Emerging Minds

Supervision for children's wellbeing

About the course

This course will provide supervisors with a framework for working with practitioners to improve engagement with children and families while helping to support meaningful change in their lives. This includes supervision with practitioners in adult-focused service delivery and those working with children and their families.


Accountability and development

This module examines how the principles of accountability and development can be used in supervision to increase practitioners’ ability to support the social and emotional wellbeing needs of children.

Connection and continual learning

This module discusses how the principles of connection and continual learning can be used in supervision to increase practitioners’ ability to support the social and emotional wellbeing needs of children.

Who is this course for?

This course is suitable for anyone supervising practitioners who engage children, adults or families in case management, case work or therapy. This includes a broad range of practitioners such as pediatricians, psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, family and relationship counsellors, child mental health practitioners and specialist counsellors. It also includes GPs, allied health professionals and child protection workers.

This course recognises that these specialist supervisors:

  • work with practitioners in a variety of settings
  • commonly have extensive experience in implementing a range of interventions when working with practitioners; and
  • have diverse theoretical perspectives and practice approaches that inform their work.

Learning aims

The following learning aims and understandings are central to this course:

  • Providing support for practitioners to engage in reflective practice is an integral component to any supervisor–supervisee relationship.
  • For children’s wellbeing to be central to practice, it needs to be a core focus within, and supported by, supervision practice.
  • Supervisors can apply knowledge and skills from this course to support workers from a broad range of professional backgrounds plus a range of different health and welfare sectors.
  • Good supervision relies on the creation of safe supervisor–supervisee relationships. This foundation allows for ongoing curious enquiry, robust conversations and openness to multiple perspectives.
  • It’s important for supervisors to hold curiosity about the child’s experience at the centre of their own thoughts and processes and to explore this with supervisees.
  • Practitioners have varied experiences of supervision which are important to recognise in developing supervisor–supervisee relationships.
  • Setting expectations and modelling accountability are reasonable and effective practices for all supervisors, and valued by supervisees.
  • The supervisor’s ability to ask open-ended and circular questions is helpful in bringing a focus on the child’s needs into supervision.
  • Taking a whole-of-family approach to working with children in supervision includes understanding the child’s experience, the parent/s’ experience and those of any other members of the family.

How was this course developed?

This course was developed collaboratively with practitioners from The Bouverie Centre, who helped develop the supervision demonstrations and content. The Bouverie Centre is an integrated practice-research organisation that draws on its history of bringing family therapy to Australia to promote healthy relationships in families, organisations and communities.


It is estimated that this course will take you approximately two hours to complete, including reading material and watching videos.

You can undertake the course across multiple sessions at your own pace. The last screen you visit before logging off will be bookmarked and you will have the option of returning to that screen when you next log in.


As you work through the course, it is important to be aware of your own emotional responses. Please follow the following self-care tips and seek help if needed:

  • We do not recommend undertaking the entire course in one sitting. Give yourself some breaks. Even if you don’t feel that you need a break, it’s a good idea to take one anyway and come back later.
  • Be aware of your emotions as you progress through the course and take action if you are starting to feel stressed or upset. For example, consider taking a break and doing something for yourself that you enjoy.
  • Be aware of your emotional responses after you complete the course.
  • Learning about child development, trauma, and resilience can make us reflect on our own experiences in childhood. Recovery from adversity and trauma is possible and it is normal to go through this reflective experience. If you are finding this process difficult, please take a break and access support if you need.

If at any point you find you are struggling, please talk with your supervisor, seek help, or call Lifeline on 13 11 14, Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636, or SANE Australia on 1800 18 7263.


Supervision is the mechanism that allows practitioners to actively reflect on their engagements with clients and analyse the effectiveness of their response.1

Child-focused supervision is the mechanism that allows practitioners to analyse the effectiveness of their engagements with children and their families, or to enquire about the safety and wellbeing of a child when they are not present.2

Reflective supervision is a process which accounts for the needs of the client and the practitioner so that opportunities for effective interventions are optimised.3

A supervisor is the professional commissioned to provide a process of accountability, connection to best practice and organisational policy, professional development and improvement for an individual practitioner or group of practitioners.

For the purposes of this course supervisee and practitioner are used interchangeably to describe the professional who is engaging with a supervisor for the purpose of improving and developing their child-focused practice.

A quick guide to Emerging Minds Learning


  1. Wilkins, D., Forrester, D., & Grant, L. (2016). What happens in child and family social work supervision? Child and Family Social Work, 22(2), 942–951. DOI:10.1111/cfs.12314
  2. Rycroft, P. (2020). What is child-focused supervision in adult-focused services and how does it work? (Child Family Community Australia webinar). Adelaide: Emerging Minds / Southbank: Australian Institute of Family Studies.
  3. Tomlin, A. M., & Heller, S. S. (2016). Measurement development in reflective supervision: History, methods and next steps. Zero to Three Journal, 37(2), 4–12.

Ready to start learning?

Register today to access.