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Published research about Take Two

Berry Street Take Two provide clinical services, training and consultancy. We also undertake research and are supported by our research partner, La Trobe University.

Our research strategy includes evaluation of our program as well as broader research questions about the nature and developmental needs of the infants, children, young people and families we work with. The research we do aims to support positive change for these families.

Below is a list of publications that:

• have research findings based on the data collected as part of our therapeutic work, or

• were authored by Take Two staff or key alumni of the Take Two community.

Many of these articles are behind paywalls, but links have been provided where they are open source and available online. Listed in chronological order.

Below is a list of publications that:

  • have research findings based on the data collected as part of our therapeutic work, or
  • were authored by Take Two staff or key alumni of the Take Two community.

Many of these articles are behind paywalls, but links have been provided where they are open source and available online. Listed in chronological order.

Rowland M, Bradford K, and Mosse H. (2022) Secondary consultations with mental health professionals supporting children and young people living in out-of-home care with speech, language, communication needs. Journal of Clinical Practice in Speech Language Pathology, 24, 90-95. IN PRESS – not available online yet.

This paper documents the benefit of providing simultaneous cultural and communications specialists consultations to Take Two clinical teams spread across the state of Victoria, aiming to increase the level of specialist support for client assessment and case planning. Speech, language, communication needs is the health issue most commonly affecting the 46,0000 children in OoHC in Australia, after behavioural/emotional health, with 45% under five years of age showing delays of concern. If vulnerable children can be supported to develop communication skills that allow them to form reciprocal relationships and master literacy, they will be in a better position to change their life trajectory and thrive. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are over-represented in both the OoHC and Child Protection systems with Victorian. Secondary consultations enrich the practice and knowledge base of health professionals and enabled clinicians across a wide geographical area to access specialist input which may not have been otherwise available. Consultation topics included: neuro & cultural diversity, communication strategies, pathway to further assessment/supports, understanding reports, and pandemic related. While Aboriginal children represent 2% of Victoria’s population, they were the focus of 25% of consultations, consistent with Take Two service demographics; consultations afforded important opportunities to explore the interplay of culture and communication development for these children. Respondents described the consultations as answering their initial questions, at least a moderate increase in knowledge re SLCN, and felt the consult helped them a lot to understand the next steps to address the issue. The collaborative consultations were evaluated at least as highly as the SLP-only consultations by clinicians.

Cox, A., Frederico, M., Mosse, H., Radford, L., Ambry, D., & Ryan, C. (2021). Australian Maltreated Infants and Young Children Can Achieve Positive Relational Health With Neurodevelopmentally-and Trauma-Informed Interventions Provided Within Relationally-Positive and Stable Environments. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 1198. [] [Open Source:]

This paper using a mixed methods study had two components: a cross sectional study of baseline and repeat clinical measure data (HoNOSCA and SDQ) with a cohort of children aged 2-11 years (n=91), who were clients of Berry Street Take Two between 2014-2019 was presented together with three case studies of Berry Street Take Two clients, which explored the process of intervention, including intervention type, timing and dosage. The case studies drew on the full case record for each child to illustrate the impact of NMT-informed interventions on the relational health, psychological and behavioural functioning of children. The study found that Take Two intervention was associated with improved relational health, measured by the NMT metric and supported by significant positive changes on the SDQ and HoNOSCA with medium effect sizes (cohen’s d). The case study analysis highlighted the importance of intervention addressing individual, family and systems elements to bring about positive change. This study illustrates the value of neurodevelopmental trauma-informed interventions in positively impacting on the relational health and current functioning of maltreated children and the potential to reduce the lifelong impact of maltreatment.

Cox, A., Perry, B. D., & Frederico, M. (2021). Resourcing the System and Enhancing Relationships: Pathways to Positive Outcomes for Children Impacted by Abuse and Neglect. Child Welfare, 98(6), 177-202. []

This paper demonstrates bringing together clinical services, research and training in a loop of evidence-informed and evidence-generating practice utilizing the Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics (NMT) to improve assessment and intervention for children impacted by abuse and neglect. Take Two client data (n = 677) between 2010 and 2017 were analyzed. Repeat measure analysis found children demonstrated statistically significant improvement, benefitting from a relational model of intervention prioritizing building a system of therapeutic relationships to promote resilience and positive sense of self.

Fogarty, A., Savopoulos, P., Williams, K., Petrie, S., Seymour, M., Herman, S., Cox, A., Toone, E., Schroeder, K. & Giallo, R. (2021). Providing therapeutic services to women and children who have experienced intimate partner violence during the COVID-19 pandemic: Challenges and learnings. Child Abuse & Neglect, 105365. [] [Open Source:]

This paper aimed to explore parents' experiences of participating in a parent-child telehealth intervention during the COVID-19 pandemic, and clinicians' experiences of delivering the service, including key strengths and challenges during the same period. Thematic analysis of semi-structured qualitative interviews with 5 clients and 14 staff in metropolitan and regional sites suggested improvements in parenting skills and confidence, parent-child relationships, and children's emotional-behavioural functioning of the program delivered via telehealth, highlighting the promise of telehealth interventions for parents and children experiencing intimate partner violence, and provides several important considerations for the use of telehealth emphasising the need for rigorous evaluations of telehealth services for children exposed to intimate partner violence.

