on life course outcomes, child protection systems have so far struggled to find clear definition of well-being as a developmental construct. In this article, we propose a definition of child well-being that draws on the economic literature pertaining to skill formation and human capital. We argue that human capital, as a multidimensional concept that incorporates cognitive skills, non-cognitive skills, and health, should be added to the list of considerations policy makers contemplate when their attention turns to well-being provided there is research evidence for doing so. To that end, we discuss the several advantages the human capital framework offers within a child protection context. We then describe a theoretical framework and analytical approach to the study of skill formation. We are particularly interested in dynamic models wherein the skills one has influence the rate at which new skills are acquired, with specific emphasis on risk and protective factors across the life course of childhood. Overall, our discussion highlights how a dynamic model of human capital formation aligns with Convention on the Rights of the Child and notions that children in child protection systems have a right to develop the abilities they will need to be responsible adults.
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    Community views on 'Can perinatal services safely identify Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander parents experiencing complex trauma?'
    Chamberlain, C ; Gray, P ; Herrman, H ; Mensah, F ; Andrews, S ; Krakouer, J ; McCalman, P ; Elliott, A ; Atkinson, J ; O'Dea, B ; Bhathal, A ; Gee, G (WILEY, 2022-04-26)
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    Supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Families to Stay Together from the Start (SAFeST Start): Urgent call to action to address crisis in infant removals COMMENT
    Chamberlain, C ; Gray, P ; Bennet, D ; Elliott, A ; Jackomos, M ; Krakouer, J ; Marriott, R ; O'Dea, B ; Andrews, J ; Andrews, S ; Atkinson, C ; Atkinson, J ; Bhathal, A ; Bundle, G ; Davies, S ; Herrman, H ; Hunter, S-A ; Jones-Terare, G ; Leane, C ; Mares, S ; McConachy, J ; Mensah, F ; Mills, C ; Mohammed, J ; Hetti Mudiyanselage, L ; O'Donnell, M ; Orr, E ; Priest, N ; Roe, Y ; Smith, K ; Waldby, C ; Milroy, H ; Langton, M (WILEY, 2022-01-26)
    Reducing the rate of over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care (OOHC) is a key Closing the Gap target committed to by all Australian governments. Current strategies are failing. The "gap" is widening, with the rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in OOHC at 30 June 2020 being 11 times that of non-Indigenous children. Approximately, one in five Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children entering OOHC each year are younger than one year. These figures represent compounding intergenerational trauma and institutional harm to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and communities. This article outlines systemic failures to address the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander parents during pregnancy and following birth, causing cumulative harm and trauma to families, communities and cultures. Major reform to child and family notification and service systems, and significant investment to address this crisis, is urgently needed. The Family Matters Building Blocks and five elements of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement Principle (Prevention, Participation, Partnership, Placement and Connection) provide a transformative foundation to address historical, institutional, well-being and socioeconomic drivers of current catastrophic trajectories. The time for action is now.
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    Tensions in the therapeutic relationship: emotional labour in the response to child abuse and neglect in primary healthcare.
    Kuruppu, J ; Humphreys, C ; McKibbin, G ; Hegarty, K (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2022-03-17)
    BACKGROUND: Child abuse and neglect (child abuse) is a prevalent public health issue linked to survivors experiencing a higher risk of health issues such as obesity, heart disease and major depression. Given the significant impact of child abuse on health, general practitioners (GPs) and primary care nurses (nurses) are well-placed to respond to child abuse. However, research shows that responding to child abuse is difficult for health practitioners, especially the act of reporting child abuse. The present study aimed to understand how GPs and nurses experience the response to child abuse in primary healthcare. METHODS: This study employed qualitative methods. Twenty-six in-depth individual and group interviews were conducted with 30 GPs and nurses. The interviews were audio recorded with consent, transcribed verbatim and thematically analysed. RESULTS: The participants were mostly metropolitan-based female GPs. Participants were sampled from two settings: private general practice and community health; and Doctors in Secondary Schools, a program that places GPs and nurses in high schools. Thematic analysis generated four themes: blowing trust out of the water; riding the reaction wave; opening a hornet's nest; and battling emotions. Participants felt that, in considering child abuse, they were betraying the trust of the therapeutic relationship and thus, had to manage their patients' reactions to preserve the therapeutic relationship. They used strategies that created shifts in perception in both themselves and their patients to help maintain the therapeutic relationship. Participants often felt that they had to compromise their professional code of ethics to fulfil their mandatory reporting obligations. Thus, they experienced internal emotional battles when responding which led to some experiencing burnout or vicarious trauma and others resilience. This complex interplay of relationship and emotional management was placed in the context of emotional labour theory. We contend that our participants undertook emotional labour across three levels: internal, organisational and systemic. CONCLUSIONS: We conclude that the emotional labour exerted in the response to child abuse can be diminished by: developing strategies for therapeutic relationship management; undertaking an internal, organisational and systemic values assessment; and facilitating communication between health professionals and the child protection system.
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    Discussion of the Knowns and Unknowns of Child Protection During Pregnancy in Australia
    Wise, S ; Corrales, T (ROUTLEDGE JOURNALS, TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD, 2021-11-30)
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    Responding to Students Living with Domestic and Family Violence.
    Fogden, L ; Humphreys, C ; Allen, K-A ; Reupert, A ; Oades, L (Routledge, 2021)