Annette Michaux


Annette Michaux is a Director at the Parenting Research Centre, providing leadership and direction in social policy and reform cross-sectorally in relation to parenting and family support. Annette has three decades of experience in child and family practice, policy and research management, including as General Manager of Social Policy and Research at The Benevolent Society, CEO of the NSW Child Protection Council, and a senior policy staffer at the NSW Commission for Children and Young People.

Abstract – Plenary

Children develop and thrive when they live in stable home environments. This is especially critical for children in out-of-home care, who already face environmental and personal stressors. However, evidence shows that significant numbers of children in 2019 are still being moved around the system, putting their wellbeing at risk.

Rising numbers of children in out-of-home care, and concerns about their wellbeing, have led governments across Australia to introduce major reforms. In this reform environment it is essential we ensure that placement stability in out-of-home care remains a priority issue.

In this symposium we will briefly summarise recent research on placement stability and outline how this research is making a mark on policy and practice. We will identify approaches to improving stability such as SNAICC’s Family Matters Report Card and the Permanency Support Program in NSW. Speakers will highlight actions to improve the system for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people and the importance of using data to understand system dynamics and trends. The symposium will identify areas where we are not delivering on stability – and how we can achieve change.

The symposium panel of senior leaders has been chosen to reflect diverse perspectives and expertise from policy, practice, advocacy, research and implementation, as well as for their cross-jurisdictional experience.

Abstract – policy think space

Effective partnerships holds the key: Providing trauma-focused support to maintain placements for children in care

LINKS Trauma Healing Service was introduced as part of Their Futures Matter, a landmark NSW Government reform to overhaul the coordination and delivery of services to vulnerable children, young people and their families.

LINKS is a prime example of policy-makers, practitioners and researchers coming together in partnership to deliver an evidence-based, trauma-focused service to achieve placement stability for children in care. Policy-makers have worked alongside experienced practitioners to select evidence-based interventions and develop a data collection approach that informs clinical service delivery, and enables robust evaluation. Practitioners have drawn heavily on their science-practitioner training to incorporate evidence into every aspect of the work they do, and have benefited from the early data insights on service performance. Experienced evaluators have had the dual role of building relationships with practitioners to gather information to answer policy-makers core question of, “Does the service improve outcomes and provide value for money?”

Early review of LINKS has shown that evidence-based models can be delivered with high treatment fidelity but also with compassion and flexibility to children, young people and carers who do not fit inside the usual “research box”. Presenters will lead an interactive discussion that addresses how LINKS is an excellent case study of a service underpinned by strong partnerships across policy, practice and research realms to improve placement stability. The various intersections and lessons learned to date will be shared. A key focus of this session will be translation of evidence, policy and data to enable the successful delivery of an evidence-based trauma service.

Belinda Edwards , Department of Family and Community Services (FACS)
Dr Catherine Wade , Parenting Research Centre
Annette Michaux , Parenting Research Centre

Abstract – oral paper presentation

Reframing Parenting: how we can change public perceptions of parenting in Australia

The growing gap between the reality of parenting and the ‘parenting story’ being told in Australia is getting in the way of creating meaningful and lasting change for families. To give children the best chance of healthy development we need to better support and communicate with the parents who care for them. However, evidence-based messages around parenting are not currently resonating, rendering the bulk of our communications ineffective.

A major research project involving 7600 Australians conducted by the FrameWorks Institute and led locally by the Parenting Research Centre in partnership with The Benevolent Society, Department of Social Services and others, has developed a powerful new narrative to change the way we talk about parenting. This project has identified what works – and what doesn’t – when talking about parenting in Australia and offers practical, hands-on support to help organisations change public perceptions of parenting and communicate more effectively with families.

This session will outline key messages from the research and how the results are being implemented in three major Australian campaigns: Every Child (coordinated by The Benevolent Society), as well as the Department of Social Services-funded National Community Awareness Raising Strategy and the Building Capacity of Australian Parents trial.

This session will be of interest to professionals who need to communicate effectively about parenting support and/or with parents directly.

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