Giallo, R., Fogarty, A., Savopoulos, P., Cox, A., Toone, E., Williams, K., Jones, A., & Treyvaud, K. (2021). Capturing the experiences of clinicians implementing a new brief intervention for parents and children who have experienced family violence in Australia. Health & Social Care in the Community, 00, 1– 12. [] [Open Source:]

While the evidence for therapeutic interventions for children and families who experience FV is expanding however less research has been conducted about clinicians' experiences of intervention implementation. This paper captured the voices of clinicians delivering a brief dyadic intervention for women and their children after FV exposure, the Brief Relational Intervention and Screening. The BRISC is an evidence-informed intervention designed by Berry Street (Australia) for mothers and children with recent experiences of FV. A thematic analysis of 13 semi-structured interviews with BRISC-trained clinicians was conducted, suggesting strengths of BRISC to be its intervention principles, including the hopeful and relationship-focused approach, the timing, structure and flexibility intervention implementation in addition to systems and processes for intake and triage, supervision structure and the team environment. Challenges described included limited referral options and safety concerns, the nature of the program including the mechanics of delivery and specific role challenges such as vicarious trauma. Suggestions for improvements for delivery, supervision and training are shared. This paper emphasises the importance of clinician perspectives when identifying factors promoting the successful implementation of innovative interventions in real-world community settings.

Jackson, A., & Perry, B.D. (2021). The child welfare system and trauma-informed care, in M.D. Hanna, R. Fong, N. Rolock., & R. McRoy (Eds). Introduction to Child Welfare: Building a Culturally Responsive, Multisystemic, Evidence-Based Approach, pp.81-111, San Diego: Cognella Academic Publishing []

Child welfare systems are impacted by the consequences of developmental trauma, and yet the emergence of ‘traumatology’ as an articulated discipline is just now becoming committed to the creation of trauma-informed practices, programs and policies. Further, only recently have child welfare and trauma theory intersected. This chapter explores this intersection with focus on potential benefits as well as limitations. While trauma theory and its implementation through trauma-informed practice has much to offer child welfare, it does not, and cannot, alone make sense of the enormous complexities facing child welfare practitioners and policy makers, however it can offer important insights into policy and practice challenges. Including a brief history of the concept of trauma, this chapter explores the neuroscience of developmental adversity and trauma, historical understandings of child maltreatment and child welfare, and assessment. Informed by contemporary literature, this chapter provides a unique contribution and observations of the intersection of contemporary traumatology and child welfare theory and practice useful when considering overall development of the sectors.

Fogarty, A., Treyvaud, K., Savopoulos, P., Jones, A., Cox, A., Toone, E., & Giallo, R. (2020). Facilitators to Engagement in a Mother-Child Therapeutic Intervention Following Intimate Partner Violence. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 0(0), 1-29. []

Intimate partner violence (IPV) affects more than one in four children worldwide. Despite the growing evidence base for interventions addressing children’s IPV exposure, little is known about what assists families to engage with services. The current study sought to explore women’s perceptions of barriers and facilitators to accessing an intervention for their children following IPV. A total of 16 mothers who had engaged in a community-based, dyadic intervention for children exposed to IPV participated in the study. The Brief Relational Intervention and Screening (BRISC) is an evidenced informed program designed by Berry Street (Australia). A pilot of the intervention was implemented across one metropolitan and one regional site. In depth semi-structured interviews were conducted with 16 mothers who had completed BRISC. Transcripts were analyzed in NVivo using thematic analysis. The findings highlight how service and clinician factors such as flexibility, therapeutic approaches, and communication can facilitate engagement for families affected by IPV. In addition, the study highlights the importance of including the voices of women in research to improve the acceptability of services for consumers.

Ryan, C. (2020). Calming the body before calming the mind: Sensory strategies for children affected by trauma. Melbourne, Australia: Australian Institute of Family Studies. [Open Source:]

This short article describes how practitioners can use strategies that help calm children’s bodies in order to help calm their minds and emotions – specifically, the Regulate–Relate–Reason approach used in Berry Street’s Take Two program.

Black, C., Frederico, M., & Bamblett, M. (2019). Healing through Connection: An Aboriginal Community Designed, Developed and Delivered Cultural Healing Program for Aboriginal Survivors of Institutional Child Sexual Abuse. British Journal of Social Work, 49(4), 1059-1080. []

The wrongs experienced by Aboriginal people have caused life-long and intergenerational impacts that demand culturally grounded healing approaches, yet this is not experienced by Aboriginal people in mainstream services. This article details a culturally informed approach by sharing the findings of a Cultural Healing Program (CHP) designed, developed and delivered by an Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisation. The program was for Aboriginal survivors of institutional child sexual abuse who had also experienced cultural abuse having been forcibly removed from their families as children and in the process disconnected from their communities, culture and land. This study of the development, implementation and evaluation of the CHP included a review of literature, interviews with survivors and facilitators, pre- and post-participant surveys, facilitator journals, participant–observer reflections and short films exploring impacts. An iterative action research approach was utilised to ensure that the lessons from each stage could inform the ongoing design and implementation. It was informed by a phenomenological approach to ensure that survivors’ voices and experiences were central in all steps of the process. The study drew upon the experiences of the survivors and facilitators to identify outcomes of the program. Connection with culture and the collective approach were key to healing for all survivors. The paper identifies key learnings that can inform social work practice and discusses implications regarding program design and implementation.

