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FACS and the HSOF

The Human Services Outcomes Framework is central to the TEI reform and the NSW Governments’ approach to program design, delivery and evaluation but did you know it was originally developed by FACS? We spoke to Samantha Adams, from the research arm of FACS, who explained the background.

Samantha  from FACS research, analysis and insights (FACSIAR) told us about the thinking and work behind the framework and why it’s so crucial to the reforms.

Back in 2015 the framework was developed to focus on client outcomes and for people to consolidate their thinking at the beginning of projects. FACSIAR saw that client wellbeing relies on a number of cross-agency factors and so they came up with the seven domains – education and skills, economic, health, home, safety, empowerment and social and community. The idea was then taken up by the Social Innovation Council. “That was great,” says Samantha, “because now everyone talks about it and uses it.”

Of course, coming up with the application of the framework to early intervention wasn’t a simple process. A team comprised of Commissioning and FACSIAR spent six months reviewing national and international literature. They had the comprehensive ARACY report Better Systems, Better Chances as a basis. They looked at risk and protective factors along with associated outcomes and from there they created evidence-based pathways.

What they found Samantha says, is no surprise to anyone working in the space, “The evidence is telling us the earlier you get in, obviously you’re going to minimise the negative outcomes or experience that kids would have that would potentially lead to negative outcomes.”

One of the tools developed as part of the outcomes framework is the TEI program logic. FACSIAR and the TEI reform team collaborated on it. The tool is deceptively simple – “but it took us a long time to get there,” says Samantha.  I think it’s a fantastic tool because it allows us to logically understand who we’re trying to help, how we’re gong to help them and why we’re going to do specific activities.” What’s great about it says Samantha is that “it’s a living document” designed to be tailored and modified.

The whole idea of the reforms is to change life trajectories. “We can support children to stay in school but the long term impact is that we then want to see that they can go onto further education.” While it’s going to take a long time to see those sort of results, Samantha says in terms of just measuring what our services are delivering, “We should be able to see them in a couple of years.” It’s the very start of achieving lasting change.

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Last updated: 19 Dec 2018