Late last year, ACWA, the Department of Communities and Justice, NCOSS and academics came together to explore the potential benefits of establishing a Research Council (with the current working title of the NSW Child and Family Research Advisory Council) to provide a platform for the Government, NGO sector and academic institutions to regularly come together with the aims of:
- Identifying those areas that should be targeted for research (along with determining the types of research methodology which should be utilised).
- Considering opportunities for research collaboration.
- Highlighting significant research which has been completed, underway, or is planned to commence.
- Identifying related ‘research to practice’ and ‘communities of practice’ opportunities in order to build the overall skills and knowledge of service providers.
Those involved in these early discussions were of the view that the Council’s initial focus should be on research relating to children, young people and their families, and in particular research on those considered at-risk of factors such as child protection, out-of-home care and/or juvenile justice involvement, or facing other challenges arising from disability, trauma, mental health issues etc.
With this in mind, Dr Amy Conley Wright of the University of Sydney, with support from ACWA, surveyed representatives from the NGO sector and academia about relevant research they had carried out in these fields over the past three years. The survey made provision for the inclusion of a broad range of research types: qualitative or quantitative, big or small, undertaken alone or in partnership with others.
With workplaces beginning to reopen in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, the time is now ripe for ACWA to resume work on this important initiative. As such, we are pleased to release the NGO Research and Academic Stocktake Report – which confirms the benefits of establishing a research council for the purposes outlined above.
ACWA is committed to pursuing this initiative and will shortly recommence discussions with Government, NGOs and fellow peaks to determine the next steps from here. At this stage, we anticipate hosting an initial gathering of interested stakeholders as soon as we are able to all do so face-to-face.
We extend our thanks to all the ACWA member agencies that donated their valuable time and energy to completing the initial survey and look forward to inviting your further participation in delivering a coordinated approach in bringing research to practice.