A new partnership between Griffith Health Institute (GHI) and The Salvation Army is set go beyond the surface of child protection and look at the causes of why some children and families struggle to succeed.
Lead by Associate Professor Kym Macfarlane, the Griffith University/Salvation Army Knowledge partnership will see the creation of the Uncle Barry Watson Research Chair and be back by the Federal Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA).
Spend early, save later
The funding of child and family services has changed since Nobel Prize winning economist, Professor James Heckman found a significant improvement in the success of social programs could be accompanied by savings in costs if the money was directed early at families and young children.
“As one of the leading providers of social services to young and struggling families, the Salvation Army need to be at the front line of what programs they should be offering, what skills their staff need, what training they may require and how they evaluate their success,” said Dr Macfarlane.
“Teaming up with the Communities for Children Program at (GHI) means service providers like the Salvation Army can connect with the latest research. Similarly we can be closer to the roll-out of front line programs in order to evaluate their success.”
Teamwork on the front line
The agreement has been nearly a year in the making after the University approached the Salvation Army with some of their research findings and asked them to be involved in a longer program.
“It really points to a need for social programs to have a strong research component attached to them, not only so they can constantly improve, but so they can easily communicate the value of their work,” said Dr Macfarlane.