Free professional development to support those working with complex family situations

by Freya Lucas

May 01, 2019

The Sector recently spoke with Jacqui Stewart, Program Manager for the Institute of Child Protection Studies (ICPS) with the Australian Catholic University (ACU), about the Keeping Kids Central initiative, designed to build capacity for all those working directly with children and families, to support children from families with complex problems to thrive.


The professional development opportunity will be of interest to those working in early childhood education and care (ECEC) settings. Ms Stewart said the initiative was an important one for all services, but particularly those services who were working with children and families where there was a history of complex problems, such as substance abuse, domestic violence, homelessness or other vulnerabilities.


She noted, however, that all services benefit from adopting a child-centred approach, saying that “keeping issues of child safety and wellbeing at the centre of policy and practice contributes to better outcomes for children, young people and their families”.


Keeping Kids Central is a program of online learning modules, which aims to improve the capacity of participants to engage with, and provide best practice support to children and young people who have been exposed to family violence. ICPS developed the modules with funding from the Australian Government Department of Social Services.


The modules provide context for why working with children and young people is important, detail children’s perspectives on how to best support them, and support those working with children to identify and address challenges. They are designed to build on participants’ views and practices in working with children and their families, and presents tools and resources for working with children and young people.


By participating in the program, professionals working directly with families at risk of, or experiencing, domestic and family violence and other challenging issues will develop or enhance their knowledge and skills in adopting child-centred approaches, Ms Stewart said.


Program leaders and managers completing the program will learn about promoting enabling environments, that is, workplaces in which workers feel able to act on and/or adopt child-centred approaches.


The program is provided free of charge for the next six months via funding from the Australian Government Department of Social Services. For more information, or to register for the program, email