Completed for the Victorian Government Department of Health and Human Services (2016)
The review of placement prevention and reunification services for Aboriginal children and their families required extensive state-wide consultation within a limited timeframe. Verso consulted sensitively with a wide range of Aboriginal organisations well as communities and a range of sector stakeholders using a comprehensive engagement strategy. Key consultation activities included:
- Forums with 17 Aboriginal community controlled organisations providing placement prevention and reunification services, as well as the communities they are connected to. Consultations were led by two well-known and respected leaders, and typically took place over two days per site. This approach enabled the consultants to directly connect with community members, families and carers with firsthand experience of the child protection system. A small number of care leavers (aged over 18 years) were also interviewed. More than 100 individuals participated in this data gathering process.
- Nine sector forums were conducted across Victoria. Over 40 sector organisations and state government departments were represented, with around 120 individuals attending.
- Two department forums were conducted, involving around 25 individuals.
- Four online surveys were developed and adapted to suit specific key stakeholder groups, with over 115 completed.
- Face to face/telephone interviews were undertaken with a range of other stakeholders.
Other project activities included the preparation of an investment strategy, subsequent economic analysis of the recommended investment option and a comprehensive literature review.
Feedback on the methodology and outcomes was very positive, resulting in significant changes to child protection policies across Victoria.