Child-friendly communities

The latest material added to the Australian Institute of Family Studies library database is displayed, up to a maximum of 30 items. Where available online, a link to the document is provided. Many items can be borrowed from the Institute's library via the Interlibrary loan system.

See more resources on Child-friendly communities in the AIFS library catalogue

Communities for Children Facilitating Partners Program: post implementation review

ACIL Allen Consulting, Australia. Dept. of Social Services
Canberra, A.C.T. : Dept. of Social Services, 2016.
In 2014, the Department of Social Services streamlined the allocation and requirements of its grants programs. This report evaluates how these changes were implemented in the Communities for Children Facilitating Partner (CfC FP) Program. CfC aims to create strong child-friendly communities and maximise the health, well-being and early development of young children at the local level. Non-government organisations known as Facilitating Partners are funded to develop local networks and engage with communities, and they subcontract to Community Partners to provide specific services such as parenting groups and home visiting. There are several new requirements under the streamlined grants model, including that a greater proportion of programs must be evidence-based, that CfC Committees have a broad and diverse membership, increasing transparency of decision-making, and that supporting school transition and engagement is added as a new objective. This report presents the findings and recommendations of the evaluation, and draws on stakeholder consultations, site visits, and a review of documentation.

Thriving in adversity: a positive deviance study of safe communities for children : National Research Agenda for Protecting Children - final report

Eastman C, Hill T, Newland J, Smyth C and Valentine K
Sydney : Social Policy Research Centre, UNSW, 2014.
In every disadvantaged community there are individuals and families who are doing unexpectedly well. These individuals and families have practices and strategies that are both positive and deviant in that they differ from those of most of their peers. This report explores how these families manage to 'thrive in adversity', in particular the protective factors for families with significant risk factors for child maltreatment, especially drug use and mental health problems. The study featured a national survey to investigate which social practices and norms help to produce positive outcomes for children in disadvantaged communities, and data analysis to identify communities in which outcomes are unexpectedly positive and 'communities of affinity' in which a significant risk factor for child maltreatment is present. This study fits under one of the research priorities of the National Research Agenda for Protecting Children 2011-2014, which is to learn more about the conditions necessary to create a child-safe and child-friendly community.

Safe and supportive families and communities for children: a synopsis and critique of Australian research

Nair L
Melbourne, Vic. : Australian Institute of Family Studies, 2012.
This paper reviews the research on building safe and supportive families and communities for children in Australia. Based on assessments of 22 evaluation reports, it examines the evidence base in the areas of: community attitudes and awareness of child safety, parenting and family support, and child-friendly communities. The paper synthesises the findings and discusses the implications for future research in child protection. The evaluation reports were identified in the research audit, 'Protecting Australia's Children Research Audit, 1995-2010'.

Demonstrating community-wide outcomes: exploring the issues for child and family services

McDonald M
Melbourne, Vic. : Australian Institute of Family Studies, 2011.
The neighbourhoods in which children and families live impact upon their health and wellbeing. Accordingly, area-based - or 'place-based' - initiatives, such as 'Communities for Children' in Australia and 'Sure Start' in the United Kingdom, often have a whole-of-community focus. This Practice Sheet summarises issues in evaluating community-wide impacts, in a way that reflects the realities of working in a community-based agency environment. It examines different methods of data collection, including surveying a representative community sample, interviews and focus groups with key informants, and using secondary source data, and discusses measurement of community-wide outcomes, such as being a child-friendly community, community empowerment, and social capital.

Building spaces and places for children and young people

Western Australia. Office of the Commissioner for Children and Young People
Subiaco, WA : Commissioner for Children and Young People, 2011.

