Pauline Dixon is the Executive Manager of Family Services at Wanslea. She has over 25 years’ experience working with families experiencing vulnerability and their children. She currently manages a team that works across a range of programs, including parenting, prevention of children entering care, reunification, support to children of parents with mental illness and early intervention and prevention of children and young people developing a mental illness. She is committed to using the evidence from research to inform work with parents in building on their strengths and increasing their family well-being. She is passionate about building the capacity of professionals working with families and has recently been involved in the co-production and implementation of an evidence based practice framework for working with families experiencing vulnerability and their children. She has been involved in a number of initiatives including the roll out of the National Healthy Start Strategy in Australia for Parents with Learning Difficulties and the development of services to Children of Parents with Mental Illness.
Wanslea has developed its practice with families experiencing vulnerability by the linking of research evidence to established promising practice, with the help of the Parenting Research Centre in Victoria. The motivation was to ensure that families had access to the best possible outcomes to improve their wellbeing and that of their children and communities, particularly in the first 1000 days.
Wanslea co-produced a Practice Framework for use in each of its parenting programs with the assistance of the Parenting Research Centre. It uses practices and skills that have been shown to work with families experiencing vulnerability. We are in the final stages of the implementation of the framework into daily practice and have followed an approach developed by the National Implementation Research Network in the United States that provides a structure for managing organisational change. A number of evidence based tools and systems have been introduced and different ways of working established. An implementation team has guided the process with the assistance of our research partner.
Wanslea has introduced a model of coaching that complements clinical supervision and practitioners are supported to enable families to receive a service in the way it was intended. This has included introducing and reinforcing conceptual and behavioural skills that are known to be effective. Data collection has also been introduced to guide and inform decision making at the clinical and organizational level. An outcome evaluation is in progress and early results will be shared along with feedback from practitioners.