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Emerging Minds Focus

‘Focus’ is an online change management tool developed by Emerging Minds to support organisations to build their trauma responsiveness.

Focus enables a whole-of-system view across the Funder, Organisation, Practitioner, and Child and Family. It supports organisations to understand their progress along their trauma responsive journey. Focus empowers quality improvement and allows organisations to monitor their progress over time.

Organisations can develop a Change Team consisting of:

  • organisational executives
  • service managers
  • practitioners
  • other staff.

More information

How we change to become more trauma responsive

How we change to become more trauma responsive

This diagram illustrates the process for implementing the Trauma Responsive System Framework.

Focus Process Diagram. There is a link to a plain text description on this page.

Focus process in plain text

Focus process for print (PDF 81.9 KB)

Change Team

The change process will be led by your organisation’s Change Team. This is a small group of staff with a commitment to trauma responsiveness and continuous improvement, endorsed by their organisation to support the process.

Each Change Team is has a project lead called a 'Facilitator', and is supported by a Trauma Responsive Champion.

Qualities of Change Team members

Passionate advocates within their local service for trauma responsive initiatives. They want to see systems that uphold kindness, honesty, and support all involved.

Keen to contribute their knowledge and experience to help shape and develop trauma-responsive practice.

Effective communicators, creative and trustworthy, establishing a safe environment where all members can speak honestly.

Ready to contribute shared learnings at the Trauma Responsive Champions Network, a DHS-facilitated network of organisational representatives that meets regularly to support a more trauma-responsive system.

Trauma Responsive Champion

A Trauma Responsive Champion is appointed by your organisation. Each Champion is connected to the Trauma Responsive Champions Network. DHS coordinates and supports regular meetings of the Champions Network.

Organisational Surveys

Focus uses results from two surveys to measure your organisation’s level of trauma responsiveness, to guide your organisation’s Action Plan and to capture your organisation’s process on the Trauma Responsive System Framework:

  • A survey sent to all relevant staff in your organisation
  • A survey completed by your Change Team.

Both surveys must be populated to analyse your results and progress to the next stage.

Developing an Action Plan

Focus supports the Change Team to develop a customised Trauma Responsive Action Plan guided by the survey responses. The Action Plan identifies areas of trauma responsiveness that are on track, and those requiring future development.

Focus will provide links to relevant resources to encourage deeper reflection amongst the Change Team to compliment their work.

Enacting ‘Our Healing Approach’ — Priority 2

Focus will support the Child and Family Support System (CFSS) in enacting the key initiatives from ‘Our Healing Approach’ – Priority 2:

Focus will support a whole-of-system approach as organisations engage with these initiatives. It will identify areas where actions from one initiative contribute to another.

Key resources for trauma responsiveness

Key resources for trauma responsiveness

Trauma Responsive System Framework

The Trauma Responsive System Framework is a foundational document that guides the Child and Family Support System (CFSS) to build trauma responsiveness.

Make sure you read the Trauma Responsive System Framework and keep a copy handy when participating in Focus.

Trauma Responsive System Framework (Department of Human Services)

Emerging Minds Child protection and intensive family support learning pathway

This learning pathway is a series of online courses designed to support the journey toward strengthening trauma responsiveness within intensive family support services.

Resources in this pathway are designed for a broader audience so you may notice the term ‘social and emotional wellbeing’ used in place of ‘trauma responsiveness’.

Child protection and intensive family support learning pathway (Emerging Minds)

Emerging Minds Child and family partnerships toolkit

This toolkit supports your organisation’s engagement with children, families, and communities, to understand their experiences within your service context, and to contribute to the continuous improvement of your service.

Child and family partnerships toolkit (Emerging Minds)

Emerging Minds Working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and children toolkit

This toolkit discusses ways in which non-Indigenous practitioners and services can develop genuine connections with First Nations peoples to create the best conditions for effective and respectful service delivery.

Working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and children toolkit (Emerging Minds)

Common Elements Practice Guides

The Common Elements Approach will support CFSS practitioners to nurture family healing and to avoid further traumatisation through the use of 10 evidence-informed and relationship-based practices. This approach enriches our skilled workforce to ensure they feel valued, supported and inspired to provide CFSS families the best possible service.