Stronger Families in Australia study : the impact of Communities for Children : Stronger Families and Communities Strategy 2004-2009

Edwards B, Wise S, Gray M, Hayes A, Katz I, Misson S, Patulny R and Muir K
Canberra : Dept. of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, 2009.
This report examines the impact of the Communities for Children (CfC) program on child, family, and community outcomes. This study was conducted as part of the 2004-2008 evaluation of the Federal Government's 'Stronger Families and Communities Strategy 2004-2009'. The CfC program funded non-government organisations serving 45 disadvantaged communities in Australia, to develop and implement a whole-of-community approach to enhancing early childhood development. Four priority outcomes were measured: healthy young families; supporting families and parents; early learning and care; and child-friendly communities. The analysis included a longitudinal study of 2,202 families. Positive impacts include fewer children living in a jobless household, parents reporting less hostile or harsh parenting practices, and parents feeling more effective. Positive impacts were also found for hard-to-reach groups. Some negative findings were reported for the health outcomes of hard-to-reach, low education and low income groups. These results suggest that the CfC model makes an important contribution to the wellbeing of disadvantaged children.

Communities for children, Taree NSW: local evaluation report

Sheather G
Newcastle, N.S.W. : Family Action Centre, University of Newcastle, 2009.
Communities for Children is an Australian government initiative to help young children and their families in disadvantaged areas. It will be implemented in 45 areas across Australia. This report presents findings from the evaluation of the Taree site in regional New South Wales. Rather than conducting a full impact evaluation in this funding phase, this evaluation focuses on the development and strengthening of local partnerships. The report describes the local context, evaluation framework, and findings against the priority areas of healthy young families, early learning and care, child friendly communities, family and children's services work effectively as a system, and supporting families and parents.

Swan Hill and Robinvale Communities for Children: local evaluation final report

St. Luke's Anglicare, Royal Children's Hospital (Melbourne, Vic.). Centre for Community Child Health, Swan Hill and Robinvale Communities for Children
Melbourne, Vic. : Australian Institute of Family Studies, 2009
Communities for Children is an Australian government initiative to help young children and their families in disadvantaged areas. It will be implemented in 45 areas across Australia. This report presents findings from the evaluation of the Swan Hill and Robinvale site in regional Victoria. The report describes the local context, evaluation framework, and findings against the priority areas of healthy young families, early learning and care, child friendly communities, family and children's services work effectively as a system, and supporting families and parents. The report also discusses local learnings, particularly in the areas of community engagement, networking and partnerships, capacity building, and sustainability.

Shortcutting policy : from concept to action for family-centred communities.

Luketina F
Social Policy Journal of New Zealand no. 35 Jun 2009 Special issue on research funded by the Families Commission: 17-26
This article describes a project that aims to ensure the needs of families are taken into account during policy and planning processes within local bodies. By this means, communities will become more family-centred. The project involves a partnership among the Families Commission, Local Government New Zealand and local bodies. Standard policy development approaches have been abandoned in favour of learning through doing. This involves local body representatives finding a way to bring a greater focus on the needs of families, which will be appropriate for their district. The solutions to this challenge might vary from district to district. The Families Commission and Local Government New Zealand are facilitating shared learning among the local body participants. The article also presents the results of a review of the literature on family-centred communities. The review set out to identify the key elements in these communities. It found that while there is a reasonable amount of material on child-friendly communities, healthy cities, safe cities, sustainable communities, and various other types of communities, there is very little specifically written from the point of view of families. Instead, the literature relevant to families is more focused on the planning process. The main finding of the literature review was that during planning, the priorities of families should be identified by engaging with families themselves, because each community is unique and will have different needs.

Family-centred communities: the planning process

New Zealand. Families Commission
Wellington, N.Z. : Families Commission, 2009
The Families Commission is currently working with local governments to encourage councils to take a family-centred approach to planning and decision-making. This literature review has been produced as background material for this project. It summarises key research on the principles and components of a family-centred approach, key local government processes, family-centred practice and service delivery, and family-centred community building. The report concludes with a discussion on the development and implementation of a family-centred approach and describes other local government models, such as child friendly cities and healthy cities initiatives.

