Aboriginal In-home Support Service
The Aboriginal In-home Support Service was a pilot project initiated by the WA Department of Communities. The pilot focused on delivering an early intervention approach to improve outcomes for Aboriginal families at risk of entering the child protection system.
In 2020 the Department commissioned an independent outcome evaluation to assess the quality and success of the pilot for Aboriginal families. The evaluation was conducted in partnership with Professor Victoria Hovane, an Aboriginal woman from Broome belonging to the Ngarluma, Jaru and Gooniyandi peoples and the senior research advisor on the project.
The Department of Communities wanted a summative evaluation of the Aboriginal In-home Support Service (AISS).
As AISS had been operating for over two years, the Department was seeking to assess the quality and success of implementation, delivery and ongoing management of the program in order to inform future design, development, investment, and implementation decisions.
The role we played
Working with the Department of Communities, SVA Consulting:
- Developed an evaluation plan for the summative evaluation building on the efforts of previous evaluators – this included revising the theory of change, ensuring outcomes and indicators were appropriate to answer evaluation questions, and clarifying appropriate data sources.
- Facilitated a focus group with different stakeholders including Department staff (operational and leadership), Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisation (ACCO) staff and families
- Undertook quantitative and qualitative data analysis of multiple different sources including from the Department, ACCO and the Department of Education Importantly, analysis was used to identify progress towards outcomes against baseline data.
- Conducted high level return on investment analysis to understand government savings generated by AISS as compared to comparison groups.
- Synthesised analysis to generate a summative evaluation report with key findings and recommendations.
“The evaluation successfully identified areas of great success, which will inform the services we look to deliver alongside the community services sector in the future. It has also enabled us to examine existing processes, documents, and training opportunities to, among other things, develop a more structured and inclusive approach to reunification between Communities staff and contracted service providers and continually improve on delivering positive outcomes for Western Australians. The evaluation process itself was transparent and conducted throughout in a culturally sensitive way. The analysis in the final report was comprehensive and inclusive, ensuring the recommendations were insightful and practical.”
Chair of the EIFSS Steering Committee and Director Services and Operational Improvement
Department of Communities WA
The Department has an in depth understanding of the quality and success of the design, implementation, delivery and ongoing management of the program. The recommendations and key findings in the report will inform future design, development, investment and implementation decisions to improve how AISS is delivered in the program. Ultimately, the project has supported the Department in improving AISS to create better outcomes for Aboriginal families.