Jessica is passionate about all Australian children having the opportunity to have close and warm relationships with their families, including children in the child protection system. She is passionate about preventing the grief, loss and trauma of child removal and ensuring that children are only ever taken from their families as a last resort. Even when children are removed they have a fundamental right to have their families involved in their lives and to stay connected to family, community and culture. Jessica is committed to learning from, and working alongside, parent and family peer advocates, as lived experienced leaders, to improve children’s relationships and make the Australian community safe and healthy for all children and families.


Jessica is a social worker and researcher in child and family practice. She has a Bachelor of Social Work from the University of South Australia and a Master of Social Work (Advanced Practice) from Charles Sturt University. In her current role Jessica leads child, youth and family service design, knowledge translation and evaluation at Life Without Barriers. Jessica is co-founder of Family Inclusion Strategies in the Hunter, a parent and family led organisation based in Newcastle, NSW which promotes family inclusion in child protection and out of home care. Jessica is also an adjunct lecturer in the College of Human and Social Futures at the University of Newcastle and a Founding Director of the International Parent Advocacy Network.


Since returning from her Fellowship, Jessica co-led the development and evaluation of the Parent Peer Support Project in Newcastle, NSW. She has been instrumental in a range of family inclusive research and practice initiatives at Life Without Barriers and in the broader sector. Her Fellowship and subsequent work is also contributing to peer work and family leadership initiatives emerging around Australia.


In 2020, Jessica was selected to participate in the inaugural Policy Impact Program, a partnership between the Churchill Trust and the University of Queensland. The Policy Impact Program is designed to showcase Fellowship findings to inform leading public policy decision-makers, media and the community.


Jessica's article examines the importance of preserving and reunifying family units as the focus of our child protection systems. She says that families need to maintain and strengthen their relationships with their children and to participate in child protection processes. Read Jessica's article

Project

To research innovative parent /family inclusion and partnership approaches in child welfare

To research innovative parent /family inclusion and partnership approaches in child welfare

Canada
Norway
United Kingdom
USA
Community Service
Jessica Cocks

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