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Record ID: 9955b3df-dc47-41a2-9e61-822e72ce704e
Type: Report
Title: Stronger Together: Strengthening families to improve outcomes for children
Authors: McGowan, Jasmine
Pfitzner, Naomi
Meyer, Silke
Helps, Nicola
ANRA Topic: Data development
Policing and legal responses
Children and young people
ANRA Population: General population
Children and young people population
Categories: ANROWS Completed Register of Active Research projects
Year: 2022
Publisher: Monash University
Abstract:  This report presents findings from research into the experiences of mothers seeking the return of their children into their care within the Victorian Child Protection system and the community legal practitioners who assist and represent them. All the mothers involved in this study were affected by domestic and family violence. The research explores the issues mothers were asked to address in order to be reunified with their children, their relationships with Child Protection caseworkers and any help mothers received from support services during the reunification process. Thirty mothers were interviewed by phone for this study and a total of 13 community legal centre practitioners participated in 3 online focus groups. The interviews and focus groups ran from April to June 2021 (for further details on the methodology see Appendix A).The research was carried out by the Monash Gender and Family Violence Prevention Centre in partnership with Women’s Legal Service Victoria (WLSV) and funded by a Knowledge Grant from the Victoria Law Foundation. Two key narratives emerged from the experiences of mothers trying to regain care of their children through the Victorian Child Protection system. One provides clear evidence of the need to reorient the Victorian Child Protection system from a narrow focus on child welfare risks to working with mothers and strengthening family relationships where safe to do so, particularly in the context of DFV. The other concerns shifting goal posts, vague expectations and unrealistic timeframes for mothers seeking to address protective concerns. These two key narratives were also identified by the community legal centre practitioners.

This research was included in the ANROWS Register of Active Research (RAR). The research has concluded and the output has been added to the ANROWS library. Please visit for more information on the RAR.

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