Out-of-Home Care Philanthropic Funders Network

About the project

The Out-of-Home Care Philanthropic Funders Network (the OoHC Network) is a collaborative group of philanthropic organisations with a shared interest in improving the outcomes of children and young people at risk of entering, or with an experience of, out-of-home care (OoHC).  

Since its inception in 2017, the OoHC Network Project provides a unique forum for its members to learn about the child and family services sector including trends, evidence and innovation in OoHC in Victoria and other jurisdictions. The OoHC Network also facilitates collaboration of both the philanthropic and child and family services sectors.

In 2017 The Centre, Equity Trustees and the Sidney Myer Fund & the Myer Foundation commenced a partnership to deliver the OoHC Network Project. Since 2019 the OoHC Network has been solely funded by Equity Trustee’s with funding from the Mars-Stride Trust, The David Taylor Galt Charitable Trust, R.M. Ansett Trust and The James Raymond Hartley Charitable Trust. The Centre provides a key role in the OoHC Network through the provision of knowledge and expertise, plus its strong relationships with a range of stakeholders including the OoHC sector, State Government and those working in policy and research fields.

The Centres advocacy for the rights of children and young people, in particular for those with an experience of OoHC brings a whole of system perspective of both the challenges and innovations and highlights the systemic change opportunity for philanthropy. 

Creating impact: Lessons learned from the Out of home Care Philanthropic Funders Network

The OoHC Network is a successful example of collaborative philanthropy that has made a strong impact in the OoHC sector in Victoria through the contributions of a diverse range of philanthropic organisations in partnership with the OoHC sector. The case study on the OoHC Network discusses what collaborative philanthropy is and outlines the purpose, activities and successes of the OoHC Network and provides an overview of the OoHC Networks journey and key features of its collaborative philanthropy approach.  

Innovation Grants

The OoHC Network members shared focus and commitment has, and continues, to deliver partnerships and collaboration to enable innovation grants for the OoHC sector that focus on co-designing and building the evidence base for innovation.

To date the OoHC Network has facilitated over $1m in funding across two grant rounds to support innovative programs in the OoHC sector with the process for the third innovation Grant Round for the 2021-22 financial year currently underway.

Innovation Grant 3

The OoHC Network launched the third Innovation Grant round in May 2021, with the Expressions of Interest (EOI) period now closed. Organisations who applied will be notified at the end of June on the status of their application.

The focus of this Innovation Grant round is:

  • Improving outcomes for children and young people at risk of entry into, in, or with an experience of OoHC
  • Innovation to enable building back better after COVID-19
  • Encouraging and supporting collaboration and shared learning across the community services sector

And where the type of project is:

  • Innovation and Systemic change – a project that aims to affect the systemic issues and barriers, creating opportunities for reform

Prior to launching the EOI’s, the Centre held two Innovation and Collaboration workshops for the sector to provide guidance and steps to implement collaboration and innovation. The workshops also developed the ideas presented in the first stage of the Innovation Grant round process, being the Ideas for Reform in OoHC Survey. The workshops developed these ideas and provided insights and ideas into innovation and collaborative opportunities for OoHC. Further detail on the two workshops can be found here for Workshop 1 and for Workshop 2

Growing Up Aboriginal Babies At Home

Grant Partner: Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency

The second collaborative innovation grant funded the project Growing Up Aboriginal Babies at Home which commenced in November 2020. This program is supported by six members of the OoHC Network who are providing $580,000 in funding over three years. The project will be delivered by the Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency (VACCA) in partnership with Melbourne University’s Department of Social Work and will design an approach using the University of Melbourne Innovation process MABL (Mobilising change Agent for Better Lives). Following design of the approach the project will undertake a pilot to work with young Aboriginal women (and their partners) who are at risk of their baby being placed in OoHC or, if removal has already occurred, seek reunification with their baby. VACCA will support the women to meet the needs of their infants and will use Aboriginal defined measures of success. Through a self-determined and co-designed model of support, the project aims to contribute to improved outcomes for the youngest children in or connected with the OoHC sector and their families in Victoria’s Aboriginal communities.

Brighter Futures Transformation Pilot

Grant Partner: Anchor Inc.

The first OoHC Network collaborative innovation grant brought together six funders and a total of $500,000 to fund Brighter Futures, which partnered with various organisations, plus the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Education and Training. The project sought to improve outcomes for young people transitioning from an OoHC experience to adulthood by connecting them with relevant community members or groups connected to their aspirations and goals. The findings of the pilot highlighted how such services can accentuate the voice and agency of young people exiting OoHC.

Brighter Futures illustrated both the need for and the challenge of systemic change, and how philanthropy can play a role in highlighting these issues. The program also reflects the OoHC Network’s commitment to innovation due to the ‘try-test-learn’ approach where iterative adaptations were made to improve program outcomes and support young people to successfully transition to independence. The pilot also influenced state government approaches to supporting young people leaving care, again demonstrating the role philanthropy can play in highlighting these systemic issues.

This project ran from June 2018-June 2020.

Other Resources

Capability building for innovation and collaboration Workshop, March 2021

In March 2021 as part of the OoHC Network’s process towards the third innovation grant round, The Centre, on behalf of the Network ran a workshop to build sector understanding and capability in collaboration and innovation. The slides are available and a recording of the workshop is available to watch.

COVID-19: What you need to know about Philanthropy and the Child and Family Services Sector, June 2020


If you have a query relating to the Out-of-home care Philanthropic Funders Network project please contact Rachel Anderson at rachel.anderson@cfecfw.asn.au

This project is supported by:

The Centre for Excellence acknowledges the Tradition Custodians of the land on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nations and pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging. Sovereignty has never been ceded and this was and always will be Aboriginal land.
We appreciate and celebrate diversity in all its forms. We believe diversity of all kinds makes our teams, services and organisation stronger and more effective.
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