The ‘Common Elements’ Practice Guides (Department of Human Services)

Yaitya Mingkamingka Purrutiapinthi training / Aboriginal Trauma Healing

This training provides staff with an understanding of the very difficult history Aboriginal families have lived and the real impact grief, loss and trauma can have on individuals, families and communities. It encourages self-reflection and increased awareness to address cultural bias and racism.

Yaitya Mingkamingka Purrutiapinthi training (Aboriginal Community-Controlled Organisations)

Accessing Emerging Minds Focus

Accessing Emerging Minds Focus

Logging in

Access to Emerging Minds Focus is restricted to Child and Family Support System-funded services.

Trauma Responsive Champions must register their interest with Emerging Minds, who will send login information.

Change Team members will be invited to access Focus by their organisation’s Trauma Responsive Champion(s).

Implementation support

Sean Lappin (Connected Self) - email

Steph Mudie (EIRD) - email

Technical support


Focus Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Focus Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

‘Focus’ is an online change management tool developed by Emerging Minds to support organisations to build their trauma responsiveness.

Focus enables a whole-of-system view across four levels:

  • Funder
  • Organisation
  • Practitioner
  • Child and Family.

What are the benefits of engaging with Emerging Minds Focus? 

  • Assists in activating the Trauma Responsive System Framework within your organisation
  • Helps your organisation identify trauma responsive strategies already in place and areas that may benefit from further development
  • Provides surveys that can be used to establish what your current state of trauma responsiveness is across your Organisation
  • Uses the survey results to help your Change Team make data informed decisions on where priority work can be undertaken to improve trauma responsiveness
  • Supports further thinking and learning via the provision of evidence-informed resources. For example:
    • Emerging Minds resources
    • Common Elements practice guides
    • Yaitya Mingkamingka Purrutiapinthi training.
  • Generates a customised Action Plan to guide the work of the Change Team that can be shared with executive leadership enabling the authorising environment and shared accountability
  • Collects and collates the change journey in one place.

The Trauma Responsive System Framework adopts a systems approach – what does this mean?

The systems approach promotes shared accountability. What funders do impacts what organisations do, which then impacts how practitioners engage with and support children and families.

It is critical to view trauma responsiveness as a system wide inquiry reflecting different levels and participants. For the CFSS to be strong and resilient everyone must enact the principles of the framework.

What are the steps involved to use Focus?

Step 1. Form your Change Team

Step 2. Send your Organisational Survey to staff

Step 3. Change Team complete survey

Step 4. Results are analysed

Step 5. Priorities are set

Step 6. Actions assigned

Step 7. Action Plan developed

Step 8. Exploring Actions

Step 9. Supporting Actions

Step 10. Informing Actions

Step 11. Action Plan is reviewed

At this point the organisation may require to start the process again from step 1, or they may return to Step 7 Action Plan developed.

What is the Model?

The following Model provides an overview of how the six principles are integrated through each level of the CFSS. It illustrates that all six ‘segments’, or principles, are required at each level to ensure the integrity of the CFSS, during the implementation of a trauma responsive system. The integrity of the ‘wheel’ is compromised when one or more segment(s) is not represented, and the impact is felt at each level of the system. Like a bicycle wheel, if the spokes are not strong enough the whole wheel is compromised.

The model is depicted as a series of concentric circles.

The centre of the model is the child.

Surrounding the child is the family, community, practitioner and funder.

The outer ring of the circle is made up of six principles:

  1. peer and community support
  2. collaboration
  3. empowerment and self-determination
  4. know yourself and learn
  5. safety
  6. trustworthiness

What is a Trauma Responsive Change Team?

A Change Team is a group of passionate people within an organisation that drive the change process, identifying enablers and overcoming barriers that may arise along the way. Change Teams meet on an ongoing basis to review their Action Plan and progress.

Who should be on the Trauma Responsive Change Team? What do they need to be effective? 

  • Members are passionate advocates within their local service for the trauma responsive initiatives. They want to see systems that uphold kindness, honesty, and support all involved.
  • Members contribute their knowledge, experience, and learnings to help shape and develop trauma responsive practice. Membership should reflect the different levels of the system.
  • Members need to be effective communicators, creative and trustworthy, establishing a safe environment where all members can speak honestly is critical to making real progress.
  • Members contribute shared learnings via the Trauma Responsive Champions Network, a DHS-facilitated network of organisational representatives that meets regularly to support a more trauma responsive system.

