Our projects

Korean graphic designer sharing ideas during meeting in modern office studio

Links to the latest research reports authored by Social Policy Research Centre staff can also be found under Latest reports.

You can also find copies of our reports in UNSWorks, the UNSW Open Access institutional repository. 

1800RESPECT evaluation 

Researchers from SPRC and the Gendered Violence Research Network at UNSW Sydney are undertaking an evaluation of 1800RESPECT, the national online and telephone counselling service for people affected by domestic and family violence and sexual assault.

Accommodating the NDIS: maximising housing choice in a reformed disability sector 

The aim of the study was to assess the potential for expansion of shared ownership in Australia, and the particular models that would be most appropriate and beneficial for people with disability.

Accountability and user participation in Chinese child welfare non-government organisations

Millions of children now rely on support from Chinese child welfare nongovernment organisations. The government is reforming NGO policy in response to public demands about service quality, but it lacks relevant research.

Adoption from out-of-home care

This project is a retrospective study examining adoption for children from OOHC in NSW. It will examine the experiences and outcomes of young people who have been adopted from OOHC, and the experiences of birth parents during the OOHC adoption process.

Advance statements in mental health care 

This project aims to ensure that people who live in the NBMLHD and who experience mental illness and mental distress have the opportunity to develop their own Advance Statement, which is a tool to support personal control and decision-making during times of mental health crisis.

Arthritis and disability

The project examined the lived experience of people with arthritis and the disability impact of arthritis on their quality of life. It aimed to identify the potential effects of the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

Assertive Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) Evaluation

This evaluation ran for 2.5 years from June 2012 and primarily focused on the implementation of Assertive CAMHS and identified the barriers and facilitating factors to effective implementation of the program.

Attendant care direct funding pilot project evaluation

The evaluation compared three Attendant Care Program funding options, which differ in who employs the attendant carers, who receives the funding from the government and who is responsible for management and reporting.

Australia's charitable sector

The Social Policy Research Centre worked with the Centre for Social Impact (UNSW) to analyse data collected by the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC).

Australian Chinese disability peer support in Sydney

This pilot project focuses on Australian Chinese peer support groups as an entry point to future research which will include diverse cultural groups.

Australian Community Sector Survey 2019

This project profiles Australia’s community sector, highlighting the sector’s characteristics and strengths as it works to address poverty and disadvantage in a challenging environment.

Australian Framework for Financial Wellbeing

Money matters. It can determine, how we live, how stressed we feel and what options are available to us, now and in the future. The ability to manage money and cope with unexpected financial shocks is important for individuals, households and the economy.

Baseline study of current and future availability of ex-service organisation advocacy services

Advocacy services – including wellbeing advocates and compensation advocates – were established by ex-service organisations (ESOs) to support ex-serving members of the Australian Defence Force and their families to navigate the claims processes under different compensation regimes. 

Best practice guide for Disability Support Providers (DSPs) employing support workers within NDIS

Led by the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, the project produced practical best practice guidelines and examples for recruitment, support, training and retention to optimise outcomes for people with disability.

Better Places Stronger Communities Project Evaluation

The South Australian government is transferring the management of public housing dwellings to the community housing sector, under the Better Places, Stronger Communities (BPSC) project.


One of the ways that the Drug Policy Modelling Program contributes to improved Australian drug policy is through providing access to research evidence, particularly grey literature which has not been published commercially and may not be available through conventional channels of distribution.  

Budget Standards: A new healthy living minimum income standard for low-paid and unemployed Australians

This project builds on previous Australian and recent international research to develop a set of budget standards for low-paid and unemployed Australians and their families.

Building China's Welfare State – Government Purchased Services for Children

The Chinese government has begun to purchase child welfare services to address vast unmet need.

Cannabis experiences in the ACT

The study aims to explore the experiences of people who use and grow cannabis in the ACT since the Drugs of Dependence (Personal Cannabis Use) Amendment Bill 2018 came into effect on 31 January 2020.

Carers and Social Inclusion: New Frameworks, Evidence and Policy Lessons

Concepts of social inclusion mainly focus on participation in public sphere activities, often overlooking the constraints of the private sphere, such as informal care.

Community Justice Program: process evaluation

This project contributes to the evaluation of the Community Justice Program (CJP) conducted by NSW Treasury. The CJP has been operating since 2007 and provides accommodation and other support services for those offenders released from prison who have an intellectual disability.

