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Research Summary

This Evidence to Action Note shares findings from a rapid evidence scan carried out by Western Sydney University into programs that help to reduce harm and maltreatment, and improve outcomes for vulnerable children aged 0-5 years.

Only systematic reviews, meta-analyses, or studies that used a randomised control trial or quasi-experimental design were included. The review identified 25 programs that contribute to reducing maltreatment and improving safety for vulnerable young children. The majority of programs are designed to develop parenting competency and family functioning.

A large number aim to prevent neglect and abuse, reduce the incidence of contact with child protection services, and address harsh and/or dysfunctional discipline and punishment. The programs share common core components, including building supportive relationships and social networks, building parental capacity and case management.

The review findings allow policy-makers, program designers and service providers to assess current practice against evidence-informed models and build more of what works into services targeting vulnerable children. The review was carried out by researchers at Western Sydney University.

Publication Details
Access Rights Type:
Evidence to Action Note February 2023