Events archive

The SPRN organises and hosts a number of events and activities for researchers, students, community groups government representatives with an interest in social policy development.
 

Children in Scotland infected and affected by HIV: The findings of a research study.

V Cree
Date:
Wednesday 3 March 2010
Time:
4-5.30pm
Speaker:
Professor Viviene Cree, University of Edinburgh
Venue:
Room 612, Education Building A35
RSVP:
Kim Hammond (kimberly.hammond@sydney.edu.au) by Tuesday 23 February 2010.

This seminar will present findings of a study conducted in 2009 and funded by the Elton John AIDS Foundation which set out to chart the health and social care needs of children infected with, and affected by, HIV in Scotland. The seminar will argue that although the number of children infected and affected by HIV in Scotland has declined in recent years, the needs of those children remain high. This finding has significance for all children infected and affected by HIV in developed countries, including Australia.


Joint book launch

Date:
Tuesday 16 March 2010
Time:
5-7pm
Books to be launched by:
Professor Tony Vinson and Mary Lane
Venue:
Nicholson Museum, Main Quadrangle, University of Sydney
RSVP:
Kim Hammond (kimberly.hammond@sydney.edu.au) by Friday 5 March 2010.

Joint book launch:

  • Social policy for social change by Barbara Fawcett, Sue Goodwin, Gabrielle Meagher and Ruth Phillips.
  • Social work and global health inequalities edited by Paul Bywaters, Eileen Mcleod and Lindsey Napier.



Parental and sibling contact among children in Swedish out of home care: An empirical study.

Date:
Thursday 29 April 2010
Time:
2.30-3.30pm (followed by afternoon tea)
Speaker:
Marie Sallnäs and Tommy Lundström, Stockholm University
Venue:
Room 618, Education Building A35 Sydney University
RSVP:
esw.reception@sydney.edu.au (please be sure to note the name of the event and the date in your message)

Swedish child welfare is usually placed within a family service approach. Great importance is placed on supportive services to families and on attaining parental agreement to measures and interventions. An important idea in legislation and official ideology is that children in out of home care shall keep in close contact with their birth parents.

This study is based on data from interviews with 269 children (age 13-18), which are analysed with quantitative methods. Most children had reasonably regular contact with parents, but a substantial number wanted more contact. It is, however, especially evident that the children wanted more frequent contact with their siblings. Contact with siblings is seldom discussed in research, but in this study it emerges as a major issue in child welfare. The results also point to a group of children might be characterised as “permanency placed”; they do not have any contact with their birth parents and they do not want any contact. These children do not fit the strong Swedish paradigm of parental contact.

Dr Marie Sallnäs is Associate Professor in the Department of social work, Stockholm University. Her research is focused on social work with children, young people and their families. It includes extensive empirical studies of break down in care, long term outcomes of interventions and the landscape of out of home care. She has also carried out analytical work on how problems in child welfare are constituted and of society’s measures to deal with them. She is currently leading a study on living conditions among children and youth in out-of-home care.


Professionalisation and evidence-based social work.

Date:
Thursday 29 April 2010
Time:
4-5pm
Speaker:
Tommy Lundström, Stockholm University
Venue:
Room 618, Education Building A35
RSVP:
esw.reception@sydney.edu.au (please be sure to note the name of the event and the date in your message)

Evidence-based social work or evidence based-practice (EBP) is a strong international trend in social work today. If practiced EBP (in its different forms) is of great importance for the base of professional social work. In this seminar I will address in what way evidence-based practice has been received by Swedish central bureaucracy and social workers. I will also point at the different interpretations of EBP and what they might lead to for the profession, and discuss the complications of basing social work interventions on the type of evidence that is produced by randomised controlled studies. I use Multi-Systemic Therapy (MST, one of the most thoroughly evaluated interventions in youth welfare) to illustrate these complications.

Tommy Lundström is Professor of Social Work and Head of the Department of Social Work at Stockholm University. His research areas are child and youth welfare, the voluntary/nonprofit sector and the organisational structure of social work. He is also interested in evidence-based practice and its impact on the knowledge base of social work and strategies of professionalisation. Theoretically he is interested in organisational theory, theories of risk society and theories about the knowledge base and professionalisation of social work. He is currently leading a study on middle managers in social work.


Home-based Services in Eldercare in Israel

Date:
Wednesday 12 May 2010
Time:
4-5.30pm
Speaker:
Dr Esther Lecovich, Ben Gurion University, Israel 
Venue:
Room 618, Education Building A35 Sydney University NSW 2006
RSVP:
Send your RSVP to Maria at Maria.Bruzzese@sydney.edu.au Please include the name of the event in your acceptance.

