4J Relationship breakdown and re-partnering


Bec Kennedy,
Uniting Communities
Thursday November 22 2018

Time: 4:20pm – 4:50pm

Room: Bluewater 2

4J Relationship breakdown and re-partnering

Participatory Action Research: A way to ensure no one is left behind.


In an ever changing environment, it is vital that today’s services are deeply engaged in the experiences of their clients. Participatory action research (PAR) seeks to understand and improve the world by changing it. At its heart is collective, self-reflective inquiry that researchers and participants undertake, so they can understand and improve upon the practices in which they participate and the situations in which they find themselves. The intention is that the participant is an equal partner with the researcher.

Therapeutic Youth Services (TYS), a service initiative of Uniting Communities provides services to young people that are homeless or at risk of homelessness and their families. TYS provides three distinct services: Ruby’s Reunification Program; Family counselling; and Sexual Assault counselling. In order to ensure these services meet client needs and determines areas for improvement and/or gaps in service provision TYS conduct regular participatory action research.

TYS engages in PAR as a key way to guide its continuous improvement cycle and have found that the combination of research with clients (seeking information to make decisions and evaluate change) coupled with action (improving the situation, process and practice) allow for better outcomes for clients. The participatory nature of PAR refers to the active involvement of clients, practitioners and co-members and uses collective, self-reflective inquiry. This engagement has allowed TYS clients and stakeholders to drive what the service looks and feels like. This process has allowed TYS to transform based on the changing environment in which it operates and gives value and power to the clients who access the service itself. PAR ensures no one is left behind, because it seeks to truly understand and appreciate the experiences of its service-users. This presentation will look to showcase the varying mechanisms TYS uses for engaging in PAR with clients, as well as some of the results form PAR itself, both in terms of information sought and action taken.


Bec Kennedy presents as the Service Manager for Therapeutic Youth Services, a service of Uniting Communities in South Australia.

Bec brings with her a history of working within the homelessness and alternative care sector.