Community Living Supports (CLS) and the Housing and Accommodation Support Initiative (HASI) Evaluation

This project will evaluate two key mental health programs funded by the NSW Ministry of Health: the Housing and Accommodation Support Initiative (HASI) and Community Living Supports (CLS).

Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: Shining a Light on Social Transformation

People with Disability Australia (PWDA) and the Enable In team commissioned the Social Policy Research Centre to undertake an action research project together.

Culturally responsive disability support with Chinese clients in Sydney

The action research project is about how disability support organisations provide culturally responsive supports to enhance the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) experience of Australian Chinese people with disability, their families, and communities in Sydney.

Deprivation and Exclusion among Young People (DEYP)

This project aims to better understand the different ways that young people experience poverty and other forms of social disadvantage.

Designing illicit drug policy solutions: the role of participation

The overarching goal of this project is to test whether participatory processes that engage with values, community goals and diverse stakeholders can enhance the design of drug policy solutions.

Disability Employment and Digital Economies

This collaborative research analyses the opportunities of social economy and digital technologies for facilitating social participation of people with disabilities in Australia and China. It examines networked strategies to address issues of social inclusion and exclusion.

Disability Employment and the Fourth Industrial Revolution

This project is a comparative analysis of labour market exclusion of people with disability in Australia and China.

Drug and Alcohol Services Planning Model (DASPM)

A number of jurisdictions and peak bodies have worked with DPMP to update and adapt the Drug and Alcohol Service Planning Model (DASPM) to provide more contemporary planning figures and contribute to better distribution of treatment resources  and improved access for those who seek alcohol or other drug treatment.

Early Childhood Intervention Review

Early Childhood Intervention Australia NSW/ACT has commissioned the Social Policy Research Centre to conduct research into the delivery of early childhood intervention (ECI) services in the context of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) roll out in NSW.

Early Review of Specialist Homelessness Services Program

This research investigated the reform to the NSW Specialist Homelessness Services (SHS) Program. The NSW Department of Family and Community Services commissioned AHURI and SPRC to conduct an Early Review of the reform, known as Going Home Staying Home (GHSH).

Employment Arrangements in Social and Community Services (SACS) receiving Commonwealth direct funding


Employment Model Outcomes for People with Intellectual Disability

The Social Policy Research Centre was commissioned to examine the experiences people with intellectual disability have with different employment models.

Enable In action research

People with Disability Australia (PWDA) and the Enable In team commissioned the Social Policy Research Centre to undertake an action research project together.

Engagement in early childhood education in the context of disadvantage

Families today face insecure labour markets and multiple challenges in accessing early childhood education and care for their children. This project will shed light on what is required in everyday life for families most challenged by these conditions and develop understandings of how to deliver early childhood education and care services accordingly.

Equitable Access to High Quality Early Childhood Education

This research will investigate high quality Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) services for children in disadvantaged communities and translate these findings into practice and policy that encourages families in these communities to use ECER services.

Evaluation of Home Detention in South Australia

In response to an increase in prisoner population, the South Australian government introduced legislation in February and September 2016 to expand the use of home detention, and funded the implementation of a support service for those subject to home detention.

Evaluation of New Income Management in the Northern Territory

This project evaluates New Income Management (NIM) in the Northern Territory. The four year evaluation (2011-2014) will focus on assessing the impact of NIM on families and communities in the Northern Territory.

Evaluation of outcomes for people nominated to the Integrated Services Program (ISP)

The evaluation examined longer term client outcomes achieved by the Integrated Services Program (ISP), which NSW ADHC administers in partnership with Housing NSW and NSW Ministry of Health.

Evaluation of the Camperdown Common Ground Project

The Camperdown Common Ground Project aims to provide permanent, affordable accommodation and support services to 52 chronically homeless people. The purpose of the evaluation was to assess the Project’s effectiveness in facilitating sustainable housing for this target group.

Evaluation of the Child Sexual Offence Evidence Pilot

The Child Sexual Offence Evidence Pilot (the Pilot) represents a key initiative by the NSW Government to strengthen the criminal justice response to child sexual abuse. 

Evaluation of the Development and Trialling of the InnoWell Platform

SPRC is evaluating the development and trialling of the InnoWell Platform, part of Project Synergy. 

Evaluation of the headspace Program Past project

SPRC and researchers from the Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (Curtin University ) and the Telethon Kids Institute (University of Western Australia) undertook the second evaluation of headspace, the National Youth Mental Health Foundation.