Frederico, M., Cox, A., & Hameed, M. (2019). Measuring the experience of consumers: Reliability and factorial structure of the Take Two stakeholder survey. Children Australia, 44(3), 154-161. [] [Not in public domain – internal reading link here]

The service user experience of children, their families and other stakeholders in a therapeutic program should inform quality of care, practice and organisation of services. Children referred to Take Two are clients of Child Protection for whom abuse and neglect have been substantiated. This paper aims to describe the development of the Take Two Stakeholder Survey, as well as to examine the reliability and factorial structure of the survey. In addition, the experience of consumers utilising the service will be described together with recommendations for clinical practice improvements and enhanced consumer engagement.

Frederico, M., Jackson, A., Black, C., Pawsey, R., & Cox, A. (2019). Take Two - Implementing a Therapeutic Service for Children who have Experienced Abuse and Neglect: Beyond Evidence-Informed Practice. Child Abuse Review, 28(3), 225-239. []

Helping children recover from the impact of child abuse and neglect is complicated by the limited evidence available on programme effectiveness and efficacy. This paper describes the implementation of a therapeutic service, in Victoria, Australia, known as Take Two, and provides a profile of client characteristics. The paper describes some of the barriers to children in the child protection system accessing therapeutic or mental health services and the approach attempted to overcome these barriers. The Take Two Practice Framework and the subsequent contribution of the Child Trauma Academy's Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics are discussed. There is exploration of evidence-based practice and how this and related concepts are considered in the evolving theory of change and the Practice Framework. This includes consideration of what else is needed to supplement the evidence. The paper provides a useful model for other agencies that are planning or implementing a therapeutic programme for children traumatised by abuse and neglect. Systematic reviews conclude that there is insufficient evidence to allow reliance on any single intervention with this client group. This poses a genuine dilemma for services that aim to utilise evidence-informed interventions but find their offerings limited. Taking a research-based and evidence-informed approach with a strong theory of change has assisted one such programme to respond to this dilemma.

Jackson, A., Frederico, M., Cox, A., & Black, C. (2019). The Treatment of Trauma: The Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics and “Take Two” – Working with children who have experienced abuse and neglect in Huppertz, B. (Ed.) (2019). Approaches to Psychic Trauma: Theory and Practice. Rowman & Littlefield. []

This chapter describes the Berry Street Take Two program and its application of the Child Trauma Academy’s Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics (NMT). Take Two is a therapeutic service developed to assist children who are in recovery after experiencing abuse and neglect. NMT is a neurodevelopmental model that guides clinical practice when children have been exposed to trauma and deprivation, usually in the context of relational poverty. As such, this has been a beneficial pairing of service and model. Through discussion of the interrelationship of Take Two and NMT, we examine the developmental impacts of trauma and deprivation, recognizing that they can have lasting negative consequences for infants, children, and young people. Individually tailored therapeutic approaches, in concert with other rewarding experiences, can help children in their recovery and their move toward lasting positive changes. The power of culture is also explored: this helps explain the impact of separating children from their culture, and the healing power of cultural connection. We outline how the Take Two program and its application of NMT facilitate the application of such approaches. We conclude by discussing aspects of trauma and healing for Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and their communities. The data reported on in this chapter is from an analysis of the first ten years of the Take Two client group (2004-2013) (Berry Street Take Two, 2016). Descriptive data from referral documentation and a de-identified case study are presented.

Frederico, M., Jackson, A., Black, C., Cox, A., & Joffe, B. (2018). Small Talk: Identifying communication problems in maltreated children. Child Abuse & Neglect, 75, 139-148. []

Development of speech and language is rapid in early years, yet if developmental problems in speech and language are not addressed they are likely to continue and impact negatively on a child's overall development and their life trajectory. Children who have experienced abuse and or neglect are particularly vulnerable. The aim of this study was to develop a tool to assist in identifying a child's need for assessment by a speech pathologist so that there could be early identification of problems. The research design was a mixed method cohort design using both quantitative and qualitative analysis as it sought to explore the real-life situations for at-risk children in relation to their speech, language and hearing needs. The research was exploratory in design. A culturally sensitive tool was developed to be completed by the child's carer included questions on language, speech and hearing, voice, fluency, understanding sentences, vocabulary and expression. Sixty-five children aged between 4 and 8 years, who had experienced abuse and/or neglect participated in the study. Fourteen percent were Aboriginal. A speech pathologist undertook an assessment for each child and the results were compared with the information on the Small Talk tool. The Tool was found to be high in sensitivity but low in specificity, requiring further refinement. However, it has the potential to assist non speech pathologists to identify a child's need for speech and language assessment with the findings identifying the Tool as promising practice.

Hameed, M. A. (2018). Challenges and Opportunities for Innovation in Child Abuse and Neglect Research within the Child Welfare System in Australia. Children Australia, 43(1), 57-66. []

Child abuse and neglect is a preventable public health issue, yet a complex global phenomenon with considerable adverse impacts on children, families, health and social services, as well as the Australian community. Despite the widespread adverse impact of child abuse and neglect, the research in this field within Australian child welfare systems is relatively scarce. What is needed is to understand the various challenges, barriers and limitations that face child abuse and neglect researchers and impede methodologically rigorous research within child welfare systems in Australia. This paper provides a brief overview of the key methodological limitations, barriers and challenges, as well as the strengths of the research methods used in studying child abuse and neglect. This paper also explores the potential gains from adopting a national translational research framework. Innovative translation of research and knowledge into effective care system responses and evidence-based practices for children remains a pressing issue. Further advances in Australian research and the evidence base will require substantial investment in research and evaluation activities, with a new emphasis on translational research and active collaboration between researchers and practitioners. Finally, this paper concludes with key recommendations and directions for future Australian-based research with the ultimate goal of improving practices and policies.

