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Background: Empowerment programs have been shown to contribute to increased empowerment of individuals and build capacity within the community or workplace. To-date, the impact of empowerment programs has yet to be quantified in the published literature in this field. This study assessed the Indigenous-developed Family Wellbeing (FWB) program as an empowerment intervention for a child safety workforce in remote Indigenous communities by measuring effect sizes. The study also assessed the value of measurement tools for future impact evaluations. Methods: A three-day FWB workshop designed to promote empowerment and workplace engagement among child protection staffwas held across five remote north Queensland Indigenous communities. The FWB assessment tool comprised a set of validated surveys including the Growth and Empowerment Measure (GEM), Australian Unity Wellbeing Index, Kessler psychological distress scale (K10) and Workforce engagement survey. The assessment was conducted pre-intervention and three months post-intervention. Results: The analysis of pre-and post-surveys revealed that the GEM appeared to be the most tangible measure for detecting positive changes in communication, conflict resolution, decision making and life skill development. The GEM indicated a 17 % positive change compared to 9 % for the Australian Unity Wellbeing Index, 5 % for the workforce engagement survey and less than 1 % for K10. Conclusions: This study extended qualitative research and identified the best measurement tool for detecting the outcomes of empowerment programs. The GEM was found the most sensitive and the most tangible measure that captures improvements in communication, conflict resolution, decision making and life skill development. The GEM and Australian Unity Wellbeing Index could be recommended as routine measures for empowerment programs assessment among similar remote area workforce.
Kinchin, I., Jacups, S., Tsey, K., & Lines, K. (2015). An empowerment intervention for Indigenous communities: An outcome assessment. BMC Psychology, 3(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/S40359-015-0086-Z