The State Government is investing $1 million to support world-leading child protection research through a new scholarship program and in turn, better support our most vulnerable children and young people.
The scholarships are a partnership between the Department for Child Protection, the Australian Centre for Child Protection (ACCP) and the University of South Australia (UniSA). UniSA has committed an additional $250,000 to the initiative and the joint commitment will support 10 scholarships.
The program, which is open to existing and new scholars, will focus on supporting new and innovative ways to deliver better outcomes for vulnerable children and young people.
During Child Protection Week (6-12 September), Minister for Child Protection Rachel Sanderson said the State Government’s new $1 million commitment built on the significant and ongoing investment in child protection.
“We are focused on ensuring every child and young person has the opportunity to grow up in a safe, loving and supportive environment where they can thrive – and it’s a responsibility we all share as a community,” said Minister Sanderson.
“The field of child protection is always evolving and changing and our new $1 million commitment to fund world-leading child protection research will help us ensure we are implementing the best and new ways of doing things to better support our children and young people who have experienced child abuse and neglect, including those in care.
“There is no doubt this field of work is incredibly important for us to get right and I really urge South Australians with a keen interest in child protection and improving outcomes for our most vulnerable children to apply for this fantastic opportunity.”
The Enhancing Practice -– South Australian Department for Child Protection PhD Research Program will operate under the senior leadership and oversight of the ACCP’s leadership team Professor Fiona Arney, Professor Leah Bromfield and Associate Professor Tim Moore, who are internationally recognised child protection experts with a prolific body of research spanning the past two decades.
Key research topics that could be addressed through the research projects include responding to trauma and mental health, building therapeutic practice, enhancing reunification practice and creating sustainable partnerships with Aboriginal stakeholders.
DCP Chief Executive Cathy Taylor said the new partnership highlighted the Department’s commitment to enhancing and expanding its practice knowledge with a strong focus on quality and therapeutic care.
“Research will focus on both building the evidence base and translating it into effective ways of working," Ms Taylor said.
“It will support DCP to be world leaders in child protection practice and research, building our expertise and capacity to deliver better outcomes for children in care.”
UniSA Deputy Vice Chancellor: Research and Enterprise, Professor Marnie Hughes-Warrington said participants in this program will be part of a new generation of research leaders.
“At the University of South Australia, we pride ourselves on our strong research environment and our commitment to world-class research performance,” Professor Hughes-Warrington said.
“We are delighted to partner with the DCP in establishing a program which will develop the next generation of high-quality, state, national and international leaders in child protection research.
“The program will drive quality and excellence in the child protection sector and lead the development of new policy and practice nationally and globally.”
ACCP Co-Director Professor Fiona Arney said this program of research will also build on the ground-breaking work of the Centre and support its commitment to creating a brighter future for children and families.
“The ACCP is committed to promoting the needs, views and experiences of children and young people and leading the development of practices and policies that respond to them.
“At the heart of this program is a desire to produce outcomes and impacts which will make a real and tangible difference to the lives of vulnerable children and their families.”
It is expected that students will be accepted into the program this year, with research being undertaken across the next three years.
An expression of interest for the program is now open on the UniSA website.