Frederico, M., Long, M., & Cameron, N. (Eds.). Leadership in Child and Family Practice (1st ed.). Routledge. []

Chapter 1: The ever-changing context of Child and Family Practice. Miller R., & Frederico, M. (2018).
Chapter 3: A dynamic approach to developing knowledge and skills through curriculum and teaching and learning approaches. Cameron, N., & Frederico, M. (2018).
Chapter 4: Developing effective leadership in Child and Family Practice: Types of leadership. Frederico, M. (2018).
Chapter 6: Leadership in direct practice. Perry, B., Jackson, A.L., & Waters, S. (2018).
Chapter 10: Trauma-informed leadership. Perry, B., & Jackson, A.L. (2018).
Chapter 11: Leading for the future. Frederico, M., Long, M., & Jackson, A.L. (2018).

This edited collection situates the wellbeing and safety of vulnerable children as the focus of leadership. It provides a guide to theories and practice of leadership for those who want to make a difference to the lives of these children and their families. Drawing on the experience of a highly successful postgraduate program in Child and Family Practice Leadership, the book explores the changing context of Child and Family Practice and the role of leadership, in addition to the knowledge and skills required for effective practice. Contributors draw upon their own practice experiences and insights into the most effective ways to support the work of practitioners to achieve the best outcomes for children and families. The content comprises a mixture of theoretical consideration, discussion of original research and interviews with child and family practitioners. Bringing together contributions from leading specialists and professionals in the field, this book will be essential reading for individual practitioners, organisations and policymakers looking to assist the development of leadership within the child and family practice sector. It will also be of interest to those working in child protection and related workforces.

Milburn, N., Ryan, C., McQueen, C., Heron, T. (2018). Calmer Kindergartens. Berry Street Take Two Program. [Open Source:]

Babies and small children all too frequently suffer when their parents and families face difficulties such as family violence, mental illness and substance addiction. Sometimes babies and small children respond to these experiences with feelings or behaviour that might be difficult to understand or to manage, particularly in group settings such as early learning environments. This resource has been written to help early childhood professionals consider the meaning of behaviour and gives some strategies to help educators help babies and small children when they have faced adversity. It has been developed by the Berry Street Take Two Program, an intensive therapeutic service for Child Protection clients, with the assistance of a grant from the Foundation for Graduates in Early Childhood Studies.

Atkins. P, & Frederico, M. (2017). Supporting Implementation of Innovative Social Work Practice: What Factors Really Matter? British Journal of Social Work, 47(6), 1723-1744. []

Achieving client outcomes is understood as a complex, dynamic interplay of elements including the client, worker/s, programme setting and practice approach. How an organisation supports or constrains implementation of innovative social work practice is worthy of research attention. The emergence of frameworks for translating evidence-based practice into health and mental health settings reflects increasing interest in implementation. However, there are few studies of the implementation of evidence informed social work practice, including innovations developed by service providers. This is concerning, as poor implementation will impede the chances of desired client outcomes being realised. The study that was the focus of this paper looked at the influence of organisational context in the implementation of a new therapeutic social work programme for child protection clients. Using a qualitative approach, the intent of programme designers was compared to the experiences of frontline workers in order to identify commonality, contradictions and gaps. The research was informed by structuration theory whereby the experience of workers was understood to influence and be influenced by the implementation process. Thirty-six factors were identified as influential on practice implementation, with five factors emerging as key drivers. A tentative conceptual map of evidence-informed implementation is proposed as a method of supporting new child and family social work.

Frederico, M., Long, M., McPherson, L., McNamara, P., & Rose R. (2017). Improving Outcomes for Children in Out-of-home Care: The Role of Therapeutic Foster Care. Child and Family Social Work, 22(2), 1064-1074. []

How best to support children and young people in foster care remains a challenge for child welfare. There has been little Australian research on the outcomes for children and young people placed in therapeutic foster care (TFC). This article aims to address this knowledge gap, presenting the evaluation of a state-wide model of TFC known as the Circle Program operating in Victoria, Australia. A mixed method approach with qualitative and quantitative data collected from multiple sources was utilized. The findings from each component of data collection were triangulated to provide evidence for the effectiveness of the program. Data sources for the study were case assessment analysis; surveys of foster carers, program workers and other stakeholders in the sector; and both focus groups and individual interviews with foster care workers. The evaluation found that the Circle Program lessened the number of unplanned exits of children from foster placements compared with generalist foster care. Another important finding was that the Circle Program positively influenced foster carers’ decisions to stay in the carer role. Key components perceived as contributing to outcomes of the Circle Program included enhanced training of foster carers, intensive carer support, specialist therapeutic support to the child and carer, therapeutic service to family members and a network of services to provide support to the child.

Frederico, M., Black, C., Owen. L., Lunken, T., & McPherson, L. (2016). Parkville Youth Justice Precinct, Intensive Therapeutic Service Evaluation Parkville Youth Justice Precinct, Victorian Department of Health and Human Services and La Trobe University. [Not available to read online]

The aim of the mixed method evaluation was to examine the impact of the implementation of a trauma-informed approach in a youth justice custodial setting, in terms of outcomes for young people, the understanding and response to young people by staff and the organisational culture and climate. The evaluation found that the majority of key stakeholders believed a trauma-informed approach does make a positive contribution to the care and outcomes for young people in PYJP. However, the implementation of the program highlighted issues confronting the organisation in adopting such a program. The findings indicated the value in a trauma-informed approach for the young person and the whole of organisation.

