Deakin Family and Child Study Centre

Science with impact

The Deakin Family and Child Study Centre (DFCSC) is a multidisciplinary research centre that focusses on improving our understanding of children, adolescents and families impacted by poor mental health and informing the ways in which clinicians and services can best meet their needs.

Our goal

Our goal is to alleviate distress and enhance the lives of children, adolescents and families impacted by poor mental health by engaging in high-quality research and translating science into practical outcomes.

Our focus

We focus on improving outcomes for children, adolescents and their families. We are interested in understanding the experiences of parents and carers and their children to determine how best to support mental health within families, particularly in those who experience adversity. While doing so, we maintain a focus on those with additional needs including young people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and youth residing in out of home care.

Collaboration in practice

The Deakin Family and Child Study Centre strives to reach the one in five children, adolescents and parents impacted by poor mental health, developing practical and sustainable evidence-based strategies to meet their clinical needs. Collaboration is central to our work and is supported by our in-house Youth Advisory Group. We include all children and families, creating programs that are culturally sensitive and inclusive.

The DFCSC supports the Deakin impact theme – Improving Health and Wellbeing – and is aligned with the strategic research SEED Lifespan, within the Deakin School of Psychology.

Key staff

The DFCSC is co-led by Associate Professor Jade Sheen and Associate Professor Glenn Melvin. Glenn’s research interests include anxiety, school refusal, depression and suicide prevention. Jade’s research interests include mental illness in childhood and adolescence, parenting and mental illness, and stress and wellbeing amongst health professionals and their families.

Our research

Established in 2013, DFCSC has rapidly grown with funding from national and international research bodies and not-for-profit organisations. We translate research findings into training and technological innovations connecting individuals, families and professionals to work together with a common goal: ensuring every young person experiencing a mental health difficulty has the best possible opportunity to reach their full potential.

Key projects

We combine research, clinical expertise and technology with like-minded partners and peak bodies to create evidence-based, accessible and innovative resources. We're working together on the following key projects:

  • Co-designing a family and school intervention to address school refusal in families with neurodiversity.
  • Investigating the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on frontline workers and their families.
  • Developing a family domains intervention to support families and young people struggling with emotional dysregulation and self-harm.
  • Understanding contemporary school and family attitudes towards school attendance.
  • Development and evaluation of a program to support suicidal adolescents and their families following a visit to the emergency department.
  • Improving the lives of young people in out of home care.

Contact us

Email the Deakin Family and Child Study Centre for more information on our projects and for any general enquiries.

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