Supporting children and young people through parent-focused interventions: Issues in implementing a data-guided, community-based program

Krystal Lockwood1,2

1School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Griffith University, Mount Gravatt, Australia
2Griffith Criminology Institute, Griffith University, Mount Gravatt, Australia

Young people with a parent in prison are more likely to face challenging circumstances which can vary from social, physical, and mental wellbeing. Generally, these adverse experiences compound for over-incarcerated minority groups, such as experienced by First Peoples in Australia. These adverse consequences of incarceration tend to be considered ‘collateral damage’. This perception contributes to the continual challenges and barriers faced when forming policy responses – challenges that are particularly pronounced within the framework of evidence-driven program delivery and data-guided responses.

In this paper, I present a case study that demonstrates the challenges faced at the insect of program delivery, evidence-informed practice, and parental incarceration. For my case study, I used a realist approach to evaluate Belonging to Family (BtF)- a small, community-based program administered by a non-governmental organisation in a prison in NSW. The primary aims of the organisation are to support young people and their families who are experiencing parental incarceration; BtF is one program they administer that works with First Peoples to support families during reintegration. For my evaluation, I used an ethnographic approach to evaluate BtF drawing on observations, interviews, and documents. In this presentation, I focus on the primary issues that emerged for the small, community-based, First Nations program that was delivered in a framework of evidence-informed practice. In particular I discuss how issues around program complexity, data collection, system level processes, and embedding First Peoples’ perspectives impacts the processes of evidence-informed practice and data-guided responses.


Krystal is a Gumbaynggirr and Dunghutti woman who grew up in Armidale, NSW. She is a Lecturer in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Griffith University. She has a particular interest in addressing the over-representation of First Peoples in the criminal justice system. Her research focuses on the way ‘evidence’ is used in the criminal justice system, particularly in the way evidence can impact, influence, or hinder steps to achieving social justice.


Dec 10 2021