Jackson, A. (2015). From Where to Where – Running Away from Care. Children Australia, 40(1), 16-19. []

This opinion piece draws on the literature regarding absconding from care and its links with child sexual exploitation and trauma. The author draws on her experience in the child protection, out-of-home care and therapeutic services to raise some questions and suggest some themes about how the system responds when young people run away from what is purportedly safe to what is palpably unsafe. The article concludes with a brief description of trauma-informed practice and suggests that this concept is a useful contribution in our response to helping young people no longer needing to run.

Jackson, A. L., Waters, S. E., & Abell, T. (2015). Taking Time – A Literature Review: Background for a trauma-informed framework for supporting people with intellectual disability. Melbourne, Australia: Berry Street. [Open Source:]

Ageing Disability and Home Care, Department of Family and Community Services (ADHC, FACS) commissioned the Berry Street Take Two program to develop a trauma-informed framework, referred to as Taking Time: A trauma-informed framework for supporting people with intellectual disability (Jackson & Waters, 2015). The overall aim is to promote a trauma-informed disability sector with a particular focus on supporting people with intellectual disability (Statewide Behaviour Intervention Service, 2014). This Literature Review forms a major component of this project, both in terms of providing important background for the development of the Framework and to be a useful resource in its own right. The Literature Review explores definitions and perspectives in relation to trauma and disability, and considers the data on the prevalence of both. It describes key theories and concepts including those related to trauma, attachment, neurobiology, human development, ecological perspective and systems theory, resilience, loss and grief, and quality of life. There is discussion of the literature relating to the impact of trauma and the scarce literature on what can happen when trauma and disability co-occur. There is exploration of interventions with a focus on reducing behaviours of concern and enhancing quality of life.

Jackson, A. L., & Waters, S. E. (2015). Taking Time – Framework: A trauma-informed framework for supporting people with intellectual disability. Melbourne, Australia: Berry Street. [Open Source:]

The Taking Time Trauma-Informed Framework has been developed to guide service providers who support people with intellectual disability. It was informed by the literature, consultation with people with intellectual disability, and support from the consultation and governance and groups established through Ageing, Disability and Home Care, Department of Family and Community Services (ADHC, FACS,). The Framework provides guidance for organisations to meet their obligations in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 2006 and the NSW Disability Inclusion Act 2014.

Quirk, F.A., & Rickwood, D.J. (2015). Effects on Social Support Networks: Exploring the Impact of Type and Severity of Abuse Experienced by Children and Adolescents. Children Australia, 40(3), 180-187. []

The importance of social networks for young people who have experienced abuse and neglect remains an underdeveloped area of research and practice. The aim of the study was to investigate the relationship between abuse experienced by children and adolescents and subsequent outcomes on their social support networks. The study sample consisted of 85 clients (aged 8–15) from Berry Street Take Two. Abuse was measured using the Harm Consequences Assessment (HCA), which recorded the level of abuse experienced in five domains: Abandonment/No Appropriate Carer, Developmental and Medical Harm, Emotional and Psychological Harm, Physical Harm and Injury, and Sexual Harm. This also ranked abuse experienced in terms of severity: concerning, serious or extreme. Social network was measured using the Social Network Map. Analyses revealed a very high level of abuse for most young people across multiple domains. Social support was most evident in the “other family” category, and a relatively high level of perceived support was reported. There were few significant associations between levels of abuse and social support networks. However, one significant effect evident was for those young people who had not experienced developmental abuse who reported a significantly better network quality in work/school area of life than those who had experienced concerning or serious developmental abuse. This study contributes to an important body of emerging evidence on social support networks for children who have experienced maltreatment.

Frederico, M., Jackson, A.L., & Dwyer, J. (2014). Child Protection and Cross-Sector Practice: An Analysis of Child Death Reviews to Inform Practice When Multiple Parental Risk Factors Are Present. Child Abuse Review, 23(2), 104-115. []

This paper draws upon the findings of an analysis of 16 child death reviews of children known to child protection services in Victoria, Australia. The purpose of the research was to assist in understanding the impact on children of the coexistence of the parental risk factors of mental health problems, family violence and substance abuse. The common coexistence of the three risk factors was identified by the Victorian Child Death Review Committee in its analysis of child death reviews conducted by the Office of the Child Safety Commissioner. The researchers analysed a group of review reports and interviewed and surveyed practitioners in a range of fields. Lessons from filicide research have been integrated into the findings identifying lessons for policy and practice, and the importance of multi‐service collaboration. A framework for understanding different elements of sharing knowledge is presented.

Frederico, M., Jackson, A. L., Black, C. M., Joffe, B., McConachy, J., & Worthington, N. (2014). Small Talk: Identifying communication problems in maltreated children — Literature Review, Melbourne: Berry Street Childhood Institute. [Open Source:]

This literature review accompanies a report on the findings from the Small Talk project (Frederico, Jackson, Black, Joffe, McConachy, & Worthington, 2014). This literature review begins with an overview of the development of communication for children in general and what can happen when children experience abuse and neglect. It brings together theory and research from speech pathology, neuroscience, psychology and social work. Given most of the children in the child protection population have experienced trauma and disrupted attachment, trauma and attachment theories were also explored, especially in relation to the development of communication. Due to the overrepresentation of Aboriginal children in the Australian child protection and care system (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare [AIHW], 2013), this review also considered research regarding speech, language and hearing for Aboriginal children. This review also examines the available screening tools and other approaches, considered potentially useful in identifying speech and language difficulties in children and the implications of this for the development of the Small Talk problem-identification tool.

