Practice based best evidence: What evidence base counts when evaluating good practice in program delivery?

Practice based best evidence: What evidence base counts when evaluating good practice in program delivery?

Tuesday, April 28, 2015 - 11:00

John Guenther, Mal Galbraith, Phillip Dhamarrandji and Bonnie Moss

This webinar reflected on the experiences of the FAST program in the NT and explored what counts as good practice in Indigenous community programs.

Watch the webinar presentation on YouTube.

Webinar resources

Webinar description

A lot of attention has been given at policy and program implementation levels to service provision that uses "evidence-based best practice". There are problems with this.

Firstly, there can only be one "best" practice, so what room is there for other "good practices"? Secondly, who determines which evidence base counts? Thirdly, if practice is to be built on an evidence base, what room does that leave for experimentation or new evidence?

This webinar will explore the evaluation and program development journey for the Families and Schools Together (FAST) program in the Northern Territory, which has spanned over 10 years. First developed in the US in the 1990s, the family strengthening model used by the FAST program has a strong evidence base. It changes the way families keep kids safe and involved in learning and life.

For the program manager, an evidence base is important for several reasons: demonstrating "good practice" to funders; ensuring and improving program quality; and supporting program sustainability. But what is measured as evidence of good practice may not reflect the participants' perceptions of good practice. How do program participants perceive good practice—particularly those from remote communities?

The presenters talked about the learnings gained from program delivery, evaluation and monitoring, and the implications that follow for funders, academics, program staff and communities.

About the presenters

John Guenther

John Guenther is Principal Research Leader, Remote Education, at Flinders University and the Cooperative Research Centre for Remote Economic Participation. John has worked as a researcher and evaluator in the Northern Territory for 12 years and has experience in fields of research including education, training, family services and justice.

Mal Galbraith

Mal Galbraith is the Manager for Families and Schools Together (FAST) NT program, in Marrara, Northern Territory.

Phillip Dhamarrandji

Phillip grew up on Elcho Island and currently lives in the North East Arnhem Land community of Ramingining, approximately 450 km east of Darwin. Phillip has been working with FAST NT for the past three years in his capacity of program trainer across NE Arnhem Land, as well as providing a cultural and learning bridge for non-indigenous FAST staff. Phillip has a role within the Djambarrpuyngu clan as mala leader for the Dhamarrandji people where he has responsibility for passing on knowledge. Phillip is most passionate about sharing and teaching raypirri (respect & discipline) with young people and families in Arnhem Land.

Bonnie Moss

Bonnie Moss is a Research Manager with the Centre for Child Development and Education, Menzies School of Health Research in Darwin, where she undertakes research on early childhood wellbeing programs in the Northern Territory.