Community strategies for improving outcomes for children

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 Community strategies for improving outcomes for children in the AIFS library catalogue

Planning early childhood services in 2020: learning from practice and research on children's centres and family hubs

Lewing B, Stanford M and Redmond T
London : Early Intervention Foundation, 2020.
This report looks at different approaches to designing and implementing integrated children's centres and family hubs in England, to help inform future development. It draws on a review of the literature plus interviews with practitioners in 14 local areas across England, regarding the objectives of children's centres and hubs, which families are targeted, the most effective ways of delivering children's centres and hubs, and how important are evidence-based interventions to children's centres and hubs. The report highlights the need for evidence and support to help inform the local planning of early childhood services. There is a lack of robust national data on the characteristics and effectiveness of contemporary children's centres and hubs, and the loosening of statutory requirements in England has led to increasing diversity of local approaches and experimentation, but without common language or measures. However, some conclusions can be made about how best to support local approaches.

Platforms guide: improving children's wellbeing through community-led change

Royal Children's Hospital (Melbourne, Vic.). Centre for Community Child Health, Murdoch Childrens Research Institute
Parkville, Vic. : Centre for Community Child Health, 2019.
'Platforms' is a place-based, community-led approach to improving children's environments by strengthening community 'platforms', such as safe and supportive neighbourhoods, connected families and high-quality services. This guide aims to help services, community groups and governments successfully implement the Platforms approach in their local community, and is designed for use in conjunction with training and resources. The provides an overview of the Platforms approach and details each stage of the process.

Uti Kulintjaku Watiku Project: 2019 evaluation report

Togni S
Alice Springs, NT : Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Women's Council, 2019.
The Uti Kulintjaku Watiku Project is an innovative program for Anangu men in Central Australia, and part of a broader initiative to promote healing and prevent family violence by developing community capacity and resilience. The project brings respected senior and younger Anangu men and non-Aboriginal health professionals together to learn from each other and identify ways to strengthen Anangu identity and increase Anangu wellbeing to prevent family violence. It is not an intervention but rather a long-term community development initiative for sustainable, transformative change. 11 workshops have been held so far between late 2016 and mid 2019. This report describes the project and presents findings from an evaluation of its outcomes. It discusses the key features of the Uti Kulintjaku Watiku Project, how it relates to the women's component of the initiative, key developments and achievements, factors contributing to success, strengths and challenges, and how the project is contributing to family violence prevention. An important component of the project has been the positioning of Anangu men's voice within the dialogue and sharing of ideas to prevent family violence and to strengthen young people's wellbeing, as well as strengthening Anangu men's confidence and capacity for healthy intergenerational relationships.

TeaH (Turn 'em around Healing) : a therapeutic model for working with traumatised children on Aboriginal communities.

Moss M and Lee A
Children Australia v. 44 no. 2 Jun 2019: 55-59
This article describes the Turn 'em around Healing (TeaH) therapeutic model of practice, which was developed for children experiencing trauma in remote Aboriginal communities. The model incorporates Aboriginal concepts of healing and spirit within a creative therapeutic framework, and is built upon community involvement and a recognition of the trans-generational trauma present within Aboriginal communities. This article explains the development of the model, outlines how it was implemented in one community, and highlights the key learnings so far.

Money matters - but so do people : children's views and experiences of living in a 'disadvantaged' community.

Bessell S
Children and Youth Services Review v. 97 Feb 2019: 59-66
This article explores children's views on what makes a strong and supportive community. Surveys were held with 108 children aged 8-12 years old. The findings highlight that though family poverty and inadequate public infrastructure can have a negative impact on children, strong and supportive relationships also play a significant positive role. The findings have implications for community development initiatives.

