New research capacity for VACRO’s programs We’re thrilled to announce the appointment of Dr Aaron Hart as VACRO’s new Strategic Research and Development Designer. Aaron joins VACRO from the Brotherhood of St Laurence, where he worked across research, evaluation and service development, most recently on place-based interventions. His role will help improve outcomes for VACRO participants. Key points: Dr Aaron Hart has commenced as VACRO’s new Strategic Research and Development Designer This position was newly created in 2020 to strengthen VACRO’s research and evaluation capacity A better understanding of the impact of our work will improve outcomes for participants and communities Aaron’s work will involve establishing a comprehensive monitoring and evaluation framework for VACRO’s programs, independent of the reporting we do against funding requirements. Aaron will also be reviewing VACRO’s existing work for families and children and working with Development Manager Melanie Field-Pimm to prepare an evidence-based proposal for future service development. Melanie said Aaron’s appointment would help VACRO develop innovative and high-impact projects. “Aaron’s work will also support VACRO in documenting our best practice and contributing to professional leadership in the sector,” she said. “It will improve our understanding of what success means for our participants, and help us deliver better outcomes for individuals, families and communities.” Aaron previously worked on studies of drug and alcohol issues at the National Drug Research Institute at Curtin University and on a study of the health effects of aged care work at the University of Melbourne. VACRO CEO Marius Smith said Aaron’s expertise brings exciting new capacity to VACRO’s work. “We love Aaron’s deep knowledge of research, his experience evaluating community programs and his strategic thinking,” he said. “We’re looking forward to working with Aaron to strengthen our practice and respond to emerging needs in prisons and the community.” VACRO has a long history of research and evaluation, having previously produced in-depth analysis of programs and policies in partnership with academics and other experts. Research topics include the impact of parental incarceration on children, the effect of community-based reintegration support for people who have committed serious offences, and the parenting status of people involved with Victoria’s court system. These reports, and others, are available to read on our research page.