CHILD and Family Services Ballarat, commonly referred to as Cafs, is a community services organisation that provides a range of programs and services to children, young people and families who are vulnerable or in need of support.
Located in Lydiard Street North, it aims to prevent the need for the removal of children and young people from their families, and to promote positive family life and community connectedness.
Allan Joy, CEO of Cafs said the organisation formalised its guidance pillars during a review of its 150th anniversary in 2015.
“One of those pillars is Legacy – past, the present and the future and we see the research as a commitment to the future,” Mr Joy said.
To that end, as part of the Central Highlands Children and Youth Area Partnership Research Collaboration, the service provider funds and hosts three Federation University PhD students.
Mr Joy said they undertake their research as students of Fed Uni and are supervised academically by the university as well as coming under industry supervisors at Cafs.
“The intention of the Research Collaboration partnership is for the PhD candidates to come up with research which will inform practice,” he said.
“We hope they are learning from what they are doing and will come back with recommendations.”
During the three year program they have access to the family service’s former clients, after fulfilling the ethics requirements, for research and collection of data.
On completion of the project Mr Joy said the organisation will positively consider repeating the program.
“The current researchers are committed and talented people absolutely dedicated to what they are doing,” he said.
“We would argue that its been an enormously successful undertaking.”
The establishment is committed to research because it is seen as the way of the future.
The intention is to consistently study what is being done and the services being provided with an aim to continually demonstrate outcomes.
“The current thesis topics were selected by the Research Collaboration after being identified as priorities by the local community,” Mr Joy said.
“If we can produce better ways of providing our services as a result of this research then this is going to be a win for our clients.”