University of Sydney Network for Childhood and Youth Research news

Member News

December 2009
Gwyneth Llewellyn, Anne Honey, Anita Bundy and Nikki Wedgwood and colleagues are undertaking The Australian Family and Disability Studies Research Collaboration in the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Sydney. The AFDSRC Team is made up of a number of professionals from a range of disciplines - occupational therapy, psychology, social work - all of whom are committed to identifying, promoting and addressing the issues faced by families where a parent or child has a disability. Our broad aim is to actively promote the full participation of these families in the life of their respective communities. To this end: We engage as researchers in the communicative task of understanding the shared experience of family and disability, seeking to identify those influences on being and becoming a parent with a disability, or a parent of a child with a disability, or the child of a parent with a disability; We reveal the conditions (discourses, systems, processes and practices) restricting or precluding parent and child participation in processes of constructing their identities, authoring their lives and conveying their support needs; We promote communicative practices (at macro and micro-levels), that is, the full unconstrained participation of these parents and children in processes of understanding and planning for their support needs; and We identify the support and service needs of families with special needs (over the life course), and identify, or if need be, 'invent' effective approaches to promoting parent-child health and wellbeing. The AFDSRC has specialist knowledge in the areas of: Parents with Intellectual Disability; Child Protection; Early Intervention and Out-of-Home Placement. In addition to these, our future research will explore issues pertaining to: Children and Adolescents with a Disability; Children of Parents with a Disability; Adults with a Disability; and Family Care.
For further details please visit AFDSRC

April 2008
In recognition of her research into young people's participation and social inclusion, USNCYR co-convenor Kathy Edwards was an invited participant in a select group of expert researchers and practitioners called together by the Australian Federal Police with the mission of designing a National Research Agenda around Missing Persons.

Comparatively little is known about the 'who', 'why' and 'where' of 'missingness' in Australia, although young people have been identified as constituting a high proportion of those reported as 'missing'. At the forum Kathy highlighted the need for inclusive communities in preventing 'missingness' and as a counter-strategy to pathologising 'the missing'. She also emphasised the necessity of understanding power dynamics in narratives of 'missingness' where the perspectives of young people are compared with adults. Finally she advised that research methodologies employed in understanding 'missingness' should foster and respect the voices of young people as well as aim to understand the experience of ‘missingness’ from their perspectives.

February 2008
Dorothy Bottrell with Professor Duncan Chappell (Institute of Criminology) presented evidence to the NSW Legislative Council Standing Committee on Law and Justice, Inquiry into the prohibition on the publication of names of children involved in criminal proceedings following their submissions to the Inquiry.

Book releases

The Network is pleased to announce a number of books by members.

Kathy Edwards

  • Youth And Political Participation – released by Sense Publishers. Besides Kathy's own contribution to the volume, on the impact of compulsory voting on young people's attitudes to the franchise, two other Network members also have essays in the book. Derrick Armstrong's chapter is about the civic engagement of 'problem' youth and Ariadne Vromen discusses young people and participation via the internet.

Dianna Kenny

  • Young Offenders on Community Orders: Health, Welfare and Criminogenic Needs (2008). – Dianna Kenny and Paul Nelson.
    Released by Sydney University Press. The research reported in this book advances understanding of juvenile crime, its health and substance abuse patterns, cognitive correlates and offence trajectories, thereby facilitating effective policies and practices to reduce recidivism, improve health and create prosocial alternatives for young Australians at risk of a criminal career. The book examines the characteristics of 800 young offenders serving community-based orders with the NSW Department of Juvenile Justice and compares this group with young offenders in custody and same-aged adolescents in the general population. It presents a detailed profile of the physical, sexual and mental health needs of young offenders, their cognitive, educational and occupational functioning, and examines their substance use and offending patterns that can inform treatment planning and service delivery.

Kate Russell

Kate Russell (University of Sydney) and Kevin Norton (University of South Australia) have published two educational resources designed to explore the concept of body image, with a focus on sport. These resources are aimed at Years 10-12 in Australia/New Zealand and GCSE and A Level in the UK. Each resource incorporates an interactive computer learning tool to examine the key concepts of body image in ways previously not attempted within the school setting.

Body Image
  • Science Through Sport Body Image I – Body Image I discusses the four dimensions that influence our body image. The four dimensions are examined under the headings "How do I see myself?", "what do I think about myself?", "what do I feel like?" and "how do I behave?". The interactive computer-based learning tool, known as the morphing tool, helps students to understand the concept of body image. By answering the questions on the morphing tool, students create their own body shape, a body shape of how they would like to be and body shapes of others. Students will recognise that there are typical patterns that exist such as a persons' ideal size is leaner / slimmer that then persons' perceived size. Key factors that influence body image, such as the media are covered.
    The extension section looks at sport as a factor in body image. It discusses body satisfaction in terms of the function of the body in the sporting arena.

  • Science Through Sport Body Image II – Body Image II explores the relationship between socio-cultural factors and how we perceive, think and feel about our bodies. Students assess body image using a standard questionnaire and can compare their results with norms. The second learning tool enables students to morph body shapes - changing the level of fatness and height of the figure.The extension section explores the role that sport plays in body image. It discusses the positive and negative influences of participation in sport and the role of the media in shaping perceptions.
    Information on topics and interactive features, as well as ordering information can be found at Science Through Sport

  • Child Welfare in Football: An exploration of children's welfare in the modern game – Brackenridge, C., Pitchford, A., Russell, K. M. & Nutt, G. (Eds). (2007). London: Routledge. This text presents an evidence-based account of contemporary youth soccer from a wide range of perspectives and discusses key themes such as child protection, children and the role of family, children and the 'football family', ethical dilemmas and the changing culture of football. The book presents unique research into the experience of a range of stakeholders in the contemporary youth game including children, parents, teachers, doctors, coaches, managers and scouts, child protection officers, soccer academies, referees, sports scientists, adult players and representatives of disability football. It provides an avenue for the voices of young people taking part in soccer to be heard as well as presenting a unique insight into the ways in which this sport is experienced by a variety of groups.