Frederico, M., Jackson, A.L., Black, C.M., Joffe, B., McConachy, J., & Worthington, N. (2013). Small Talk: Identifying communication problems in maltreated children – developing a problem identification tool – Final Report, Melbourne: Berry Street. [Open source:]

This report presents the findings of a research study called the Small Talk project, which explored the speech and language issues for children who had experienced abuse and/or neglect (N=65). One major aspect was to explore whether children’s speech and language developmental needs, including hearing, were able to be recognised by those working with them, such as case managers and clinicians from a therapeutic service. The research design was a mixed method approach using both quantitative and qualitative methodology and analysis as it sought to explore the real life situation for the children in relation to their speech, language and hearing needs. Despite its limitations, the current tool was better able to identify which children had communication problems than a general question of practitioners about whether they thought the children had such problems. The study highlights the value of a multidisciplinary approach to assist children who have experienced maltreatment, with respect to their language development and communication skills.

Frederico, M., Long, M., McNamara, P., McPherson, L. (2014). “The Way All Foster Care Should Be”: The Experience of Therapeutic Foster Carers in the Victorian Circle Program. Children Australia, 39(4), 211-215. []

Central to the success of therapeutic foster care (TFC) is the quality and stability of the relationship between the child and carer. This key relationship may, from a therapeutic perspective, facilitate healing by addressing the impact of complex developmental trauma experienced by the child who has been placed in care. Stability of the carer–child relationship is critical in this context. Therapeutic carers have been shown to be significantly more likely to remain in the role of carer than their counterparts in mainstream foster care. The research reported on in this paper draws upon findings from an evaluation of a TFC programme and gives voice to the Circle Carers, presenting the components of TFC which are important to them. The paper commences with the story of Ruby in TFC as told by a carer. The focus then becomes a detailed exploration of the experience of carers and their capacity to care. Implications for practice are identified.

Jackson, A. (2014). Literature review: Young people at high risk of sexual exploitation, absconding, and other significant harms, Melbourne: Berry Street Childhood Institute. [Open Source:]

This literature review examines what is known about young people who have high-risk behaviours, with a particular focus on the phenomena of sexual exploitation and absconding behaviours. This review was initially undertaken as part of a larger project on young people who were known to Child Protection and who had these and other high-risk behaviours. That project and an earlier version of this literature review were commissioned by the Office of the Child Safety Commissioner (now known as the Commissioner for Children and Young People). The review canvassed literature and other documents that have informed and influenced policy and practice within Victoria over the past thirty years.

Jackson, A. (2014). Undoing the harm of child neglect: Should we, can we, do we? Developing Practice: The Child, Youth and Family Work Journal, (40), 53-65. []

This paper aims to explore certain questions rarely asked about childhood neglect; namely, whether or not we should, can and do try to remedy the harms visited on children as a result of their experience of chronic neglect. It represents some reflections on the literature and on practice through the eyes of a social worker who has worked for 30 years with children who have experienced neglect. After outlining some issues in defining neglect and looking at the limited data available on its prevalence, this paper summarises the literature on the consequences of child neglect, and explores the rationale for child-focused interventions and consideration of what may be some principles for such intervention.

Jackson, A.L., & McConachy, J.E. (2014). Neither Here Nor There - Revisiting Reunification, Melbourne: Berry Street Childhood Institute. [Open Source:]

GordonCare, when it was a provider of residential care services, commissioned the Berry Street Take Two Research Team to explore through the literature and other means if there were ways of more effectively supporting children and adolescents to be safely reunited with their families. The intent of this project was to use a trauma and attachment theory lens when analysing policies, programs and practices relating to reunification. A particular, although not exclusive, focus of the project was on the reunification of adolescents who were living in residential care. This project included a review of the literature relating to reunification and out-of-home care as well as literature regarding some identified theories of interest, namely resilience, trauma theory and attachment theory. A series of interviews with key stakeholders within GordonCare and other services was undertaken, and data analysed from the local Department of Human Services’ office as well as a small number of case studies.

Perry, B., & Jackson, A.L. (2014), Long and winding road: From neuroscience to policy, program, practice. Insight Magazine 9. Melbourne: Victorian Council of Social Service. [Open Source:]

Neuroscience and common sense are decisive: the earlier we nurture children’s minds and hearts, the better lives they will live as adults. Yet, despite some tentative steps, we still wait too long. International child trauma expert Dr Bruce Perry and Berry Street’s Annette Jackson say we might have to look at our own brain responses to understand why.

Couper, S., Jackson, A., Milburn, N., & Black, C. (2013). Victorian Cradle to Kinder and Aboriginal Cradle to Kinder: Practice Guide. Victorian Government Department of Human Services, Melbourne, Australia. [Open Source:]

The purpose of this Practice Guide is to provide relevant information for practitioners and their managers, to support the delivery of the ante- and postnatal family and parenting support programs, Cradle to Kinder and Aboriginal Cradle to Kinder. The guide includes evidence based and research informed material to support effective and consistent statewide implementation of these programs. The guide has been developed in consultation with provider agencies and key stakeholders. It reflects the knowledge and experience of early parenting programs, family services programs, trauma and attachment-informed therapeutic programs, infant mental health, family preservation and other specialist areas. It encompasses the theoretical, research and policy context that underpins the Cradle to Kinder and Aboriginal Cradle to Kinder initiatives. The literature and sources of information used provide a guide for further reading.