Frankston North Communities for Children local evaluation: final report

Brotherhood of St. Laurence
Fitzroy, Vic. : Brotherhood of St Laurence, 2009.
The Communities for Children (CfC) initiative is part of the Australian Government's Stronger Families and Communities Strategy, and has been implemented in 45 sites across Australia. This report evaluates the outcomes of the CfC in the suburban Frankston North area of Victoria, a disadvantaged area with a high number of resident children. The evaluation study featured a methodology called Most Significant Change, which gathered stories from parents and staff on the most important change they experienced as a result of the CfC initiative. These stories spoke of improvements in early learning, child friendly communities, community participation, physical and mental health, parenting skills, parent child relationships, professional development, and inclusive communities.

Communities for Children, Raymond Terrace & Karuah: local evaluation report

Sheather G
Newcastle, N.S.W. : Family Action Centre, University of Newcastle, 2009
Communities for Children is an Australian government initiative to help young children and their families in disadvantaged areas. It has been implemented in 42 areas across Australia. This report presents findings from the evaluation of the Raymond Terrace and Karuah site in regional New South Wales. The report profiles the local area, explains the evaluation design, and discusses the findings in the areas of: healthy young families; supporting parents and families; early learning and care; child friendly communities; and family and children's services working effectively as a system.

Designs for a child-friendly city.

Malone K
Curriculum Leadership v. 7 no. 2 Feb 2009: 1p
In years gone by, children were more likely to play independently in their own neighbourhood than they are today. Recent research has revealed that much of children's spare time is now occupied with organised activities, stifling the development of resilience, sense of place, sense of self-worth, social connectedness and environmental knowledge, and manifesting as higher levels of depression, stress and anxiety. This is exacerbated by protective parenting, often due to increased fear of 'stranger danger' and traffic. This paper argues that the perceptions of danger far outweigh the reality, and may adversely affect the child's wellbeing. It briefly discusses the implications for educators of this trend of overprotection, and outlines designs for a child-friendly city, highlighting the need to recognise a cultural change rather than a physical change in the environment.

Child friendly community indicators: a literature review.

Woolcock G and Steele W
Surry Hills, N.S.W. : NSW Commission for Children and Young People, 2008.
A literature search was undertaken in order to evaluate indicator frameworks that promote positive standards for assessing the child friendliness of local communities in terms of the physical environment. The research explored physical dimensions of public space within community environments. The development of an indicator framework provides decision-makers within the community with user-friendly tools for raising awareness as well as gathering and presenting empirically based data. In this way it can be used as a practical tool to influence policy development, resource allocation and services for the improvement of child wellbeing. The report argues that to be meaningful, indicators must be applied and grounded within community settings, and that the specific context of that community must be understood. They must also be reviewed and updated regularly through practical application and implementation in local settings to ensure that they reflect the work around contemporary and emerging issues.

Building a solid foundation for school: a communities approach

Sorin R and Markotsis J
West Perth, WA : Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth, 2008.
Communities for Children (CfC) is an initiative funded under the Commonwealth's Stronger Families and Communities Strategy 2004-2009 to achieve better outcomes for children from birth to five years and their families. Its targets include: better school readiness, through a collaborative approach to early child and maternal health; early learning and care; child-friendly communities; supporting families and parents; and working together in partnerships. Readiness for learning and development in the school years depends on a partnership comprising the child, their family, the school, the community and the services provided by and in the community. In order to build a solid foundation for learning and development, ongoing, integrated programs that address cognitive, physical, social, emotional and behavioural issues need to be accessible to young children, their families, schools and communities. This paper argues that such community partnerships work effectively when all members play an active part. It establishes a formula for a communities approach to learning readiness: ready communities and services + ready schools + ready families + ready children = readiness for learning and development in the school years. The paper uses the formula as a framework for considering the effectiveness of CfC and other programs designed to build a solid foundation for school.

What constitutes child friendly communities and how are they built?