What is a ‘Facilitator’? What do they do?

Organisations will need to appoint a Facilitator role to oversee the change management process using Focus. A Facilitator is a member of the organisational Change Team that plays the project lead role. Facilitator activities are likely to include:

  • developing a proficiency in Focus
  • initiating Organisational and Change Team Surveys
  • populating and managing the Action Plan.

*Facilitators will have access to additional functionality in Focus.

Action Planning

Once Change Teams have identified priorities based on survey data, they can consider existing actions that sit in Focus or create their own. The following process guides their action planning:

1. Exploring > 2. Supporting > 3. Informing

  1. Exploring Actions generate conversations to help organisations consider where there at, what they are doing well and what they can do to improve
  2. Supporting Actions are the changes made in response to these conversations of Exploring Actions to create more a trauma responsive system
  3. Informing Actions are the feedback mechanisms to ensure that meaningful change is created.

How many Actions should I assign? 

Your organisations trauma responsive journey will take time, all organisations will be at a different starting point. Wherever you start is okay, and any change you commit to is a good thing no matter how small. This is an ongoing process of reflection, action, and improvement.

Where is the Funder Level in my Assessment page? 

Participating organisations in the CFSS will respond to the Organisational, Practitioner, and Child and Family Levels, and the Early Intervention Research Directorate (DHS) will respond to the Funder Level.

Terminology used in Focus

Emerging Minds resources refer to “mental health” and “social and emotional wellbeing”. These terms relate to trauma responsive practice as:

  • Trauma can have a profound effect on the social and emotional wellbeing and mental health outcomes of children, parents, families, and communities
  • The impact of trauma can be lifelong as well as intergenerational
  • By supporting people in their social and emotional wellbeing, we can directly contribute to trauma healing.

How often should I send out Organisational Surveys?  

This is at your organisation’s discretion. At a minimum, an annual Organisational Survey is advised to monitor change over time.

Who can see my data in Focus? 

Identifiable and other qualitative data entered by Change Teams is not accessible by Emerging Minds or DHS.

Organisational data from Focus is only accessible to the Facilitator and Change Team, including:

  • who is on a Change Team
  • who is assigned to Actions
  • deidentified results from the Organisational Survey
  • Change Team Survey results
  • internal communications by the Change Team
  • Action Plan content:
    • Activities/steps to complete this Action
    • Barriers and facilitators to completion
    • Resources needed internally/externally
    • Who needs to be involved?

Shared learning across organisations is encouraged, but it is at the discretion of each organisation to share what they are comfortable with.

Emerging Minds only have access to metrics (quantitative summary data on organisations’ use of the tool), such as:

  • number of users, unique monthly logins
  • who the Facilitator is
  • page clicks (i.e., Assessment, Action Plan, Progress)
  • number of Ratings
  • clicks on links (to analyse relevance of included resources)
  • number of Actions assigned/completed
  • number of Progress Updates
  • Focus registration of interest responses.

Emerging Minds are hoping that this data can support their evaluation of the tool’s functionality, user experience and its ability to support organisational change.

Data privacy and ownership is important. Any concerns related to data can be directed to

What kind of assistance can we expect?

When engaging in trauma responsive capacity building using Focus, Organisations can

expect the following assistance:

  • Technical support from Emerging Minds if required
  • Support from the Trauma Responsive Champions/Facilitators to share ideas and overcome any issues that may arise across agencies
  • Individualised support for each agency to analyse their survey results, create actions and activate these actions from an independent consultant, as well as an EIRD representative, if required
  • Support on an ‘as-needs’ basis as you work through the process.

How can I share my feedback?

As Emerging Minds Focus is a prototype, we would greatly appreciate any feedback you may have.

Should you have any questions or feedback concerning functionality, please contact:

Other feedback or questions can be directed to Steph Mudie at DHS EIRD:

FAQs - Emerging Minds Focus - Print (PDF 514.9 KB)

Page last updated : 21 Sep 2022

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