Parkerville Children and Youth Care
Parkerville Children and Youth Care
and Innovation Unit ANZ Win Gold
at 2023 Australian Good Design Awards
The 2023 Australian Good Design Awards recently celebrated exceptional achievements in the field of design and innovation, recognising projects that make a significant impact on society.
Among the distinguished winners, Parkerville Children and Youth Care, in partnership with Innovation Unit ANZ, was honoured to receive the prestigious Good Design Award Gold Winner Accolade in the Social Impact category for their groundbreaking project, 'Our Way Home – Care that Keeps Family Together’.
The awards ceremony, held on September 8, gathered over 1000 guests from the design and architecture community to acknowledge outstanding design initiatives that contribute positively to society. The jury's evaluation and recognition of 'Our Way Home' as a Gold Winner in the Social Impact category highlighted the project's exceptional qualities.
The Good Design Awards Jury praised the project, stating, "Wonderful to see the level of engagement across the design process with over 200 children, families, Elders, staff, and community stakeholders to reframe and redesign out-of-home care services, transforming the experiences of children in care and their families. We commend the clear explanation of your execution and appreciate the information provided about interest in model replication, as well as the comparison figure between predicted cost savings and the cost of the approach. Congratulations on an incredibly worthy, well-designed, and promising project”.
Recognising the pressing need for a radical transformation of our existing out-of-home care system, especially to better serve Aboriginal children and disrupt the cycle of disadvantage, 'Our Way Home' was born. The model is the result of a remarkable three-year journey of co-design and prototyping, achieved through the collaborative effort between Parkerville Children and Youth Care and Innovation Unit ANZ.
Ms Kim Brooklyn, CEO at Parkerville Children and Youth Care, says “The Our Way Home model empowers children, young people, and their families within the care system, granting them more choice and control, with a deep respect for strong families and cultural connections. 'Our Way Home' strives for radically personalised 'shared care' relationships between carers and families”.
The innovative model fosters connections between foster carers and children's families of origin, promoting shared caregiving and reconnection opportunities. It introduces innovative staff roles that act as bridges in complex relationships, aided by creative tools and practice guides that promote a mindset shift, recognising families as equal partners. Every child's journey is personalised to their unique circumstances and needs, engineered toward restoration in the most suitable way.
'Our Way Home' has already been successfully implemented at Parkerville Children and Youth Care, with plans for widespread scaling and open-sourcing to benefit others.
Some key features of this model include the roles of Family Link Workers and Aboriginal Practice and Culture Leads, which are integral in supporting the reconnection and healing of family relationships. Innovative practices like 'Bridge Spaces' are employed to facilitate the management of interpersonal dynamics, while creative tools are provided for the benefit of both children and families. The model further offers practice guides and instructional videos to promote a shift in mindset and introduce new leadership and support structures.
Ms Keren Caple, CEO at Innovation Unit explains “Evaluation results are promising, showing that children in care now enjoy increased contact with significant individuals in their lives, even in cases with little to no previous contact or situations where contact was at risk of being lost”.
She continues “families are experiencing positive transformations, and the personalised care and family contact are leading to behaviors and actions from children that signify positive long-term outcomes. Additionally, there is evidence of progress in mitigating the root causes of prolonged child protection involvement, including intergenerational issues”.
The 2023 Good Design Awards featured exceptional projects from around the world, evaluated by a panel of over 70 Australian and international Jurors, including designers, engineers, architects, and thought leaders. With rigorous criteria focusing on Good Design, Design Innovation, and Design Impact, 'Our Way Home - Care that Keeps Family Together' emerged as a shining example of design excellence.
These awards are the highest recognition for design and innovation in Australia, honouring a diverse array of projects across various categories. Each year, the awards spotlight outstanding products and services, architectural design, engineering, fashion, digital and communication design, and emerging areas such as design strategy, social impact design, design research, and young design talent.
Parkerville Children and Youth Care and Innovation Unit ANZ are immensely proud of this achievement and remain committed to creating a brighter future for children and families in the care system through innovative and impactful design. We look forward to sharing the 'Our Way Home' model with the world and continuing to make a positive difference in the lives of those we serve.
For more information about Our Way Home, visit parkerville.org.au/what-we-do/out-of-home-care/our-way-home.
Parkerville Children and Youth Care works alongside vulnerable children, young people and their families with specialist advocacy, therapeutic services, youth homelessness accommodation and supports, education and employment training, early intervention and prevention services, and out of home care.