Dr Catherine Wade


As Principal Research Specialist with the Parenting Research Centre, Catherine Wade leads research and evaluation activities at the Centre. She is also a Research Affiliate with the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Sydney. With over 15 years of experience conducting social policy research, Catherine has expertise in quantitative and qualitative research design, data collection and analysis. Catherine’s research interests span public health priority groups including vulnerable and disadvantaged populations.


Secondary system reforms in Queensland: Prevention and early intervention through joint service planning and investment (Policy Think Space)

Internationally, governments are working to improve service system responses to high and increasing rates of tertiary intervention for children at risk of harm. This presentation will describe the suite of secondary service system reforms implemented in Queensland following the 2013 Inquiry into Child Protection. Reforms to strengthen the safety and wellbeing of children and families and prevent their entry into the child protection system include introduction of a community-based gateway for families and professionals seeking information about family support including through the primary/universal support system, and significant expansion of mainstream and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander family support services. Development of a new ICT system and use of a set of Common Assessment Tools, including the Structured Decision Making and Collaborative Assessment Planning tools, have informed understanding of the implementation and outcomes associated with the reforms, including through two independent evaluations. Based on early evidence, the new family support services appear to be reducing the number of children subject to departmental investigation.

Presentations from different perspectives about elements of the service system reforms will be delivered, including discussion about the governance implemented to embed a co-design approach across these reforms.

The presentation will begin with a discussion of the reforms by policy-makers responsible for leading design and implementation of the programs, followed by presentations from the independent evaluators of the Family and Child Connect and Intensive Family Support Service, and will conclude with a case study delivered by a service provider reflecting on the way the elements of the reform are working on the ground.

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