Stay informed with the latest updates on coronavirus (COVID-19). Find out more >>
CCCH art

Engaging families: Building and sustaining helpful relationships with parents

  • Online courses

    Engaging Families: Building and sustaining helpful relationships

    Date: 8 & 15 September 2022
    4.00pm – 5.30pm

    Delivery: Online via Zoom (2 x  1.5 hour sessions held over 2 consecutive weeks)

    Cost: $197 incl GST

    Registration: Click here to register

    For enquiries on a running a workshop for your organisation please email

    Strong relationships with families help to promote positive parent-child relationships and early learning environments and experiences for children.  This series of on-line seminars (2 x 90 minutes) is designed to equip professionals with the confidence and tools necessary engage with parents who may have find services difficult to access. 

    What does Engaging Families involve? 

    Through this series of workshops  participants will: 

    • explore the concept of parent engagement from the perspective of families who find it difficult to access early years services 

    • Understand the barriers and enablers of parent/practitioner engagement 

    • Be equipped with strategies and approaches to enhance engagement between families and early years services. 

    About the facilitators

    Donna Anderson

    Donna has an extensive background in early childhood and holds a Diploma in Children’s Services and a Diploma of Business (Community Services and Health Management). Her diverse experiences working as a practitioner, in management roles, and teaching of Child Studies has equipped Donna with a unique understanding of child, family and professional needs within early childhood.

    Donna facilitates multiple training programs such as Let’s Read, Group Facilitation, Having difficult conversations, Reflective Practice with CCCH. She has been practicing as a Family Partnership Training facilitator since 2005 and is an accredited Family Partnership Model trainer and supervisor.

    Deb Sestak

    Deb Sestak is an experienced facilitator with a keen interest in community partnerships. Her training portfolio at the CCCH includes The Family Partnership Model (FPM), Family-Centred Practice, Reflective Practice, Platforms, Improvement Approach and Linking Schools and Early Years. With the training and development team, Deb delivers customised training and consultancy for a diverse range of community partnerships and organisations.

    Since 2013 Deb has facilitated learning and development workshops for CCCH in the FPM foundation and facilitation courses and workshops that sit under the umbrella of the FPM: Facilitating a process for genuine engagement, Engaging families, Difficult Conversations and Group facilitation.

    Nathalie Martinek

    Nathalie Martinek is a project officer working on facilitation and training in the Centre for Community Child Health Training and Development team since 2015.

    Originally from Montreal, Canada, Nathalie completed her undergraduate and her PhD in developmental biology at the University of Toronto. After moving to Melbourne with her husband, in 2005, she spent several years as a Postdoctoral researcher at the Peter Mac before moving into projects with a public health and community focus at CCCH.  This shift in focus lead her to develop programs and aids that support medical and allied health professionals in their own lifelong learning and behavioural health alongside her work at CCCH in group facilitation and partnership-centred practice.

    Nathalie is interested in the power of partnerships as agents of cultural and practice change in healthcare settings that promote the fulfillment and wellbeing of all health professionals and the communities they serve.

    Face-to-face course

    Hearing the truth about why families choose to avoid  our services might be a bit uncomfortable, but it could provide helpful information about what we need to change.

    Even when we are inspired to make changes to ensure that our service is as engaging as can be, it can be tough to know where to start. How might a local service model look if it were truly shaped and influenced by the families it is intended for?

    How can we enter into a genuine partnership with families to redevelop what we do and how we do it?

    This one day workshop explores the concept of parent engagement from the perspective of families who are service resistant. The workshop helps practitioners to engage, identify and employ strategies that promote and support parent engagement within and across services.

    Learning objectives

    To increase participants’ understanding of:

    • engagement as a term that lacks uniform definition;
    • ‘engagement’ as a culture of practice;
    • worker and service characteristics that support parent engagement; and
    • strategies to promote engagement within and across services

    Course outcome: Participants are able to identify and employ strategies to promote and support parent engagement within and across services.

    Cost: $320

    Duration: 1 day

    For enquiries email


Murdoch Childrens Research Institute

The Centre for Community Child Health is a department of The Royal Children’s Hospital and a research group of Murdoch Childrens Research Institute.