Howard A
West Perth, WA : Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth, 2006
This paper draws on research and practice literature and on the experiences and observations of practitioners working across Australia in an attempt to identify the key themes and elements of a child friendly community and how this kind of community can be built. The literature reviewed spans the areas of child development, community development, urban planning, community economic development, social research and early childhood education. Practitioners interviewed came from urban, regional, rural and remote communities in all states except Tasmania.

What constitutes child friendly communities and how are they built?

Howard A
West Perth, W.A. : Australian Research Alliance for Children & Youth, 2006.

Children and families in communities : theory, research policy and practice

Barnes J, Katz I, Korbin J and O'Brien M
Chichester, England : John Wiley & Sons, c2006.
"Some of the latest policy initiatives to tackle social problems in a number of countries have targeted vulnerable communities as well as high-risk families. For instance, there are currently over twenty area-based initiatives in the UK. There has also been increasing emphasis on encouraging children to take an active role in shaping their communities. This book discusses some of these important initiatives, as well as providing a topical examination of the latest research and the implications for policy and practice."

Pathways to the child friendly city.

Gleeson B
Gleeson, B., ed. Sipe, N., ed. Creating child friendly cities : reinstating kids in the city. London : Routledge, 2006 9780415391603: 151-157
Several ways of improving urban life for children and young people in Australia and New Zealand through policy, practice and everyday action are summarised. This chapter refers to the contributions in the previous chapters in this book, in its discussion of children's rights and children's needs, the inclusion of children in urban planning, the benefits of engaging young people in public spaces, research on children and cities, the walking school bus programs in Auckland, New Zealand, ways to overcome social traps that result in too many children being driven to and from school, and play space design in cities.

Creating child friendly playspaces: a practitioner's perspective.

Walsh P
Gleeson, B., ed. Sipe, N., ed. Creating child friendly cities : reinstating kids in the city. London : Routledge, 2006 9780415391603: 136-150
Children need to have access to play spaces in the home, at playgrounds and parks, and in public spaces. However, in modern Western cities, open spaces are increasingly difficult to access. This chapter discusses the contemporary Australian urban context for play, current planning and design practice, basic planning principles for children's play spaces, and planning guidelines for children's play spaces.

Children in the urban environment: a review of research.

Sipe N
Gleeson, B., ed. Sipe, N., ed. Creating child friendly cities : reinstating kids in the city. London : Routledge, 2006 9780415391603: 86-102
Research on the experiences and health and well being of children in Western urban environments is reviewed. Research conducted prior to the 1970s focused on the physical and mental health and development of children, and their interaction with the environment. The 1970s - 1990s period saw the emergence of multidisciplinary approaches to research, and the post 1990s period focused on obesity, physical activity and the urban environment.

Colliding worlds: planning with children and young people for better cities.

Freeman C
Gleeson, B., ed. Sipe, N., ed. Creating child friendly cities : reinstating kids in the city. London : Routledge, 2006 9780415391603: 69-85
Planners need to be aware of the impact their work has on children and young people. To do this, they need a better understanding of children's lives. This chapter looks at what makes a good environment, the context of childhood / environmental relations, the effects of the exclusion of children and young people from the public arena, and how to develop policy and practice that benefits children.

Cities for angry young people? From exclusion and inclusion to engagement in urban policy.

Iveson K
Gleeson, B., ed. Sipe, N., ed. Creating child friendly cities : reinstating kids in the city. London : Routledge, 2006 9780415391603: 49-65
Efforts are often made to exclude 'anti social' young people from urban spaces, due to concerns about crime and social disorder. This chapter summarises arguments for replacing exclusion policies with the inclusion of young people in public spaces and questions the benefits of this approach. Strategies that focus on engagement with young people are put forward as alternatives to social control. The chapter looks at some case examples of neo liberal approaches to urban governance and their impact on young people, namely a curfew for young people in Perth and finding 'graffiti solutions' in Sydney.

Australia's toxic cities: modernity's paradox?