Frederico, M., Jackson, A.L., Black, C.M., Joffe, B., McConachy, J., & Worthington, N. (2014). Small Talk: Identifying communication problems in maltreated children – developing a problem identification tool – Final Report, Melbourne: Berry Street. [Link pending]

This report presents the findings of a research study called the Small Talk project, which explored the speech and language issues for children who had experienced abuse and/or neglect (N=65). One major aspect was to explore whether children’s speech and language developmental needs, including hearing, were able to be recognised by those working with them, such as case managers and clinicians from a therapeutic service. The research design was a mixed method approach using both quantitative and qualitative methodology and analysis as it sought to explore the real life situation for the children in relation to their speech, language and hearing needs. Despite its limitations, the current tool was better able to identify which children had communication problems than a general question of practitioners about whether they thought the children had such problems. The study highlights the value of a multidisciplinary approach to assist children who have experienced maltreatment, with respect to their language development and communication skills.

Frederico, M., Jackson, A.L., Black, C.M., Joffe, B., McConachy, J., & Worthington, N. (2014). Small Talk: Identifying communication problems in maltreated children — Literature Review, Melbourne: Berry Street. [Link pending]

The Small Talk project was a research project that aimed to ascertain if it was possible to identify which children, already vulnerable due to their experiences of abuse or neglect, would benefit from a speech, language and hearing assessment. In particular, the project aimed to develop a problem identification tool for use by practitioners in child and family services who were not speech pathologists to identify possible communication problems of children who have experienced maltreatment. This literature review accompanies the Small Talk Report which describes the research project in more detail.

Jackson, A.L., Waters, S.E., Meehan, T.L, Hunter, S. & Corlett, L.R. (2013). Making Tracks: A Trauma-Informed Framework for Supporting Aboriginal Young People Leaving Care, Melbourne: Berry Street. [Open Source:]

This resource has been developed to provide a trauma-informed framework that assists workers supporting Aboriginal young people leaving care to form and sustain positive relationships, have a positive identity, learn, work and enjoy life. To support this holistically a framework has been developed that reflects an understanding of not only the too common experiences for these young people of trauma through abuse and neglect, but also of their too rarely acknowledged strengths and resilience in the face of these experiences.

Jackson, A.L., Waters, S.E., Meehan, T.L., Hunter, S., & Corlett, L.R. (2013). Key Messages – Making Tracks: Trauma-Informed Practice Guide for Aboriginal Young People Leaving Care, Melbourne: Berry Street. [Open Source:]

This practice guide highlights key messages arising from the development of a trauma and attachment-informed framework for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people leaving care. The more detailed framework is described in the Making Tracks: A trauma-informed framework for supporting Aboriginal young people leaving care (Jackson, Waters, Meehan, Hunter & Corlett, 2013). This practice guide draws on the messages from the overarching framework and considers some of the implications for practice in supporting young people form and sustain positive relationships, have a positive identity, a sense of belonging, learn, work and enjoy life. It is written specially for professionals working with Aboriginal young people, although many of the messages are relevant to all young people leaving care.

Bamblett, M., Frederico, M., Harrison, J., Jackson, A., & Lewis, P. (2012). ‘Not One Size Fits AllUnderstanding the social & emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal children. Bundoora: La Trobe University. [Open Source:]

This report presents the findings of an exploratory study which aimed to find or develop culturally specific, holistic and useful assessment approaches to more accurately and sensitively describe the social and emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal children. In particular the focus was on Aboriginal children who have experienced trauma through significant abuse and/or neglect. This study did not aim to provide a psychometric review of the measures nor to develop a psychometric measure. Rather its focus was on gathering ideas from practitioners, policy makers and the literature in order to develop practical approaches to assessing Aboriginal children’s social and emotional wellbeing. The underlying methodology is action research with a focus on engaging Aboriginal and non–Aboriginal individuals and organisations to explore existing knowledge of approaches to effective assessment. The exploratory research involved synthesis of findings from the literature; qualitative analysis of some of the assessment approaches available; interviews with 24 informants from Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal organisations; and validation of the findings via focus groups of key informants and the Project Reference Group.

Frederico, M., Long M., McNamara, P., McPherson, L., Rose, R., & Gilbert, K. (2012). The Circle Program: an Evaluation of a therapeutic approach to Foster Care. Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare, Melbourne, Australia. [Open Source:]

The evaluation was undertaken by the LaTrobe University Faculty of Health Sciences Department of Social Work and Social Policy for the Centre of Excellence in Child and Family Welfare and for a consortium of foster care agencies providing therapeutic foster care – Anglicare Victoria, Berry Street, MacKillop Family Services, Mallee Family Care, Oz Child and the Victorian Department of Human Services. Ensuring that there are sufficient numbers of appropriately skilled and supported foster carers to meet the diverse and complex needs of children and young people who require care is one of the most urgent issues confronting our community. The Circle Program, a therapeutic approach to the provision of foster care, has the potential to respond to the complex needs of children and young people by improving the stability of their placement experience and improving the retention of foster carers. The evaluation of the pilot Circle Program reported here confirms these outcomes and has the potential to contribute substantially to the design of appropriate care options for children with high support needs. This is important to the future planning for provision of Out-of-Home Care in Victoria as the Victorian Government moves to develop its proposed five year Out-of-Home Care strategy.

