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Oxford University is a Key Asset for Queensland Children and Young People

by PeakCare Qld on 13th February 2015

Home -> Articles -> 2015 -> February -> Oxford University is a Key Asset for Queensland Children and Young People

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Key Assets Queenslandis a non-government agency that provides foster care placements for children and young people with high and complex needs. It’s an organisation with international links through its founding body,Core Assets. In spite of distance, Key Assets strives to hold true to the ethos upon which Core Assets and subsequently Key Assets was formed – a vision of delivering high quality care in a family setting through holistic support services to carers and children.

Key Assets’ staff, much the same as their international counterparts, are well aware of the needs of children and young people who require statutory intervention in Out of Home Care (OOHC). They promote service development that is evidence based and grounded in both research and the experience of decades of shared practitioner experiences and client feedback. This approach is viewed by the organisation as an effective means of ensuring that children and young people who engage with Key Assets’ programs receive the best possible care and nurturing:

Having access and links to global knowledge, experience and resources enriches our local contributions to the child protection sector in Australia” says Lana Horswill, Key Asset’s Social Work Services Manager. She further comments that sharing international wisdom is important so that Key Assets can take the best of what is and create ideal futures here in Queensland and across Australia and for all children across the globe.

For the past 20 years Core Assets has worked to expand their knowledge, program design and services to children and carers whilst forming relationships that now include four continents across the globe. Key Assets is part of a worldwide network of fostering agencies in the European, Asian, North American and Australasian arm of the Core Assets Group which supports over 3500 children across these continents.

One of the unique ‘stand out’ factors about Key Assets concerns the benefits derived from the partnership the Group Assets Group has with Oxford University. Engaging with one of the world’s most reputable Universities is viewed by Key Assets staff as a major feat. The establishment of a long term research partnership with Oxford University is regarded by Key Assets as beyond exciting.

The Rees Centre for Research in Fostering and Educationin partnership with the University of Oxford allows both Core Assets and Key Assets the benefit of a series of international literature reviews, research, academic and practitioner commentary and on-going practitioner and client input with regard to improving practice with children and young people in out of home care and meeting their social, emotional, physical and educational needs.

Rob Ryan, State Director Key Assets noted that the Rees Centre is named after Jan Rees, co-founder of the Core Assets Group. “As a foster carer Jan has been a key asset in the development of methods to improve outcomes for looked after children worldwide through the Core & Key Assets team”. Jan’s determination to make a difference using evidence-based methods has given the research Centre both its name and a strong foundation on which to build. Jan remains heavily involved in the day to day operations across the world. She visited Queensland to meet with carers in November last year.

With increasing emphasis now being appropriately placed on evidence based practice and ensuring that interventions are underpinned with sound empirical knowledge coupled with the wisdom of practice expertise, this relationship has the potential to make significant contributions to practice improvement in Queensland.

Rees Centre Director Professor Judy Sebba sees the relationship between the Rees Centre and Key Assets as mutually beneficial: “It enables our findings from reviews of international research and from new studies of fostering to be tested out in another context. This stimulates discussion of the transferability of findings such as those on why people become foster carers, across cultures and different regulatory frameworks. Decisions about future research priorities for the Rees Centre have been informed by the views of our colleagues in Key Assets and Australian fostering communities about the challenges they face and lack of evidence to inform their strategies, decision-making and provision.”

Rob Ryan encourages all in the Queensland community sector to partake of these benefits:

“The great thing about the Rees Centre is it is available to anyone in the sector and across the world. It is so inspiring to see the ability to share learnings and research internationally. Judy and her team seek extensive feedback on every piece of research and they disseminate learnings through the published papers, blog sites and webinars. I’d strongly encourage anyone who is interested to register with the Rees Centre to get regular updates and information on new research and to engage in the dialogue and learning across the world”.

Through its delivery of services, the Core Assets Group, including Key Assets, aim to promote a sense of belonging and security within a family environment for all children. Key Assets staff maintain that this is actualised by ensuring children have a voice, a voice that is respected and heard and by ensuring that children and young people can overcome barriers to achieve their hopes and goals. This is enhanced by those who support and advocate for them focusing on their holistic needs, including their protection from harm.

A key message to be obtained from the Key Assets’ approach is that Queensland service providers and the children, young people and families who are the recipients of their services benefit from an international research relationship that binds practitioners to research and researchers to the real life stories of children, young people, practitioners and carers.

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