Evaluation of the Housing and Accommodation Support Initiative (HASI) Program

The Housing and Accommodation Support Initiative (HASI) program is designed to assist people with mental illness to access clinical mental health services linked to psychosocial rehabilitation and secure housing.

Evaluation of the Integrated Domestic and Family Violence Service Program

The NSW Integrated Domestic and Family Violence Service program (IDFVS) provides a multi-agency, integrated and coordinated response to domestic and family violence among high-risk target groups and in targeted communities.

Evaluation of the Intellectual Disability and Mental Health Hubs (IDMH Hubs)

An evaluation of the NSW Ministry of Health program ‘the Hubs’ by SPRC together with the Department of Developmental Disability Neuropsychiatry (3DN) at UNSW Sydney.

Evaluation of the Involuntary Drug and Alcohol Treatment Program

This project aims to evaluate the process, outcome and costs of the IDAT Program. The outcome evaluation aims to assess the impact of the IDAT program on a range of patient outcomes including drug and alcohol use and health service utilization, in comparison with a comparison group.

Experiences of families with children with disabilities in China

Family experiences of child disability in China have not been researched inside or outside China.

Families at the Centre: Negotiating Australia's mixed market in early education and care

Despite a surge of policy reforms and Australian government investment in early childhood education and care (ECEC), little is known in Australia about how local ECEC markets function and how low income families make decisions about the use or non-use of child care services.

Family day care services: co-ordination funding models

The Social Policy Research Centre worked with the NSW Family Day Care Association to develop strategies through which family day care services can sustain and build their co-ordination capacity, as they prepare for changes to operational funding

Homelessness amongst Australian veterans

The Australian Government Department of Veterans' Affairs commissioned the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) to examine the extent and nature of homelessness amongst Australian veterans. The research was conducted by a consortium of researchers and community representatives, led by the Social Policy Research Centre. 

Housing and Accommodation Support Initiative (HASI) Plus evaluation

This project is an evaluation of the Housing and Accommodation Support Initiative (HASI) Plus, a program run by NSW Health that provides recovery-oriented, high-intensity support to people with severe and persistent mental illness to transition from institutional care to community living.

IDMH NDIS Residual Functions Program evaluation

An evaluation to assess a three-year NSW Health program aiming to improve the capacity of mainstream mental health services to support people living with intellectual disability, comorbid mental illness and their families (the IDMH NDIS Program).

Implementation of the NDIS in the early childhood intervention sector in NSW

Early Childhood Intervention Australia NSW/ACT (ECIA) has commissioned research into the experiences of families and early childhood intervention (ECI) service providers in the transition to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in NSW.

Income management approaches: review of evidence

The project is a literature review which examines the evidence base for various forms of Income Management and its impact on different groups of people. The second aim is to examine other programs aimed at achieving similar outcomes to Income Management and to assess their evidence base.

Income management in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara lands

The Social Policy Research Centre examined the implementation and early impacts of the introduction of Voluntary Income Management in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands (APY Lands) in South Australia.

Insights into abuse of older people – analysis of Australian Bureau of Statistics datasets

This was a component of a project commissioned by the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department (AGD) and led by the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) to examine the potential for a national study on the extent of abuse of older people in Australia.

Integrated services project: Evaluation of cost and operational effectiveness

The Integrated Services Project (ISP) for Clients with Challenging Behaviour provides an interagency service response that delivers cost effective assessment, intervention and support to people 18 years and older who exhibit challenging behaviours.

Intensive home-based support services evaluation


Keeping women safe in their homes: Private rental initiative evaluation

This evaluation of the Private Rental Initiative (part of the Keeping Women Safe in their Homes initiatives) identified and analysed implementation learnings as well as changes or progress towards outcomes for those who participated in the initiative.

Keeping women safe in their homes: technology trial evaluation

This evaluation of the Keeping Women Safe in their Home technology trial investigated whether and how the technology-based initiative enabled people to stay safer at home, which people, and under what circumstances, and if it empowered them in other ways.

Making a difference: building on children's perspectives on economic adversity

Governments allocate a large volume of resources to address the needs of children.

Making complex interfaces work for the National Disability Insurance scheme

This project examines how organisations, frontline workers and participants work out funded supports across NDIS and mainstream services and systems interfaces by taking a street-level perspective.