Gleeson B
Gleeson, B., ed. Sipe, N., ed. Creating child friendly cities : reinstating kids in the city. London : Routledge, 2006 9780415391603: 33-48
Do Australia's cities nurture children and youth? This chapter argues that the relative absence of a public domain excludes young people from important civic resources and social experiences. It examines the impact of urban structural change for children at different socio economic levels, arguing that neo liberal reform has resulted in toxic cities, which threaten children and young people with physical and mental harm. As evidence, it cites the rise in numbers of children in therapy and the incidence of childhood obesity.

United Nations: a key player in a global movement for child friendly cities.

Malone K
Gleeson, B., ed. Sipe, N., ed. Creating child friendly cities : reinstating kids in the city. London : Routledge, 2006 9780415391603: 13-32
During the past 50 years, cities have been growing at an alarming rate due to massive increases in population growth. In response to this change, the United Nations has turned its attention to sustainable development and children's rights. This chapter outlines these efforts, as well as UNICEF's Child Friendly Cities Initiative and UNESCO's Growing Up in Cities project. It looks at the needs of children and young people, the positive and negative aspects of growing up in cities, and the benefits of the above strategies.

Reinstating kids in the city.

Gleeson B
Gleeson, B., ed. Sipe, N., ed. Creating child friendly cities : reinstating kids in the city. London : Routledge, 2006 9780415391603: 1-10
Urban planning and development can significantly improve the health and well being of children and young people in cities. This chapter discusses the growing interest in children's issues and children's rights. However, despite the increasing recognition of the multitude of factors that influence children's well being, recent evidence has shown an alarming decline in the health of Western children. The chapter then summarises the contents of the rest of the book.

Woe or wellbeing? Creating a child friendly Macarthur Region.

Blakester A
Public Administration Today no. 8 Jul/Sep 2006 54-58
A child friendly, community strengthening vision for the Macarthur Region of Sydney, an area of social and economic disadvantage, was developed in 2005. The vision aims to support the well being and development of children and young people through supporting relationships. This article discusses the development and implementation of the vision, which includes workshops with children and young people, Aboriginal workshops and a decision makers' forum.

Visions of a child friendly community.

National Association for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect NSW, University of Western Sydney
Haymarket, NSW : National Association for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect NSW, 2005
Academics, decision makers, practitioners, people who care for children, and children themselves were consulted about their vision of a child friendly community. Their ideas which comprise this booklet include: friendly relationships, space, transport, services, work and learning; taking children and young people and their rights seriously; listening to children and young people; working with children and young people; valuing difference; understanding the needs of children with disabilities; safety; balance; respect; valuing fathers; community support; safe, supportive and stimulating schools; and the benefits of mentoring.

Child friendly community action kit: a guide to building child friendly communities.

National Association for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (NAPCAN)
Surry Hills, NSW : NAPCAN Foundation, 2005
Information on how to make your community child friendly is provided in this kit. The kit presents advice on forming a child friendly Community Action Group and planning child friendly initiatives. It discusses the issue of child abuse and neglect, including types of abuse, the effects of child abuse and neglect, the long term nature of the problem, the economic cost of child abuse and neglect, and the benefits of prevention. It describes what a child friendly community is, how child friendly communities prevent child abuse and neglect, and indicators of a child friendly community, and it looks at examples of child friendly community initiatives in New South Wales, Victoria and the Northern Territory. It explains the three stages of making change raising awareness, increasing participation and building capacity - and gives tips on organising events, fundraising, managing your group, networking, planning your activities, working with the media and having your own newsletter.

Visions of a child friendly community

National Association for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect. New South Wales Branch., University of Western Sydney.
N.S.W. : NAPCAN NSW, 2005
"This publication gathers together a range of visions about aspects of child friendly communities whether these be families, schools, workplaces or the wider community. Contributors to the publication include children, university students, academics, professionals, government officials and others. The result is a thought provoking, inspiring, challenging and touching document."
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