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FedUni and CAFS host candidature event

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Carina O’Neill, Kim Cooper and Rachel Goff, just prior to the Confirmation of Candidature.

FEDERATION University Australia and industry partners held a Confirmation of Candidature event at the CAFS Legacy and Research Centre on Thursday 1 June. The event is part of the Central Highlands Children and Youth Area Partnership (CHCYAP) Research Collaboration. Industry partners (CAFS, Berry Street, State Government of Victoria, Central Highlands Family Violence Committee and Central Highlands Family Services Alliance) along with Federation University Australia have funded seven Masters and PhD scholarships. The students are undertaking research projects in the priority areas of family violence, supporting parenting and increasing attendance and engagement at kinder and school.

Two of the students presented their confirmation of candidature. The confirmation of candidature is the process in which a PhD student presents a research proposal to a panel of academic and industry experts. The panel assesses the student’s research proposal, and makes recommendations about its quality, relevance and feasibility. Representatives from Federation University Australia, the Department of Health and Human Services, the University of Melbourne, the Bouverie Centre (La Trobe University), CAFS, and the Central Highlands Family Services Alliance were on the panels.

Rachel Goff presented her proposal for the project ‘It takes a village to raise a family: A place-based response to support families under pressure’. Kim Cooper also presented her proposal about ‘Supporting children and young people in Out-ofHome Care: A study of the perspectives of foster and kinship carers’. Carina O’Neill, who is undertaking her Masters by Research, will present an update on her research project ‘Towards an understanding of user journeys: How families navigate through early childhood services in a rural Victorian city’.

“Children and Youth Area Partnerships allow a range of government departments; community organisations and health services; police; education and training providers; businesses; service users and the broader community to work together to reduce child and youth vulnerability,” the University’s Dr Christina Sadowski, Research Coordinator, said. “Key stakeholders in the Central Highlands and Inner Gippsland Area Partnerships have joined with Federation University Australia to develop Research Collaborations with a total of eleven funded PhD scholarships. We are using principles of collective impact to work together to address complex social problems and aim for social change. “This is an exciting day for the Research Collaboration. These students have been working extremely hard, with the support of academic and industry supervisors, to develop projects which will make a difference to the Central Highlands,” Dr Sadowski said.

“The engagement of industry partners and CHCYAP stakeholders means that the projects focus on issues of importance to our community. We are confident that the findings will contribute to practice and policy within and beyond the Central Highlands region.