Most old people want to age in place and remain in their homes, and they regard institutional admission as a last resort. Aging in place is a core component of policy on aging in Israel. The presentation will review the various home-based services for frail elderly persons in Israel and will address the following issues:

  • Aging of the population in Israel, changes in the family structure, and implications for family care and responsibilities.
  • Policies regarding home-based services to those who are ill and disabled: Long-term care for frail elderly people, home health care to chronically ill persons, home-based rehabilitation services, and home-based palliative care to terminally ill persons.
  • The problem of shortage in manpower and the emergence of live-in migrant workers who reside with the elderly person and provide care around the clock, the legal and social aspects of this issue, and problems and dilemmas that are entailed in employing migrant homecare workers.
  • Roles that are played by social workers in the provision of home-based services to elderly persons.



Dr. Esther Iecovich is one of Israel’s leading social gerontologists. She received her doctorate in social work and has been working in the field of aging for 30 years. She is currently Senior Lecturer and Head of the master’s degree program in gerontology in the Faculty of Health Sciences at Ben-Gurion University. Her research interests include policy on ageing, services for elderly people, and care-giving. During the past 5 years she has focused on domiciliary services, in particular homecare services to elderly people that are provided by migrant workers. Along her professional career she occupied various positions, local and national, in the field of eldercare and management of services for elderly persons in both community-based and institutional long-term care services. Email: iecovich@bgu.ac.il


2009

2008

2007

2009

Professionals’ perceptions of their work within families including children and parents with intellectual disability

Date:
Friday 6 November 2009
Time:
3-5pm (with afternoon tea)
Speaker:
Dr Mikaela Starke, Department of Social Work, University of Gothenburg
Venue:
Education Seminar Room 436, Education Building (A35)
RSVP:
by November 3 (please mention the date and name of the event in your message)

Target Participants:
All researchers and practitioners interested in disability, professionalism, professional learning and professional identity in social work, social work with families and people with disabilities, child welfare, intervention in family life.

Seminar Summary:
Parents with intellectual disability have difficulty receiving general acceptance due to the disbelief as to their parenting capacity. It is reported that these parents are unable to care properly for their children even when they are given support by professionals. Parents describe that professionals want to oversee and control their family life. Professionals report that the parents are not interested in receiving help and that they find their responsibilities towards these families unclear.

This paper reports on a study exploring professionals' sources of knowledge about families in which parents have an intellectual disability. Drawing on focus groups with 19 professionals (mostly social workers), the study finds that professionals rely on their experiences and practice for knowledge about these families - they do not often turn to research or reports. Rather, their knowledge was found to be created through the interaction with others that is mostly from colleagues at their workplace. Focus groups participants shared common knowledge about these families. They described their work with them as very complex and difficult, and had similar descriptions about what could be expected in these families, often focusing on the parents' inadequacies. Parents were also typically described as not being able to understand that they need help. This apparent lack of insight into their need for support is used as an argument for the professionals to maintain the inappropriateness of these persons as parents. The study highlights the need for further research on how knowledge is produced and reproduced amongst social workers within this area.

Dr Mikaela Starke is senior lecturer and researcher at Department of Social Work at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden.


Pathways to prison

Eligibility:
Faculty staff and students
Date:
Wednesday 18 November 2009
Time:
3-5pm (with afternoon tea)
Speaker:
Assoc Prof Eileen Baldry, University New South Wales
Venue:
Education Seminar Room 418, Education Building (A35)
RSVP:
reception@edfac.usyd.edu.au by 16 November (please include the name and date of the event in your email)


Seminar summary:
Around 40% of prisoners in NSW have mental health disorders and/or cognitive disability combined with alcohol or other drug problems. This is a massive overrepresentation of between 4 to 9 times the rate in the general population and is replicated across the world. Why are these persons in prison; what pathways have they taken there instead of into social care and support? A study drawing data from criminal justice and human service agencies on over 2,700 persons who have been in prison using an innovative data merging and pathway analysis provides a life-course, pathway analysis for the first time to answer these questions. Results indicate that persons with complex needs, that is with cognitive impairment, mental health disorders and alcohol or other drug issues have significantly more contacts with police, court appearances and episodes in prison than those without a diagnosis or with only one diagnosis. Access to and use of human services is poor; for example those with a cognitive disability in this group are likely to have missed out on disability services as children or young persons, and school education experiences have been negative. The study suggests new ways to understand, account for and intervene to prevent persons with these disabilities ending up in prison. This seminar explains how the research has put together this picture from a range of administrative sources, and explores the challenges and benefits of assembling and analysing this very rich data.