Markets, migration & the work of care in Australia

Markets, Migration & the Work of Care in Australia is an Australian Research Council-funded project being conducted by a research team across four institutions: UNSW, RMIT, University of Sydney, and University of Toronto.

Maximising life choices of people with spinal cord injury

SPRC conducted research into the impact of spinal cord injury on people’s life experiences and identified gaps and barriers to achieving self fulfilment.

Meeting the social and emotional support needs of older people using aged care services

This project is concerned with what needs to change so that older people receive the care that they need and that the community expects.

Models of health service delivery for people with intellectual disability

This literature review examined current research and models of health service delivery for people with intellectual disability.

MRCA study design framework

This project is for the Australian Government Department of Veterans’ Affairs and Department of Defence.

My Choice Matters evaluation

SPRC evaluated the impact of the My Choice Matters program on behalf of the NSW Council for Intellectual Disability.

National survey of domestic violence and sexual assault workforces

The Social Policy Research Centre is working with the Gendered Violence Research Network at UNSW Sydney and Curtin University to design, conduct and analyse a national survey of the domestic violence and sexual assault workforces.

National treatment framework

The Australian Government Department of Health has engaged the Drug Policy Modelling Program at UNSW to develop a National Treatment Framework (NTF).

NDIS prices and the disability workforce

This research is concerned with prospects for quality services and decent jobs under Australia's National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

NDIS workforce 2020

This project provides information about the workforce delivering disability services and supports in the context of the NDIS in early 2020.

NSW homelessness action plan extended evaluation

The NSW Homelessness Action Plan 2009-2014 (the HAP) was designed to reform the state-wide homelessness service system to achieve better outcomes for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. A number of HAP projects were selected for extended evaluation.

OCHRE accord negotiation process

Aboriginal Affairs, NSW Department of Education, have contracted the Social Policy Research Centre to conduct an evaluation of the Accord negotiation process – part of OCHRE, the community-focused plan for Aboriginal affairs in NSW.

Opportunity, choice, healing, responsibility and empowerment (OCHRE) Initiatives evaluations

Aboriginal Affairs, NSW Department of Education, contracted the Social Policy Research Centre to conduct an evaluation of OCHRE, the community-focused plan for Aboriginal affairs in NSW. This involved case studies of eight projects operating as part of OCHRE.

Outcome evaluation of community participation grants

This is an outcomes evaluation of arts and sports projects for people with disability. The projects are funded by icare lifetime care, the NSW Government agency that provides support to people who were injured in a motor vehicle accident.

Pathways to preventive care for people with severe mental illness

The project focuses on people’s experiences and perspectives of what has helped or enabled them to establish and maintain a positive relationship with a GP. The findings will be used to explore how to work with GPs, consumers and mental health service facilitators through consultation in the next stage of the research project.

Peer support practice review

This project, led by researchers from the Australia and New Zealand School of Government, aims to build the organisational capacity of disability support organisations (DSOs) to provide peer support.

Policy framework for parenting

Parenting and providing support for parents has been identified as a priority issue for the Australian Government. Insight is required to the need or nature of a national policy framework specifically focussing on parenting to underpin, imbed and drive policy and practice.

Poverty and inequality in Australia

ACOSS (the Australian Council of Social Service) has partnered with UNSW Sydney to undertake a five year research and impact collaboration to sharpen the national focus on poverty and inequality in Australia. The partnership monitors trends in poverty and inequality over time, explores drivers, and develops solutions to sharpen the focus and stimulate action to tackle these policy challenges.

Poverty in Australia 2016

This project produced new estimates of poverty in Australia using the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data for 2013-14 and examined how poverty has changed since 2003-04.

Preventing alcohol related-harms: using comparative policy analysis to study the effects and development of local government alcohol policy

Regulating the availability of alcohol is a key way to reduce harm from alcohol consumption, and local governments have a significant role. This Fellowship provides the first systematic examination of the impact of local government regulation of alcohol availability.

Protecting sexually abused children in China

Child sexual abuse (CSA) is a worldwide public health problem. The aim of this project is to better understand how the Chinese state and civil society act to prevent, respond and provide support to the victims of CSA. Findings will underpin the development of a more effective system.

Review of the national disability strategy 2010-2020

The Department of Social Services commissioned the Social Policy Research Centre to conduct a review of the National Disability Strategy 2010-2020, Australia's overarching national framework for disability reform.

