The principles, components and roles that make up ‘Our Way Home’

On this page, you’ll learn more about the four driving principles at the heart of the Our Way Home model, and explore four of the key components that we think make this model an evolution of existing practice. This page also outlines the key players in the Our Way Home model and their roles, with a focus on what might be different from business as usual.

A new model of Out of Home Care

Our Way Home is what we call a ‘model of care’: it captures the way that Parkerville will approach out of home care moving forward. It includes both the specific and practical things we’ll do inside and outside the home, and the high-level vision and values that inform our approach.

The Driving Principles

Achieving great outcomes for Children and Young People requires us to embed these principles from strategy through to ground level practice.

Radically personalised: The experience for each child is driven by their personal needs and preferences with a view to the time they are no longer in care. We are flexible enough to change ourselves to deliver choice and control.

Connected by default:
We cannot support children if we do not also support families and communities — Out of Home Care is shared care, and Parkerville plays an active role in facilitating safe family restoration.

Embedded culture:
Respect for and connection to Aboriginal Culture is central to our work and is given equal weighting to clinical practice.

Heart first, then head and hands:
Radically personalised shared care cannot be achieved without a strong, skilled workforce with aligned values, and responsive systems to support them.

The Key Components

This model includes four key components that enable a radically personalised share care experience for children and young people.

1. Personalised Supports: The people involved in providing OHC are able to adapt methods, plans and environments to meet the needs of individual children and young people.

2. Connection Planning: Each child has a plan for the way that they connect with the important family or community members who are in their life, or who could be.

3. Family Link Worker: A new role, designed to do the creative work necessary to enable deep connection of Children with Family, whilst mitigating risk. The role responsible for facilitating connection with family and children, but also with staff.

4. The Mundahring Baldja: A centre for focusing on the people doing the work from recruitment through to their successful practice. The driver for the new and traditional capabilities necessary for the realisation of Radically Personalised Shared Care. This component of the model has not yet been funded, but developing a workforce with the skills and mindsets necessary to deliver this model of care is critical. Who’s involved, and how?

Below is a summary of the key players in this model and their roles, including those who might be new and unfamiliar (the Family Link Worker) as well as more familiar characters in the story of Out of Home Care.

Aligned with the driving principles and key components outlined above, this model offers a more prominent and autonomous role to children and their families, as well as evolving the roles of carers and others to enable them to best support radically personalised shared care.

Children and young people: In this radically personalised model, there is a deliberate focus on giving children and young people more voice and choice to shape their own experience, both in care and afterwards. Moments in the Our Way Home blueprint such as Co-creating Home and Building ‘My Plan’ offer opportunities to make this voice and choice real in practical ways.

Family and community: This model is built around the recognition that the most successful out of home care is shared care, and that family and community have important roles to play. Establishing safe and appropriate connections with family and community that are aligned with the needs and desires of the young person is a default setting in this model, and as relationships and trust are established, family can contribute to assessing risks and making plans for creative and safe connection.

Carers: This model supports and resources carers to prioritise the personalised care and creative connection work that many of them are already successfully engaged in. Carers are encouraged to understand the needs and desires of the children in their care, to give children voice and choice in the home, and to participate in making connections with family that are safe and meaningful.

The Family Link Worker: The Family Link Worker is a new role designed to do the creative work necessary to enable deep connection of children with family and community, whilst mitigating risk. The Family Link Worker facilitates the connections between children, family, and carers that make a shared care model possible, working closely with Aboriginal Practice Leads when it comes to Aboriginal children and families.

Aboriginal Practice Leads: The role of Aboriginal Practice Leads is already extremely valuable for ensuring culturally safe practice in care settings, and in this model, their role expands to include the vital work of finding and maintaining connections to family, community and culture for Aboriginal young people in care. In collaboration with the Family Link Worker, the Aboriginal Practice Lead is key to connecting family with children and carers to enable successful shared care.

Team Leads: The Team Lead role remains focused on coordinating care teams and case management, with an increased focus on facilitating creative and safe connection between children, family, and carers. Team Leads are ultimately responsible for managing any risk and conflict that might arise in the course of that connection work while remaining firmly committed to the driving principle of ‘connected by default’.

The Department: The Department of Communities are ultimately responsible for the safety of children in care, and will continue to play an important role in risk assessment and mitigation. The Our Way Home model, however, invites them further into the process of connecting children with their families in creatively safe ways — and so far, we’ve found that they have welcomed the invitation to be part of this crucial work.

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

To learn more about how this model was co-designed with the input of people with lived experience, families, carers and other experts, see our page about ‘Designing a New Model for Out of Home Care’