Strategic review of Cape York Income Management: final report

Scott J, Higginson A, Staines Z, Zhen L, Ryan V and Lauchs M
Canberra, A.C.T. : Dept. of Social Services, 2018.
Implemented in 2008, the Cape York Welfare Reform initiative aims to address passive dependence on welfare in the communities of Aurukun, Coen, Hope Vale, and Mossman Gorge in remote far north Queensland. This review examines one aspect of the reform - income management, including how it was implemented and received and its impact on alcohol and drugs, violence and crime, money for basic needs, schooling, children's health/wellbeing, and child safety notifications. It also looks at ongoing ideological and practical challenges. One key feature of the model as compared to other approaches is that local Indigenous leaders are empowered alongside the Family Responsibilities Commission, who administered the Basic Card and its support services. The review draws on qualitative and quantitative data from 2008-2018. Overall, evidence is mixed, but there is a general feeling that communities have improved since the introduction of the reform, in particular through helping support clients to better manage and budget their income, as well as overcome 'humbugging', which enables them to cover basic needs.

Logan's community gateways: a discussion paper

Logan Together (Organization)
Meadowbrook, Qld. : Logan Together, 2018.
Logan Together is working to develop a shared conceptual model of 'community gateways', which are also known as community hubs, community centres, and neighbourhood centres. Logan Together is a place-based community development campaign to improve the wellbeing of disadvantaged children and their families in the city of Logan, Queensland, and includes over 20 centre-based, soft-entry community gateways that enable children and families to access prevention and social inclusion activities and programs and link with more intense and specialised assistance when needed. Despite differences in the aims, funding and management of these community gateways, they share similar theoretical foundations, evaluation findings, and service delivery challenges. This paper discusses Logan Together's learnings about Community Gateways and provides information on the different community gateways in Logan, common strategies for engaging families, collaborative and co-location service models, and measurement and best practice.

Phase 1 progress report for Logan Together 2018

Clear Horizon Consulting, Logan Together (Organization), Queensland. Dept. of Communities, Disability Services and Seniors, Australia. Dept. of Social Services
Meadowbrook, Qld. : Logan Together, 2018.
'Logan Together' is a place-based community development campaign to improve the wellbeing of disadvantaged children and their families in the city of Logan, Queensland. This progress report summarises the progress, activities and outcomes of Logan Together in its first three years, and assesses the extent to which is Logan Together on track to achieve its outcomes. Logan Together was established in 2015 and involves a collaboration between three tiers of government, non-government organisations, and other partners. Despite some challenges, the evaluation finds that Logan Together is on track and has clearly contributed to systemic changes and early instances of impact on families, children and parents. Outcomes include: improved engagement of certain at-risk cohorts, such as women not accessing maternity services or families experiencing tenancy difficulties; improved parental awareness of childhood development needs and milestones; improvement in kindy enrolments; and changes resulting from increased reach of services. Systems level improvements that have resulted include: cross-sector collaboration, integrated approaches to strategic delivery, innovation of new services and models, changes in practice, shifts in mindset and attitudes, and resource flows. This report also presents case studies of individual programs and services, highlights key learnings, and makes recommendations for improvement.

Maranguka justice reinvestment project: impact assessment

KPMG (Australia), Just Reinvest NSW Inc.
N.S.W. : Just Reinvest NSW, 2018.
The Maranguka Justice Reinvestment project was developed in response to the number of Aboriginal families experiencing high levels of social disadvantage and rising crime in the small remote town of Bourke in New South Wales. This place-based, Aboriginal-led model redirects funds away from crisis responses and prison and detention and instead towards preventative, diversionary, and community development initiatives that address the underlying causes of crime. This report assesses the project's impact after 5 years, now that local initiatives and processes have had time to embed and develop. It reviews progress towards building leadership, collaboration, new program design, and procedural change, as well as changes from 2016 to 2017 in rates of domestic violence, school attendance and completion, bail breaches, juvenile charges, time in custody, and obtaining drivers licences. The report highlights the financial and social cost savings of the justice reinvestment approach.

