Our Way Home

Sharing Parkerville's work towards Radically Personalised Shared Care.

Designing a new model for Out of Home Care

What we set out to do

In the broader context of the Western Australian Government’s commitment to reform the out of home care system, Parkerville Children and Youth Care has committed to developing an innovative model of care built on the experiences and voices of children.

We know that the out of home care system as it stands can do better — and we also know that we don’t have all the answers about how to move forward. On this page, you’ll hear the story of how we engaged with a wide range of people working in and affected by out of home care to develop a new approach that we believe can achieve better outcomes for the children we care so much about.

Our engagement and co-design process

In November 2019, Parkerville invited social design consultancy Innovation Unit to help develop this new approach to out of home care. The plan was to work in partnership with Innovation Unit to support Parkerville staff, not through doing the design for Parkerville, but through working together to build the design skills of Parkerville staff through the design journey.

The co-design process that followed took place over the course of nine months and engaged over 200 stakeholders to deeply understand what’s needed in the out of home care sector. Stakeholders included people with lived experience in care, families, carers, other service providers, academics and experts, and Aboriginal elders and communities, including local survivors of the Stolen Generation.

Hearing this diverse array of voices was vital for understanding what was working and what wasn’t in out of home care, so Parkerville could begin to build a better way to move forward.

What we learned:

The discovery process that took place as part of our co-design work generated a lot of learning for Parkerville. A few of the most important insights were these:

Designing a new model of care

With the help of Innovation Unit and the input of their staff and a diverse set of stakeholders, Parkerville took these insights and used them shape the development of a new model of care.

This new model is ‘radically personalised’ in that it empowers the Parkerville team to focus on the needs and desires of each individual child. The model focuses on ‘shared care’ in that it deliberately seeks to establish, maintain and deepen connections between children and their families. And the model has cultural safety for Aboriginal children at its heart.

This new model of care is called ‘Our Way Home’, and we invite you to explore it below.

Exploring ‘Our Way Home’

To learn about the vision and values guiding the model, see our page on 'The principles, components and roles that make up ‘Our Way Home’.

To learn how this model plays out across a child’s experience in care, see our page on ‘The ‘Our Way Home’ blueprint’.

Prototyping and testing

In 2021, with support from Innovation Unit, Parkerville established a design team to begin prototyping and testing the Our Way Home model in the real world.

This team consisted of the Practice Lead and Learning Lead from Parkerville, two dedicated roles that are shaping and guiding this work to keep it consistent with best practice and the learnings Parkerville gathers from this and other work. They were supported by a team including academic experts, one of Parkerville’s Aboriginal Practice Leads, young people with lived experience, a representative from the Department of Communities, and two Family Link Workers hired by Parkerville to begin implementing this critical component of the new model.

Across a series of design sprints, this team investigated some of the most important aspects of the Our Way Home model, and created prototypes to help make those aspects tangible and actionable. The design team also engaged with the Department of Communities and the rest of the out of home care sector, and worked with reference groups representing young people, families, and elders, to ensure that a diverse array of voices continued to inform the development of the model.

What’s next?

In 2022, the Our Way Home model is moving from prototyping to implementation. Working across our passionate, resilient, and caring Parkerville team, we’re starting to embed this new way of approaching out of home care across the organisation.

We still have a long way to go and a lot to learn, but we know we’re on the right track, and we’re already starting to see the impacts that this model can have. We care deeply about the children we work with, and Our Way Home is the best way we can set them up to thrive both now and in the future.


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The work of Parkerville Children and Youth Care and Innovation Unit on the Our Way Home project has been generously funded by the Western Australian community through a Lotterywest grant.