Dr Eileen Baldry is Associate Professor in the School of Social Sciences and International Studies and Associate Dean Education (ADE) in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at UNSW. Her research focuses on social justice matters, including mental health and cognitive disability in the criminal justice system; homelessness and transitional services for those leaving prison; Indigenous social work; community development and social housing; and disability services.


Can the Scandinavian universal welfare model survive the era of globalisation? The case of Denmark and flexicurity.

Dr Aase Mygind Madsen
Date:
Thursday 26 February 2009
Time:
2pm 
Speaker:
Dr Aase Mygind Madsen, Visiting Scholar
Venue:
Room 452, Education Building (A35)
RSVP:
email Ruth Phillips (r.phillips@edfac.usyd.edu.au) by 24 February

SPRN visiting scholar Dr Aase Mygind Madsen has worked as researcher and lecturer at the Center for Development Research, Copenhagen; the Institute of Development Studies, Roskilde University; the Institute of Political Science and Center for Gender Studies at Århus University and at the Århus Business School.

She has also worked as a civil servant at Århus Municipality. Since 1996, Dr Madsen has been a lecturer at the School of Social Work in Århus where she has been active in establishing an international social work curriculum. She has specialised in teaching social policy, globalisation and sociology. She also coordinates the research program “Understanding social problems”.


2008

Network's video conference begins international links

Domestic violence, child protection and child contact was the popular topic for an inaugural video seminar organised on 26 November 2008 by the Social Policy Research Network (SPRN) and the University of Bristol's Violence Against Women Research Group.

SPRN seminar organiser Dr Jude Irwin said more than 40 people attended the conference on the Sydney end, joining with eight colleagues in Bristol.

Professor Marianne Hester, School for Policy Studies, University of Bristol, spoke broadly about the topic, while Dr Maria Eriksson, from Sweden's University of Uppsala explained the current issues of child contact in Sweden.

Local presenters were the SPRN's Dr Lesley Laing and, from St George Domestic Violence Counselling Service (SGDVCS), Assistant Manager Maria Hole and social worker Libby Watson.

Dr Laing presented on the topic of seeking protection in the aftermath of domestic violence while the SGDVCS spoke about the challenges of supporting domestic violence survivors in the current Australian family law context.

Podcasts of the presentations are in production and will be available for download.

Two more video seminars are planned with Bristol; the next is likely to take place some time in February 2009.


Lesbian parents surveyed about work-life balance

Research by the SPRN’s Dr Margot Rawsthorne is the first in NSW to explore the work-life balance experiences of lesbian parents.

Dr Rawsthorne’s work, whose summary report was published in early November 2008, was based on interviews with 17 families.

“About one-fifth of all lesbians in NSW live with dependent children and lesbian couples with children more commonly have both parents in full-time work than other types of families. Yet for the past decade, when enormous effort has been directed toward helping parents better balance their work and family responsibilities, heterosexual families have been the exclusive focus,” Dr Rawsthorne said.

She said her 'Lesbian Parents Work/Family Study' aims to contribute to understanding of how work and family commitments affect different social groups by offering insight into lesbian parents’ labour-market experiences.

“The study adds to the evidence base underpinning government and business efforts to facilitate a better reconciliation of work and family life. It will also, theoretically, enable analysis of social interactions and conflicts that in heterosexual-parent households are predicated on male/female roles, for example, the division of housework falling mostly to the female."

Dr Rawsthorne said lesbian-parented families made pragmatic decisions about the division of unpaid work, informed by who could do it and who liked doing it rather than whose ‘job’ it was.

“The heat was taken out of the issue of unpaid work by acknowledging that home-based tasks – including child-rearing – was work despite the fact it didn't contribute to the family income," she said. “In this way ‘guilt’ was less of an issue for lesbian biological mothers who stayed at home for a while after the birth. They experienced more of a sense of being able to come to a settlement between work and family responsibilities than their heterosexual counterparts.”

Follow-up interviews are scheduled for early 2009, which will add a longitudinal dimension to the project. As well, a comprehensive profile of gay and lesbian couples in Australia from the 2006 Census will be released in 2009.


SPRN-NGO Research Forum: Building relationships and developing shared research and capacity building agendas

Thursday 13 March 2008

In 2008, the SPRN is engaging researchers working in non-government community service agencies with the aim of building the quality and impact of social policy related research undertaken in both academic and practice environments. T he first forum was held on March 13. Participants developed a research agenda and discussed priorities for capacity building.

