Centre for Social Policy Practice Research and Development
The Centre for Social Policy, Practice, Research and Development is a multidisciplinary centre of academics, practitioners and researchers working in partnership with those with lived experience of disadvantage and social exclusion. Our team includes experts and practitioners in law, children and families, welfare, education, public health, disability, and those who work with refugees and culturally diverse groups.
We sit within the Discipline of Social Work and Social Policy within the School of Allied Health and the School of Population and Global Health.
Acknowledgement of Country
We would like to acknowledge the Whadjuk Noongar as traditional custodians of the land on which we are situated. We pay our respects to elders past, present, and emerging, and recognise the continuing culture of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
The Centre provides intellectual and policy leadership with a focus on the needs of the individual within a universal model of care. We acknowledge the centrality of wealth distribution, public provision of goods and services, social protection, structural inequality, and poor health outcomes.
We seek to accomplish this mission via:
- Research collaboration across disciplines and with those with lived experience
- Leading high quality expertise in social policy, research, analysis, and practice
- Framing public discourse and promoting a deeper understanding of the complexities of those living with disadvantage
- Driving a vision for policies and practice to have a life course perspective within a universal model of care for individuals, children, and families
- Associate Professor Susan Young
- Deputy Discipline Head, Social Work and Social Policy, School of Allied Health
- Professor Rhonda Clifford
- Head of School, Allied Health
- Professor Colleen Fisher
- Head of School, Population and Global Health
- Associate Professor Stephan Lund
- Head, Discipline of Social Work and Social Policy, School of Allied Health
- Dr Antonia Hendrick
- Senior Lecturer, Discipline of Social Work and Social Policy, Allied Health.
- Dr Carol Orr
- Research Fellow, School of Population and Global Health, Population and Public Health
- Adjunct Professor Maria Harries
- Senior Honorary Research Fellow, School of Population and Global Health, Population and Public Health
- Associate Professor Michael Clare
- Adjunct Senior Research Fellow, School of Allied Health, Social Work
- Dr Eduardo Farate
- Principal Policy and Planning Officer, Cultural Diversity, Specialist Child Protection Unit, Department of Communities
- Dr Rosemary Cant
- Contractor / Visitor, School of Population and Global Health Adjunct Research Fellow, School of Allied Health
- Dr Shawn Phillps
- Adjunct Research Fellow, School of Allied Health, Social Work
- Dr Celine Harrison
- Adjunct Research Fellow, School of Allied Health, Social Work
- To make visible and elevate in public discussion the intersection between the health and social well-being of communities, families, children and the societal structures in which they exist.
- To work to achieve a racially, economically and socially just society in which all children, youth, families and their communities thrive.
- To make a positive contribution to the policy making process grounded in equity ad social inclusion.
- Provide capacity building of practitioners and stakeholders in the area of social welfare and promote relationally based practice.
- Become a key resource for analysis and framing that offer fresh inter-disciplinary insight to tell the story about the lives of vulnerable peoples and their issues and how it can be changed for the better.
- Thriving Communities
- We promote conceptual frameworks and skills development that incorporate relational principles in policy making and practice to generate policies and design systems that are supportive of good health, access to procedural fairness and justice, living in a safe and thriving community, and having nurturing relationships.
- The Magic is in Co-Production
- We work with those with lived-experience to tell their story, to be heard and understood. We work with government, institutions, the not for profit sector and community based informal networks to make the lives of those living with disadvantage and social exclusion better.
- Sharing Knowledge
- Our website functions as a knowledge hub and clearing house of research and published works relevant to the core aims of the Centre, and as a resource to service users, practitioners and researchers.
- Building Bridges
- Our publications, reports and events serve to bridge the research-policy-practice gap.
- Multi-Disciplinary Collaboration
- We bring high quality expertise, empirical and theoretical insights across disciplines, to frame public discourse.
- Working with Respect
- Our research, policy contribution and practice teaching are informed by the United Nations Conventions of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the Rights of the Child and engage with the demographic, ability, ethnic, cultural and linguistic diversity that constitutes modern Australia.
- Centre for Vulnerable Children and Families
Underpinned by the reputation and expertise of the late Emeritus Professor Laki Jayasuriya, Professor Michael Clare, Assoc. Professor Maria Harries, Assoc Professor Susan Young, Dr Susan Diamond, Dr Brenda Clare, Dr Christine Choo, the Centre was established to develop and provide strategic research and consultancy aimed at informing and integrating policy and practice with and for vulnerable children and families. The centre’s activities included research and development, consultancy, and training.
- Social Policy Practice and Research Consortium (SPPRC)
The Consortium focused on social policy project development, strategic research, and consultancy aimed at informing and integrating policy and practice with particular emphasis on families, children and vulnerable populations. The Social Policy Practice and Research Consortium sits within the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences jointly in the Schools of Allied Health and Population and Global Health at the University of Western Australia.
Research themes supported by Consortium activities were aimed at generating social change for a more just and equal society through attention to:
- Indigenous peoples’ rights and well-being
- Well-being across the life span
- Systems and structural change
- Service provision reform
- Collaborative programme delivery
- Muslims in Western Australia: Settlement, Family Life and Parenting
Farate, E. (2015). Muslims in Western Australia: Settlement, Family Life and Parenting. PhD Thesis. Western Australia.
