Professional Practice Guides

The Resilience Practice Framework is designed to help practitioners promote resilience in children and families.

Resilience Practice Guides

The Resilience Practice Framework is designed to help practitioners promote resilience in children and families.

The Framework is the first step in encouraging a more systematic use of a resilience-led approach and aiding a shared language of practice.

The Resilience Practice Framework and guides are a free resource, developed in partnership by the Parenting Research Centre and The Benevolent Society. The Australian Centre for Child Protection and The Benevolent Society developed the two guides Motivational Interviewing techniques: tips for engaging reluctant families and Parent skills training.

The Benevolent Society offers on-site training and ongoing coaching for child and family practitioners and early childhood educators and professionals, in how to interpret and implement the guides within your organisation, school or child care centre.

We believe a ‘resilience-led’ approach nurtures a child’s adaptive ability and capacity to benefit from the resources which are available, or can be made available to them. The child can then make use of those resources to buffer the effects of adversity.

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The Resilience Practice Framework – An Overview

Child and mother

This document provides an overview of a resilience-led approach to working with children and families and looks at the work The Benevolent Society has undertaken to develop and implement a Resilience Practice Framework.

It outlines:

  • the ways in which a resilience-led approach is compatible with the strategic plan and values of The Benevolent Society
  • the main principles which underpin a resilience-led approach
  • the five child outcomes we are aiming to achieve through the RPF
  • an overview of the Resilience Assessment Tool
  • an overview of the 47 evidence-informed practices (EIPs)
  • a guide to working in a culturally sensitive way
  • an overview of the evaluation framework built into the RPF
  • the key factors associated with resilience
  • an overview of the six resilience domains
  • how each outcome links to domains and practices
  • frameworks and theories which are congruent with a resilience-led approach
  • critiques of a resilience led approach and the RPF

Download the Overview 


Guide 1: Practitioner Skills

Child and teacher

This guide aims to provide practitioners with additional support when working with children and families. The skills in this guide are not limited to any one resilience outcome but can be used across the outcomes and at various stages of working with families.

Engagement is the first stage of working with a family. Successful engagement is critical in the information-gathering stage—time spent planning the best way to engage a family is important.

Developing effective collaborative working relationships at the outset is integral to achieving the best outcomes for children and their families. 

Download Guide 1 


Guide 2: Secure and Stable Relationships 

Mother and son

A resilience-led resource of common parenting practices that are linked to secure, predictable and dependable parent–child relationships. The majority of these strategies share a foundation in operant and social learning theory.

The importance of the parent-child relationship

Positive parent–child interactions are characterised by warmth, acceptance, praise and positive attention. The reciprocity that develops as both parent and child respond and adapt to each other is the basis of a mutually satisfying relationship, and offers the security needed to help a child feel good about themselves.

Having parents who are available and actively involved with their children is critical for positive child development, and is a key protective factor for children as they develop through early childhood and adolescence. The quality of the child’s home learning environment is more influential in the development of intellectual and social development than parental occupation, education or income. 

Download Guide 2


Guide 3: Increasing Self Efficacy

Young girl playing in tree

A resilience-led approach to providing parents with strategies to assist their children gain greater self efficacy.

What is self efficacy?

Self efficacy is one of the fundamental building blocks of resilience. Self efficacy may be understood as including the feelings and thoughts that individuals have about their competence and worth, about their abilities to make a difference, and to confront rather than retreat from challenges. The development of self efficacy is central to human agency, self-regulation, and a child’s participation in activities and environments.

How to increase self-efficacy in children

The support and expectations of significant caregivers contribute greatly to children’s beliefs of competence. According to social learning theory, children’s perceptions of competence are not innate but develop over time through direct success experiences and feedback from significant adults, particularly parents and teachers. 

Download Guide 3 


Guide 4: Increasing safety

Toddler playing with parents

A resilience-led guide to providing parents with the skills to give their children a safe environment. Engaging children and families in emotionally and physically safe environments and linking them with positive community networks is essential in promoting positive outcomes for children.