Love grows brains: optimising the development of children aged 0-3 years : a review of key concepts in research, policy and practice

Rubenstein L
Meadowbrook, Qld. : Logan Together, Griffith University, 2018.
This paper summarises findings from a literature review on promoting child development and discusses what policy actions need to take place. The review was commissioned to inform the policy action plan of 'Logan Together', a community development campaign to improve the wellbeing of disadvantaged children and their families in Logan, Queensland. Sections in the paper include: What we know about child and brain development from conception to three years of age; What parents and caregivers can do to support children's development; What communities can do to facilitate early development; What services can do to strengthen families and promote child development; What design research can do; and What public policy can do. The findings highlight a growing consensus that the search for more effective strategies to improve the lives of vulnerable young children ought to include greater attention to strengthening the capabilities of their caregivers and addressing the material needs of their families in order to assure a more appropriate balance between providing enriched experiences and facilitating protection from adversity.

The state of Logan's children and families volume 3: summary and update

Logan Together (Organization)
Meadowbrook, Qld. : Logan Together, Griffith University, 2018.
Logan Together is a long term community development campaign to improve the wellbeing of children and their families in the disadvantaged city of Logan, Queensland. This paper highlights findings from the 2017 report 'The state of Logan's children and families volume 3', which identified how children are faring and which suburbs are at higher risk and need the most support to succeed. The paper explains the importance of this campaign and the use of evidence in supporting targeted policy and investment. Sections include: We need to do things differently; We need to understand Logan; It starts in pregnancy; Perinatal risk factors; Families are where it all happens; Parent support for learning; AEDC data tells us how our children start school; NAPLAN gives an insight into the primary school years; and Some areas really need our attention.

Framing place-based collective impact principles - a public policy response to childhood vulnerability. Vol. 1, Childhood vulnerability, social disadvantage and at-risk communities in Logan, Queensland

Hogan D, Rubenstein L and Fry R
Melbourne, Vic. : Opportunity Child, 2018.
Logan Together is a long term community development campaign to improve child welfare in the disadvantaged city of Logan, Queensland. In collaboration with the Opportunity Child collective, they have prepared this study into how place-based collective impact initiatives might provide new opportunities to break through seemingly intractable wicked problems. Volume 1 provides background information with a detailed analysis of developmental vulnerability in Logan, across its suburbs and in comparison to Australia, drawing on data from the Australian Early Development Census (AEDC). It also considers the extent to which developmental vulnerability is embedded in, and structured by, broader patterns of social disadvantage and stratified social geography, and discusses policy failure in addressing 'wicked problems'.

Place-based collective impact: an Australian response to childhood vulnerability

Hogan D, Rubenstein L and Fry R
Parkville, Vic. : Centre for Community Child Heath, Royal Children's Hospital, 2018.
Collective impact is one type of place-based response that shows promise in addressing childhood vulnerability in communities with high levels of disadvantage. In 2016, more than 80 collective impact initiatives were estimated to be underway in Australia. This paper outlines findings from a research study into the characteristics and principles of collective impact and notes its benefits for policy, practice, and local communities.

Social cohesion and resilience in First Australian family and kinship networks.

O'Brien K
Journal of Family History 552-5473v. 42 no. 4 2017: 440-451
This article highlights how Indigenous family and kinship systems and cultural beliefs in Australia can promote social cohesion in local communities. It features case studies that illustrate community strengths and presents a model that demonstrates the ways in which communities are addressing oppression and inter-generational trauma. The article provides insights into how policy makers and researchers could better understand, identify, and develop the strengths and positive aspects of family and kinship networks.

The state of Logan's children and families: final report on child health and wellbeing in Logan, Queensland

Hogan D
Meadowbrook, Qld. : Logan Together, 2017.
Logan Together is a long term community development campaign to improve the wellbeing of children and their families in the disadvantaged city of Logan, Queensland. It involves a collaborative partnership of government agencies, service providers, and community representatives using a place-based collective impact framework. This report, the third in a series, is a descriptive statistical compendium of key indicators and social determinants of the health and wellbeing of children aged 0-8 in the Logan community. It maps children's health and wellbeing and associated risk and protective factors at a population level, models changes over time, identifies at-risk populations at the suburb level, identifies relationships between outcomes and risk and protective factors at a population level, develops a general theoretical account of the architecture and logic of disadvantage at a population level, and aims to support design and implementation of targeted, place-based, evidence-informed investments. Much data is taken from the Australian Early Development Census (AEDC).