Road to employment evaluation

A team of researchers at the SPRC and Flinders University in Adelaide are undertaking an action research approach to evaluate the impact of the Road to Employment project on stakeholders and the lessons from the project for future similar projects.

Self managing NDIS packages: promising practice for people left behind

The project is preliminary research to explore the conditions and resources conducive to NDIS package self management in the interests of the person with disability.

Shared care parenting arrangements since the 2006 family law reforms

While rates of shared care of children among parents who do not live together have traditionally been low in Australia, recent evidence suggests that rates of shared care have been rising in recent years.

Skilled to thrive: safeguarding support action

Current changes in disability policy, such as the introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), entail a move away from substitute decision making for the person with disability to supported decision making by the person themselves, with appropriate safeguard supports to reduce the risk of harm.

Social support for Chinese families with children with disability

This project aims to understand the social support experiences of Chinese families with children with disability in Sydney, Beijing, New York City and Taipei.

Special Disability Trusts

Special Disability Trusts (SDTs) are one mechanism through which families can unlock equity and make it possible for their family members with a disability to acquire their own home.

Supported accommodation evaluation framework (SAEF)

The NSW Department of Family and Community Services, Ageing, Disability and Home Care commissioned SPRC to design an evaluation framework and collect initial data for the accommodation support and funding models under Stronger Together 2 (ST2), now known as Ready Together.

Supported decision making for people subject to positive behaviour support

Enabling Behaviour Support Practitioners to meet behaviour support practice standards and registration obligations

Supported decision making project (Phase 2)

The Supported Decision Making Phase 2 project (SDM2) aimed to improve financial decision making support for people with cognitive impairment, so that people can take a more active part in decisions about their lives.

The Horizons Project: An empirical analysis of alcohol and drug treatment funding, purchasing and workforce mechanisms

This project will provide an empirical foundation to guide decisions about how to fund and purchase alcohol and other drug (AOD) treatment services. It has the potential to directly benefit AOD treatment providers, AOD treatment clients and policymakers in a number of ways.

Throughcare evaluation

The Extended Throughcare Program aims to support the successful reintegration of offenders in the ACT returning to the community at the end of their custodial sentence.

Transition of respite to consumer directed care: costs, benefits and impacts 

This research examined the costs, benefits and impacts for participants, carers, communities and government of the transition to consumer directed care (CDC) markets for respite outputs and outcomes.

Two carer support policy: review of the need for two care workers in a community setting

The project investigated the requirement for two workers (rather than one) in a community-care setting.

Two carer support policy: review of the need for two care workers in a community setting

The project investigated the requirement for two workers (rather than one) in a community-care setting.

Urbanisation, migration, climate change and children in China

UNICEF China has commissioned the Social Policy Research Centre to produce a background paper that examines child rights in China in the context of migration, urbanisation and climate change.

Women’s economic security following domestic and family violence

This project is building new evidence about the economic dimensions of domestic and family violence, including women’s economic circumstances and financial needs following experience of violence, and the impact of income support, employment services, and financial support systems in building women’s economic security following violence.

Workforce issues in the NSW community services sector

This research aimed to develop a contemporary understanding of workforce models and issues in the NSW community services sector. Survey data was collected in February 2017 from leaders of 398 community service organisations operating in NSW.

Young carers: social policy implications

This project analysed three interconnected aspects of young carers’ life circumstances:

Young people and adversity: stories of resourcing and resourcefulness

Drawing on the life stories of disadvantaged young people, this project aims to provide new evidence on the way they understand, approach, and use formal and informal resources in the context of changing circumstances and biographical trajectories over time.

Young people with cognitive disability: Relationships and paid support

The introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme is a watershed in Australian disability policy.

Youth Advocate Program evaluation

The Youth Advocate Program (YAP) is a unique person-centred program, provided by Life Without Barriers (LWB), which aims to achieve successful transition to independent, supported living or to birth family for vulnerable and at-risk young people.

Youth exposure to and management of cyberbullying incidents in Australia

The Australian Government Department of Communications commissioned the UNSW Social Policy Research Centre, the University of South Australia, the University of Western Sydney, the Young and Well Cooperative Research Centre, and the National Children’s and Youth Law Centre to research youth expos

Youth unemployment in Australia

Research project exploring the high rate of youth unemployment in Australia (particularly in low socio-economic communities) and specifically looking at transition from school to work or further education.