Jackson, A. (2012). Applying the ‘best interests’ principle to decisions about child health in out-of-home care. Developing Practice: The Child, Youth and Family Work Journal, (30), 9-14. []

Although the value of applying the principle of ‘best interests’ when making decisions regarding children in out-of-home care seems to be self-evident, it nevertheless remains difficult to consistently apply. This is no less true when responding to the health needs of children in out-of-home care. This opinion piece explores the challenges of enacting this principle in the context of human rights, the Victorian legal and policy environment and the day to day realities of practice.

Rocznoik, C., & McKenzie, R. (2012). The war on the telephone: A reflection on the interactions between the health and child protection sectors. Developing Practice: The Child, Youth and Family Work Journal, (30), 73-81. [

Human relationships between different professions and across different organisations can be complex and stressful. In our respective collaborative experiences as a general practitioner caring for young people in out-of-home care over a period of more than 10 years and as the manager of a Secure Welfare Service, we have often experienced distressing levels of conflict between professionals from both sectors. In this article, we reflect on communication issues that remain alive in our everyday practice environment, notwithstanding the research and learning that has taken place in both our sectors in recent years in an effort to overcome the difficulties. Our reflections stemmed from our need to explore beyond the everyday idea that medical professionals and child protection workers are just inherently infuriating.

Sullivan, M., et al. (2011). Evaluation of the Therapeutic Residential Care Pilot Programs Final Summary & Technical Report. Department of Human Services: Verso Consulting Pty Ltd. [Open Source:]

Verso Consulting was commissioned to undertake an evaluation of the Therapeutic Residential Care (TRC) pilots, which are a part of Victoria’s out-of-home care system for children and young people. In June 2007, the Victorian Department of Human Services (DHS) launched the first TRC pilot, referred to as Hurstbridge Farm. Since then, a further 11 pilot sites have been established, each with a specific client focus. The evaluation commenced in August 2009 and concluded in July 2011, with the aim of providing advice to DHS regarding the effectiveness and efficiency of providing a specialised therapeutic residential setting for children and young people experiencing the aftermath of trauma and neglect. The technical evaluation report provides detailed information regarding the TRC pilot sites, comprehensive client outcomes data and analysis, detailed exploration of the key essential elements of TRC and the therapeutic approach, an ongoing evaluation framework and knowledge transfer. The quantitative and qualitative data collection tools, methodology, and process/basis of analysis are clearly documented.

School of Social Work and Social Policy, The Bouverie Centre, La Trobe University, The University of Melbourne, Take Two Berry Street Victoria and the Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency (2011) Submission: Protecting Victoria’s Vulnerable Children Inquiry. Unpublished document [Not available online.]

Take Two and a consortium of allied agencies provided a submission to the Protecting Victoria’s Vulnerable Children Inquiry announced in January 2011. The Inquiry Panel, comprised of the Honourable Philip Cummins, Professor Emeritus Dorothy Scott OAM and Mr Bill Scales AO presented its Report to the Minister for Community Services on 27 January 2012. The Inquiry was tasked with investigating systemic problems in Victoria’s child protection system and making recommendations to strengthen and improve the protection and support of vulnerable young Victorians. The Inquiry believes that where child abuse or neglect has occurred, the government should provide a response that ameliorates the effects of such trauma and do all in its power to ensure it does not cause further harm. Estimates prepared by Deloitte Access Economics for the Inquiry indicate that the total lifetime financial costs of child abuse and neglect that occurred in Victoria for the first time in 2009-10 is between $1.6 and $1.9 billion. Each individual case of child abuse and neglect continues to create costs for the community long after the abuse stops, or the neglect is addressed. This is because child abuse and neglect increases the costs of health care and education, housing and supported accommodation assistance, court-related matters and crime, and leads to significant productivity losses. The Inquiry heard many positive accounts from child protection practitioners and carers that demonstrate how a well-functioning child protection system can support vulnerable children and give them a chance at leading a normal life. The Inquiry has tried to learn from all these accounts and experiences in recommending extensive reforms to the nature and structure of Victoria’s response to child abuse and neglect.

Dwyer, J., Jackson, A., McKenzie, R., & Frederico, M. (2010). Emotional PAIN Relief for Traumatised Young People: Description of a Tool for Providing ‘First Aid Plus’. International Journal of Child & Family Welfare, 13(1-2), 81-97. [Open Source:]

This paper presents a tool that forms part of an emotional first aid approach to prevent or reduce escalation of emotional and behavioural difficulties for young people who are facing threatening situations and other overwhelming events. PAIN is an acronym designed to help workers, carers and young people learn and remember the value of: Predicting and Preparing; Acknowledging feelings; Informing and Nurturing and Noticing. It is not an intervention approach in itself but a tool to support those at risk of becoming increasingly dysregulated. It has been developed out of practice experience and informed by theories regarding development, attachment and trauma. It has been applied in a variety of settings including child protection, residential care, youth justice and primary health settings. This paper presents on the development, rationale and application of the tool and aims to encourage discussion regarding this and other approaches that emerge from practice.

Frederico, M., Jackson, A., & Black, C. (2010) More than Words: The Language of Relationships. Take Two Third Evaluation Report. Bundoora: La Trobe University. [Open Source:

This is the third in a series of three evaluation reports of the Take Two program. This third evaluation report focuses on what happens beyond the words. The permeating theme in this report is the centrality of relationships through all aspects of the Take Two program. This relational approach is a fundamental aspiration for each child as well as for the program as a whole. The report aims to describe how close Take Two is to achieving this aspiration acknowledging that it is a continuous journey, rather than a final destination. The report presents evidence that Take Two is making a substantial difference in the lives of children through therapeutic interventions. These therapeutic approaches involve