measuring initial outcomes for families in the early intervention program in new south wales n.
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Measuring initial outcomes for families in the early intervention program in New South Wales. Dr. W. Kathy Tannous Social Policy Research Centre University of New South Wales. Research Consortium. Social Policy Research Centre, UNSW

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measuring initial outcomes for families in the early intervention program in new south wales

Measuring initial outcomes for families in the early intervention program in New South Wales

Dr. W. Kathy Tannous

Social Policy Research Centre University of New South Wales

research consortium
Research Consortium
  • Social Policy Research Centre, UNSW
    • Prof. Ilan Katz (Project Director), Dr. W. Kathy Tannous (Project Manager), Dr. Fiona Hilferty, Dr. Marilyn McHugh, Megan Griffiths
  • Centre for Health Economics Research and Evaluation, UTS
    • Jane Hall, Marion Haas, Kees van Gool and Gisselle Gallego
  • School of Education and Early Childhold Studies, UWS
  • Gnibi College of Indigenous Australian Peoples, Southern Cross University
  • National Institute of Social and Economic Research, London
    • Pam Meadows
will cover
Will Cover….
  • Brighter Futures Program Description
  • Early Intervention Program evaluation methodology
  • Progress to date on different strands
  • Preliminary analysis on the Brighter Futures Minimum Data Set
    • Demographics
    • Children’s Outcomes
    • Parents’ Outcomes
    • Brighter Futures Program Satisfaction
brighter futures program description
Brighter Futures Program Description
  • Early intervention program (EIP) that is offered voluntarily for low to medium risk families encountering problems that impact on their ability to care for their children.
  • Key objective of EIP is to prevent families from entering or further escalating in the child protection system.
  • The EIP works with children and families to:
    • Promote healthy development in children;
    • Develop functional families; and
    • Reduce and prevent child abuse and neglect
target population for early intervention program
Target population for Early Intervention Program
  • Early Intervention Program for families expecting a child or who have children aged 0-8 years facing specific problems. Priority of access given to families with children less than 3 years.
  • Families referred to the Early Intervention Program by:
    • reports to the Early Intervention Team; or
    • referral to a Lead Agency by community agency or individual.
  • Participation on a voluntary basis.
core services from the early intervention program
Core Services from the Early Intervention Program
  • Families participating in the program are assessed as:
    • likely to need an intervention for approximately two years duration;
    • Require case management; and
    • At least two of the program funded service options:
      • Quality children’s services – such as long-day care, preschools, family day care.
      • Parenting programs to assist parents to enhance their parenting competencies
      • Home visiting intended to provide support and skill development in their home environment.
early stages of the eip program
Early stages of the EIP Program
  • The program in many areas of the state of NSW began in early 2007 – very early stages of the program.
  • Data that is being provided is based on very early stages of the program being delivered.
  • Data that will being presented includes information on provided on children and family in the program; a state-wide survey of families engaged in the program (family survey) and other administrative data.
brighter future program data as at september 2007
Brighter Future Program Data as at September 2007
  • The first wave of data on families in the Brighter Futures program is based on families entering the program up to the end of September 2007.
  • 975 families had participated in the program
    • 882 families were still in the program, and 93 having exited.
    • 39% were managed by the Department and 61% were managed by lead agencies.
    • 41% of families entered into the program through the community referral pathway- all managed by a lead agency.
      • Lead agencies were also case managing 34% of the families transferred from the Department.
reports to helpline of brighter futures families
Reports to Helpline of Brighter Futures families
  • Of the 975 families in the Brighter Futures program, 780 families (involving 1711 children) had been reported to the Helpline.
    • A total of 6976 reports were received by the Helpline for the period of 24 months prior to entering the program.
      • 11% percent of families were reported only once to the Helpline.
      • The mean number of reports per child was 4.1 per child and the median was 3. For almost 7% of children there were more than 10 reports.
      • Required response time for 90% of reports was low to medium urgency.
risk of harm
Risk of Harm
  • For Helpline calls, the reported issues were:
    • 30% domestic violence
    • 15% disability of carer
    • 13% risk of physical, psychological or sexual harm/injury
    • 12% for inadequate clothing, nutrition, shelter or supervision (with 311 of the 834 calls specifically related to inadequate shelter or homelessness).
family vulnerability
Family Vulnerability
  • For families in the Brighter Futures program, the main vulnerability assessed were:
    • lack of social support (51%)
    • parental mental health issues (47%)
    • domestic violence (46%)
family survey data analysis
Family Survey Data Analysis
  • The Family Survey is a questionnaire designed to measure families’ progress during the program including changes in family functioning, parenting skills, and the targeted child’s language and social/emotional development, as well as to provide important demographic information about client families.