Click here to read about the outcomes of the day.


SPRN-NGO Researchers Collaboration Event – Workshop 1: Writing for Impact

Target group:
Researchers working in NGOs in the community services
Date:
Thursday 15 May 2008
Time:
1-4pm
Venue:
Room 612, Education Building (A35), University of Sydney
RSVP:
by 12 May to Gabrielle Meagher (g.meagher@edfac.usyd.edu.au) with your workshop preference.  Please note, to go ahead, the workshop needs 15 participants to confirm their attendance by 12 May.



SPRN-NGO Forum – researching complex issues

Eligibility:
Faculty staff and students
Date:
Thursday 21 August 2008
Time:
2-4pm
Venue:
Room 618, Education Building (A35)
RSVP:
email Sue Goodwin (s.goodwin@edfac.usyd.edu.au) by 18 August

Program
2:00 - 3:00pm Using Action Research
Ms Cherie Toivonen, Dr Lesley Laing, Assoc Prof Jude Irwin
'Towards Better Practice: Enhancing collaboration between domestic violence, and mental health services.'
An ARC Linkage Project.
Discussion
Afternoon tea
3:00 - 4:00pm Case studies from the field (program to be finalised)



The role of nonprofits in social services and social policy in the United States

Steven Rathgeb Smith
Eligibility:
Faculty staff and students
Date:
Friday 19 September 2008
Time:
2-4pm
Speaker:
Professor Steven Rathgeb Smith
Nancy Bell Evans Professor
Director, Nancy Bell Evans Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy
Evans School of Public Affairs
University of Washington, USA
Venue:
Room 618, Education Building (A35)
RSVP: Email Sue Goodwin (s.goodwin@edfac.usyd.edu.au) by Monday 15 September


Prof Smith is co-author of Nonprofits for Hire: The Welfare State in the Age of Contracting and Adjusting the Balance: Federal Policy and Victim Services, and co-editor of Public Policy for Democracy. His recent publications examine government financing of nonprofit organizations, the role of faith-related service agencies in social welfare policy, and the government-nonprofit relationship in the US and abroad. He is the former editor of Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, the journal of the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA). In 2006 he began a two-year term as President of ARNOVA.

Nancy Bell Evans Centre on nonprofits and philanthropy
The Centre conducts and supports theoretical and applied research of local, national, and international importance to nonprofit and philanthropic scholars, policy-makers, and practitioners. Efforts focus primarily on research that examines the changing service and policy roles of nonprofit and philanthropic institutions. Research is disseminated through the Center's education and community engagement activities. The Center convenes and connects members of the academic, nonprofit, and philanthropic communities to stimulate thinking on current issues, share research and best practices, and promote increased dialogue and collaboration.

The SPRN would like to acknowledge The Australia and New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG) for sponsoring Professor Rathgeb Smith’s visit to Australia.


Domestic violence, child protection and child contact: the three planet problem

International video conference, 26 November 2008

This conference will feature presentations by leading international researchers into domestic violence, including: Professor Marianne Hester, University of Bristol, UK; Dr Maria Eriksson, University of Uppsala, Sweden; and Dr Lesley Laing, University of Sydney. Further details are listed on the conference invitation.


2007

Award for SPRN member

University professor and SPRN member, Raewyn Connell was honoured with the The Australian Sociological Association (TASA) Distinguished Service Award for her services to Sociology in Australia at the 2007 Joint Conference of TASA and the Sociological Association of Aotearoa (New Zealand) (SAANZ), held at the University of Auckland, 4–7 December. In presenting the award TASA President Professor Michael Gilding drew attention to Professor Connell’s contributions to TASA, as well as to her extensive research oeuvre. In her acceptance speech, Professor Connell thanked Professor Gilding and the association, quoting the inexhaustible Donne on the search for truth. She was applauded by the audience, which included past students, colleagues, friends and many others who had benefited from her teaching and research during her long, distinguished and continuing career.

Earlier in the conference Professor Connell presented a paper entitled ‘Paulin Hountondji's Sociology of Knowledge’, in which she examined one dimension of her most recent book, Southern Theory: The Global Dynamics of Knowledge in Social Sciences. The paper was a retrospective of Hountondji's work, from his challenging of European conceptions of African philosophy and ‘being’ to his own contributions to developing an approach centred on local knowledges. Hountondji's work has much to offer social theorists, particularly those considering any aspect of indigenous cultures.

