Currently underway is an important, community-based research project called the Strengthening Families and Communities through Volunteering Research Study. This study aims to assess the effectiveness of a volunteer home visiting program (Volunteer Family Connect) in supporting vulnerable families with young children. The Volunteer Family Connect program is designed to fit within the wider service response to supporting families. The study is across four states (NSW, Victoria, Queensland and Tasmania).
The first randomised controlled trial of volunteer home visiting to be conducted in Australia;
The largest trial to be conducted worldwide;
The only trial in the world to focus on outcomes for both families and the volunteers who support them; and
The first time any study has conducted an analysis of the social return on investment for a volunteer home visiting program.
We want to know whether or not programs like ours really do bring about the positive changes for families that we think they do. It is important to the organisations within the VFC Alliance (Save the Children, The Benevolent Society and Karitane) that we are delivering programs that have been shown in high quality research to be effective. This is part of our duty of care to the families we work with.
We hope that the research will not only enhance our service delivery, but will also inform government and policy makers about what makes a significant difference for families. To date there has not been enough information to guide their decisions about which services should receive government funding support. If the VFC program is shown to be effective, our hope is that we will be able to partner with state and federal governments to keep programs like this going in Australia.
|Please read the VFC Snapshot report summarising the findings of a pilot study that was conducted in preparation for the main trial.|