    • Was introduced in August 2007 and offered to all families who had entered the program since 1 May 2007.
    • There were 168 Family Surveys completed, representing 17% of all families who had entered since the program commenced.
    • Average length of time in the program was 3.3 months.
family demographics
Family Demographics
  • The mother was the primary carer for 91% of the participants, the father for 6.5% and a grandparent for 1.2%
    • 67 of the mothers that are providing care are living without a spouse or partner and 65 are partnered.
    • 4 out of the 10 fathers that are the primary and sole carer.
    • There were 3 or more children in the household for 43% of families in this cohort. Two families had children that were unborn
    • 97% of the children were Australian.
    • 22% of the children were identified as being Indigenous Australian - Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.
primary carer demographics
Primary Carer Demographics
  • Almost three quarters of primary carers were Australian (with 22 identified themselves as Indigenous Australian), and a third came from a non-English speaking country.
  • Almost half of the primary carers were aged under 29 years of age, with 11% being under the age of 20.
  • Of the 52% of households with a second caregiver, 92% were partners of the primary carer.
  • Disability - 22% of the primary carers (30 persons) had a disability
  • Education - 55% of participants stated that the highest level of education of any member of the household was year 9, 10 or 11.
  • Sourceofincome – the main source of household income is government benefits, representing 65%.
secondary carer demographics
Secondary Carer Demographics
  • Households with a second carer were more likely to have paid work as a source of income as compared to the 81 participants who did not have a second carer, 72 were reliant on government benefits as their main source of income.
  • 67% of the secondary carers were employed, with almost two thirds of those employed are working on a full-time basis.
brighter futures child demographics
Brighter Futures Child Demographics
  • Children in the Brighter Futures program are typically under the age of six (84%), with a strong representation in the age groups of two to four years.
  • Children’s health was rated to be of good, very good, or excellent health for 90% by their carer.
  • More than a third of the children in the program (36%) had a medical condition, and half of these children also had a development delay
children s outcomes
Children’s Outcomes
  • The Eyberg Child Behaviour Inventory (ECBI) was completed on 108 children aged 24 months and produced an average score of 125.
    • This tool found that 46% would ‘require intervention’ for behaviour problems. The two factors found to be most associated with behaviour problems were the health of the child and a lack of parental warmth.
  • The Brief Infant Toddler Social-Emotional Assessment (BITSEA) tool was completed for 26 children aged between 12 months and 24 months.
    • The mean problem score was 45.1 and the mean for competency was 21.
      • These were above the clinical cut off scores defined for gender and age, suggesting socio-emotional problems and competence are of concern for the average child of this age group in the program.
parents outcomes contd
Parents Outcomes contd…
  • Parental Efficacy - the primary carers felt they were a ‘better than average parent’ .
    • The median result was ‘a better than average parent’, with the mean slightly worse.
    • 13% of participants stated that they had some trouble being a parent or were not very good at being a parent compared to the Australian mean of 2%
  • Positive Parenting - High levels of positive parent–child interaction were reported for more than 77% of the children in the Brighter Futures program compared to the Canadian study average of 82% of children.
    • Most parents in the Brighter Futures praised their child but fewer played sports or hobbies together.
parents outcomes contd1
Parents Outcomes contd…
  • Parental Warmth - Two questions were asked to estimate parental warmth in relation to children aged 24 months and above.
    • The scores ranged from 2 to 10 (the possible results are 0 to 10), with a high mean of 9.3 and standard deviation of 1.6.
  • Hostile Parenting - The scores on hostile parenting are negatively skewed. The higher the score, the more often these events happen from one signifying ‘not at all’ to 10 ‘all the time’.
    • On average, parents in the study were score higher than the Australian mean (11.8 compared to 9.7).
parents outcomes
Parents Outcomes
  • Parental Support – 52% and 37% of carers felt that they sometimes and often felt they needed support or help but can’t get it from anyone (other than their caseworker).
    • These findings were much higher than those obtained from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC) with almost a 25% of primary carers from both infants and children reported feeling a lack of support from family and friends living elsewhere.
brighter futures program satisfaction
Brighter Futures Program Satisfaction
  • 92% stated that they were satisfied or completely satisfied with case management.
  • 97% stated that they were satisfied or completely satisfied with home visits.
  • 59% stated that they were satisfied with the child care service, and, 35% stated that it was not applicable.
  • 48% of families stated that they were satisfied with parenting programs and 46% stated that it was not applicable.
update on current take up rate
Update on current take-up rate
  • The data as at May 2008 indicates:
    • a doubling in the number of families in the program.
    • A greater number of families completing the family surveys (a four-fold increase in baseline numbers)
    • Data on second wave of data on families in the program for 6months plus.
social policy research centre

Social Policy Research Centre

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