Dr Kathy Edwards, also an SPRN member, presented a paper entitled ‘Disenfranchising Youth? The Neoliberal/Neoconservative State and Youth Electoral Participation’. Discussion about young people's electoral participation usually focuses on the role of education in producing 'active citizens'. Dr Edwards’s paper considered the limitations of this approach. She argued instead that young people's 'lack' of electoral participation is better understood as disenfranchisement and the result of barriers to the franchise. She ‘brought the state in’ to the debate, by considering the role of neoliberal and neoconservative social policies in constructing these barriers, whilst simultaneously constructing young people as civically deficient and their non-participation as a simple and abstract ‘choice’.


Network members participate in regional debates about the future of social work

Two members of the SRN attended and presented papers at the Asia Pacific Social Work Conference, in Malaysia in September 2007. The theme of the conference was Social Work: Catalyst for Development. The small contingent of Australians at the conference enjoyed a great opportunity to learn about the state of social work in the region, especially in Malaysia, China, Japan, Bangladesh, Korea and Taiwan. Associate Professor Jude Irwin was invited to make a presentation to the opening plenary, where she gave an overview of social work in the Pacific. Dr Ruth Phillips presented a paper based on research about the impact of the new Centrelink financial case-management program and its implications for human dignity and social work. The next Asian Pacific Social Work Conference is scheduled to take place in New Zealand in 2009.

Dr Phillips also attended the Conference of the Asia Pacific International Society for Third Sector Research in Manila, Philippines in October. The theme of the Conference was The Third Sector as Vital Contributors to the Attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Her paper was entitled ‘Why Feminist Frameworks are Important for NGOs’ Development Agendas’. She focused on Goal 3 of the MDGs: Gender Equity and Women’s Empowerment.


Social policy research at the faculty’s Research Festival

The SPRN made a major contribution to the Faculty of Education and Social Work’s ‘Communities and Change’ Research Festival (22–26 October 2007). The Research Festival aimed to engage with professionals, policy makers and researchers in the community and to highlight the research currently taking place in the faculty.

Professor Tony Vinson gave the keynote address on Day 1 entitled 'The Distribution of Disadvantage in Australia and the Role of Education in Remedying It’. Drawing from his recent research published in Dropping Off the Edge, his presentation confirmed that disadvantage continues in a web-like and persistent structure in particular localities and that entrenched disparities persist between these areas and other communities with regard to a range of problems including long-term unemployment, child maltreatment, sickness and imprisonment.

Fellow SPRN members Cherie Toivonen, Associate Professor Jude Irwin and doctors Lindsey Napier and Lesley Laing gave a thought-provoking presentation, which advocated a range of strategies for overcoming the disconnections between mental health and domestic violence services.

Professor Gabrielle Meagher gave the keynote address on Day 2. In ‘What Do Australians Think About Increasing Inequality’ she drew from data about change in the income distribution and about social attitudes to inequality and redistribution. She showed that although a majority of Australians believes that the gap between rich and poor is too large, only a minority thinks it’s the responsibility of governments to redistribute income.

During Day 2 of the conference, the SPRN ran panel discussions under the theme ‘Confronting Disadvantage’. The first presented findings from the forthcoming book, Addressing Violence Abuse and Oppression: Debates and Challenges' (Routledge), edited by Professor Barbara Fawcett and Dr Fran Waugh.

The Social Policy Research Network also maintained a high profile during other Research Festival events such as a Round Table discussion between researchers from philanthropic and community-sector organisations and faculty academics, and the Faculty Forum on Day 4.

Media Release: Government’s Northern Territories Task Force

25 June 2007

Professor Barbara Fawcett from the Faculty of Education and Social Work at the University of Sydney, and Professor Margaret Alston from Charles Sturt University, disseminated this press release in response to the Howard Government's Northern Territories Task Force announcement.


Communities & Change Research Festival

22-26 October 2007

The Faculty of Educations & Social Work's innaugural Research Festival was a week-long showcase event enabling researchers, policymakers and practitioners to explore key issues in education, social work and social policy.

Amongst other contributions, the SPRN organised three panel presentations during the Festival's two-day conference (Mon 22 & Tue 23). The overall theme for the SPRN presentations is 'Confronting Disadvantage', with the individual panel presentations covering the following areas:

  • Confronting indigenous disadvantage
  • Practice research to confront disadvantage
  • Schools as a site for social intervention

Each presentation was followed by a discussion session.

Click here to be redirected to the Research Festival web page for more information.


End-of-year celebration

Thursday 6 December 2007

Dr Ruth Phillips gave a paper called: "Dignity and the Reformed Welfare State: Financial Case Management as the End Point"

Click here to download the abstract. Ruth's paper was concerned with the impact of welfare reform on some of Australia's most vulnerable citizens.