Family functioning and children’s outcomes

Using people-centered evidence to shape policy strategy and implementation: new approaches to data analysis and stakeholder co-design from the Department of Social Services
Friday 27 July, 1135 – 1155

Department of Social Services


Tim Crosier
Department of Social Services

Grey Robertson
Department of Social Services

The Department has developed a Family Functioning and Children’s Outcomes approach as a guide for policy development and program design on family functioning. It includes a definition of family functioning, a model of how families function, and principles for policy development. It offers a means for identifying the levers available to most effectively invest in improving children’s outcomes through improving a family’s capability to provide the functions and resources their children need.
The approach is a guide to the systems and interactions that form a child’s overall environment. It highlights how family functioning can create pathways to good or poor outcomes for a child, and the related broader community outcomes.
This approach describes families by what they do not what they look like, and examines what changes how families function. How can we know a family has capacity to function well through adversity and transitions? It outlines the factors to consider in mapping how we might improve children’s outcomes through supporting better family functioning, and how we can assess if we are on the right path.