This research involved the interviewing of 31 self-identified Muslims who settled in Australia by various means. It explores some of the challenges they faced during settlement and the ways these challenges affected them and their families. The research also considers the role of acculturation on their adjustment to family life and expected parenting practices in Australia, some of the child-rearing strategies they use, and where or to whom they turn for help when needed.
Findings suggest that, in spite of their difficult and often dangerous refugee journey and long wait for reunification, settlement experiences for families who arrived in Australia as refugees appear to improve significantly once they are reunited with their families. Settlement experiences for families arriving under other visa categories appear to be less challenging and difficult, as most migrants in this category bring with them skills that are sought in Australia and have the resources and skills that allow them to find employment and housing.
The way in which Muslim families and individuals address challenges associated with settlement is also discussed in relation to the concepts of resilience, acculturation and identity formation. Findings in relation to the role of acculturation and identity formation appear to support the presence of a number of factors that contribute to families’ developing a strong and balanced sense of identity and of belonging to Australia. Muslim families’ parenting styles, values and practices are analysed in terms of the influence of different experiences and factors, such as their cultural and ethnic background and family of origin experiences.
Hardship and Disadvantage
- Insights into hardship and disadvantage in Perth, Western Australia: The 100 Families WA Report.
Phillips, S., Seivwright, A., Young, S., Fisher, C., Harries, M., Callis, Z., and Flatau, P. (2021). Insights into hardship and disadvantage in Perth, Western Australia: The 100 Families WA Report. The 100 Families WA project (Anglicare, Centrecare, Community Advisory Group, Jacaranda Community Centre, Mercycare, Ruah Community Services, UnitingCare West, Wanslea, WACOSS, The University of Western Australia (Centre for Social Impact and the School of Population and Global Health, with Matt Czabotar, Emily Dowler, Vanya Franklin & Laurence Ralph), Perth, Western Australia: 100 Families WA
The 100 Families WA project 100 Families WA is a collaborative research project between Anglicare, Centrecare, Jacaranda Community Centre, Mercycare, Ruah Community Services, UnitingCare West, Wanslea, WACOSS, The University of Western Australia (Centre for Social Impact, the Social Policy Practice and Research Consortium and the School of Population and Global Health). 100 Families WA has a commitment to ongoing engagement in the project of those with lived experience of poverty, entrenched disadvantage, and social exclusion.
….The experience of entrenched disadvantage in Australia is a brutal one. Many families are suffering deeply. The damage incurred, particularly by children and young people, is likely to have an impact for many years to come. An increasing number of voices are calling for action to address this growing issue. Diagnoses and prescriptions vary but there is a growing awareness that change is needed, and inaction is unconscionable
- 100 Families Baseline Report
Seivwright, A., and Flatau, P. (2019). Insights into hardship and disadvantage in Perth, Western Australia: The 100 Families WA Baseline Report. The 100 Families WA project (Anglicare, Centrecare, Jacaranda Community Centre, Mercycare, Ruah Community Services, UnitingCare West, Wanslea, WACOSS, The University of Western Australia (Centre for Social Impact and the School of Population and Global Health))
- 100 Families COVID-19 Report
Callis, Z., Seivwright, A., Orr, C. & Flatau, P. (2020). The Impact of COVID-19 on Families in Hardship In Western Australia. The 100 Families WA project (Anglicare, Centrecare, Jacaranda Community Centre, Mercycare, Ruah Community Services, Uniting WA, Wanslea, WACOSS, The University of Western Australia (Centre for Social Impact and the School of Population and Global Health)).
Submissions to Parliment
- Letter to Parliamentarians about amendments to Children and Community Services Amendment Bill 2019 (WA)
…Underpinning this struggle is the nuanced and complex nature of child protection being conceptualised within a contemporary culturally sensitive, child and family well-being lens. Rather than adopting fundamental change to accommodate this contemporary lens, the legislative frameworks have been subject to only incremental changes since the original Child Welfare Act 1947 was repealed in 2004. We suggest that the Bill as it is currently constituted has the effect of disaggregating the child from parents, family and community – despite the articulated alternative intent espoused in the Objects of the Act. It is the ongoing spirit of the historic lens that has contributed to the very high rate of child removal and the disenfranchising of individuals, parents and families on the basis of race and socio-economic status. Researchers are increasingly making the link between poverty and child protection intervention, now being referred to as the ‘postcode lottery’.
- Submission to Attorney General; MP, Hon Nick Goiran about Amendments to the Magistrates Bill 2021
…. It is our fear that the amendment, if passed, would jeopardise the growth of a team of judicial officers who are experienced, skilled and knowledgeable about the complex needs of vulnerable, disadvantaged and struggling families and the impact of intergenerational trauma. Arguably, the amendments also risk consistency in decision making, the application of the principles of the best interest of the child, skilled oversight as to the quality of the evidence about parental capacity and whether it meets the threshold of harm, whether the child is at unacceptable risk of harm and to ensuring the essential participation of parents and the child/young person in decision-making.