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2017 OPEN Symposium Wrap Up and Presentations

The Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare, in collaboration with the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and the University of Melbourne, wish to thank you for attending the 2017 Sector Research Symposium, held for the first time under the auspices of the Outcomes Practice Evidence Network (OPEN).

The theme of this year’s Symposium was Taking ‘an OPEN approach’ to working with children, young people and families and the symposium provided just that! It was a day full of sharing, collaboration and learning that demonstrated the strength and diversity of the sector and the approaches that are on offer from evidence based to promising, new and pioneering.

The Symposium exemplified what OPEN intends to be, a dynamic network and resource that builds our collective knowledge, showcases promising practice and grounds us all in a better understanding of evidence and outcomes.

We have had some great feedback from attendees; the opening address by Andrew Jackomos, Commissioner for Aboriginal Children and Young People, was clearly a standout, described as inspirational and informative. As well, presentations on innovative client-focused approaches, active promotion and discussion of Aboriginal self-determination and the use of technology for gathering data and supporting reflection and practice have encouraged new thinking and motivation. A key take away from the OPEN Symposium for one attendee;

Affirmation that we’re on the right track with what we’re doing…and that our plans to improve are also following suit! Lots of great references and resources to investigate post-symposium too. (Symposium attendee, 2017)

Some of you also told us you want longer presentations and room for discussion. There is obviously great momentum and lots of learning and sharing to be done so we look forward to working with you throughout the year through OPEN and planning next year’s Symposium!

A big thanks to our co-chairs Deb Tsobaris and Professor Cathy Humphreys and a very special thank you to all those who presented on the day, including Minister Jenny Mikakos for joining us via video link, Keynote Andrew Jackomos and panellists Dr Wendy Bunston (WB Trainig and Consultancy), Dr Jess Dart (Founding Director, Clear Horizon), Lisa Griffiths (CEO, OzChild) and Nick Halfpenny (Director for Policy and Research, Mackillop Family Services).

Professor Patricia Rogers was unfortunately unwell and unable to present on the day but watch this space for something special to come in the new year!

Please get in touch with Emily Mellon, OPEN Project Manager with ideas, queries and questions on, 0427 704 420

Aboriginal healing care and culture – Jo Pollett and Andy Charles
Agency wide outcomes framework – Kathryn McKay
Boys to adolescence group program – Rebecca Christie and Thomas Gould
Dislocation of everything that attaches you – Trish McNamara
Early intervention with mother-infants in refuge – Emma Hodges
Early matters-evidenced based framework – Sandra Opoku and Emily McDonald
Evidence informed service approach – Reima Pryor and Shae Johnson
Exploring the cost of conditional welfare – David Tennant, Susan Maury, Juanita McLaren
Measuring change & strengthening practice – Edith Loch and Nick Halfpenny
Murky waters issues of consent and decision making – Margaret Kertesz
Playing around in resi – Kathryn Eberley
Preventing harmful sexual behaviour& exploitation – Gemma McKibbin and Nick Halfpenny
Process & outcomes evaluation of 2 evidence based models – Michelle Van Doorn and Jarrod Edwards
Rapid Response program evaluation – Lalitha Nair and Jonothan Cummins
Revisioning child protection practice – Abul Kahn
Self determination in practice – Shivani Keecha and Kylie Ponchard
Transitioning to post care life – Stewart Muir and Jade Purtell
Trauma informed practice – Belinda Mayfield

Message from Minister Mikakos:

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