The importance of increasing safety for kids

Children’s safety should be considered as one of the most important factors for those working with vulnerable children and families. Increasing safety is a core outcome identified by a resilience-led approach. Safety can refer to the provision of physical safety in the environment, where children are kept safe from abuse/neglect and family violence, are provided stable and secure housing which is hygienic and free from hazards, and receive adequate physical care including nutrition, hygiene and health care.

Children’s emotional safety is another critical dimension of safety, and is achieved through positive relationships with a primary caregiver and increased connectedness to places and friends, siblings, and other significant adults in their lives. Practitioners working with children and families must attend to all dimensions of safety to ensure they are actively planning and promoting positive outcomes for children.

Download Guide 4


Guide 5: Improving Empathy

Children playing

A resilience-led guide designed to help parents teach their kids about empathy and perspective-taking. Caring adults who demonstrate respect, tolerance, and empathy are a positive source of strength for children.

What is empathy?

Empathy refers to the ability of the individual to identify emotions in another and to subsequently experience that emotion (or similar) themselves. A significant body of research has linked empathy with prosocial behaviours. Children who learn about empathy at a young age are better equipped to treat others with compassion, and go on to develop stronger social skills and adjust more easily to the school setting.

In contrast, children with a lower ability to regulate and understand emotions or how to treat others with compassion are more likely to act out with violence or aggression, especially against others.

Download Guide 5


Guide 6: Increasing Coping / Self Regulation

Smiling toddler

A resilience-led guide designed to help parents provide their children with skills to regulate their emotional responses to frustrating experiences and solve interpersonal problems.

Why is resilience important for kids?

Resilience is associated with the skills of self regulation, which includes the control of attention, impulses, emotions and behaviour in order to attain goals. The ability to regulate emotional responses to frustrating experiences and solve interpersonal problems has consistently been shown to contribute to social competence, academic performance and positive experiences at home and school.

Data suggests that children with traits such as hyperactivity, impulsivity and inattention, and children from disadvantaged backgrounds, have been linked to poorer coping and regulatory behaviours. However, it is important to note that such environments may have greater impact on some children than others.

Key skills include teaching cognitive-behavioural and social problem solving skills such as active relaxation skills, exercising self-control and negotiating conflict.

Download Guide 6


Guide 7: Cumulative harm

Mother and child

A resilience-led approach to assessment and intervention in cases involving cumulative harm.

What is cumulative harm?

Cumulative harm refers to the effects of multiple adverse circumstances and events in a child’s life. The unremitting daily impact of these experiences on the child can be profound and exponential, and diminish a child’s sense of safety, stability and wellbeing.

What causes cumulative harm?

Cumulative harm may be conceptualised very broadly to include the adverse circumstances associated with poverty or the impact of adverse life events such as disability or chronic illness. However, as this Guide is designed to assist practice in child and family services, the focus will be on cumulative harm caused as a consequence of repeated incidents of abuse, neglect, witnessing family violence and unrelenting low level care (i.e. cumulative harm caused by chronic child maltreatment).

Chronic child maltreatment

Bromfield and Higgins (2005) defined chronic child maltreatment as recurrent incidents of maltreatment over a prolonged period of time (i.e. multiple adverse circumstances and events) and argued that chronic child maltreatment caused children to experience cumulative harm. Critically, they found that the majority of children who are abused or neglected experience multiple incidents and multiple types of child maltreatment.

Download Guide 7


Guide 8: Infants at risk of abuse and neglect


A resilience-led approach to assessment and intervention where infants are at risk of abuse and neglect.

What is infancy?

Infancy refers to the stage of child development from birth until the age of three years. In the first three years of life infants develop at a more rapid pace than any other time as they develop the capacity to experience, regulate and express emotions, to explore the environment and learn, as well as form close interpersonal relationships (Zero to Three, 2002).

The vulnerability of infants

The particular vulnerability of infants arises from their physical fragility, dependence on others for survival, under-developed verbal communication, and their social invisibility. The term “high risk infant” refers to that group which can be considered to be in danger of significant harm of child abuse and neglect as opposed to being generally vulnerable.

Download Guide 8 

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