Policy roundtable: emerging patterns in place-based approaches - international perspectives roundtable

Royal Children's Hospital (Melbourne, Vic.). Centre for Community Child Health
Parkville, Vic. : Centre for Community Child Health, Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne, 2017.
This document provides a summary of the presentations and discussions held at the 'Emerging Patterns in Place-Based Approaches - International Perspectives' roundtable, hosted in July 2017 by the Centre for Community Child Health at the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne and the Victorian State Government. The roundtable provided an opportunity for senior government executives from federal and state government departments to hear from experts from the United Kingdom and the United States on how place-based approaches are being applied to address complex social issues affecting children and families overseas, to inform policy and approaches in Australia.

Measuring outcomes in programs for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander families and communities.

Barnes S and Brosnan K
15 March 2017
This webinar will discuss ways to measure the outcomes of programs for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander families and communities. Drawing on past evaluations, practice wisdom and lessons learnt in the field, this webinar will encourage professionals who are thinking about evaluating the outcomes of a program for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander families or communities to consider evidence in a different light. The authors have also published a practitioner resource on this topic: 'Evaluating the outcomes of programs for Indigenous families and communities.'

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.

Logan Together implementation review: final report

Eastgate J and Birskys M
Meadowbrook, Qld. : Logan Together, 2016.
'Logan Together' is a place-based community development campaign to improve the wellbeing of disadvantaged children and their families in the city of Logan, Queensland. This report reviews the establishment phase of the project, up until roughly July 2015. It draws upon a review of the key documents related to the establishment phase of the project, interviews with key informants, and a workshop with project participants. The review finds that a number of elements came together to allow the key partners in Logan Together to muster support, attract funding and launch the initiative. First of these was the history of previous collaborations in child and family welfare in Logan, with relationships in the industry already built and legitimising the practice of collaboration. The report summarises the key elements of Logan Together's creation, analyses the success of the project so far and draws some lessons for future improvement.

Logan Together framework for action

Logan Together (Organization)
Meadowbrook, Qld. : Logan Together, 2016.
'Logan Together' is a community development campaign to improve the wellbeing of disadvantaged children and their families in Logan, Queensland. This document sets out the implementation framework for Logan Together's roadmap of strategies. It discusses Mobilising the Logan community, co-design partnerships, immediate actions, action groups, project development process, clustering projects, resourcing, governance, the role of Industry Chapters and citizen panels, Program Logic, the Logan Together results framework, Results Based Accountability, and timeframes.

Planning and designing healthy new communities: Selandra Rise : research summary

Maller C
Melbourne : VicHealth, 2016.
Selandra Rise is a new housing development located in Melbourne's south-east growth corridor. The development was deliberately designed to implement best practice planning for health and wellbeing, and is a collaborative project of Stockland property group, the Metropolitan Planning Authority, the City of Casey, the Planning Institute of Australia, and VicHealth. VicHealth has funded a five-year research project to study residents' health and wellbeing before and after they moved in and to inform future urban design and planning policy. This summary report outlines the research methodology and findings and presents recommendations for the design of future residential communities in relation to: work travel and health, physical activity, public transport, community engagement, and neighbourhood satisfaction and wellbeing.

Building school, family, and community partnerships : developing a theoretical framework.

Frederico M and Whiteside M
Australian Social Work v. 69 no. 1 2016: 51-66
School, family, and community partnerships are among the suite of strategies advocated for improved school outcomes in which social workers can play a valuable role. Such partnerships are complex to implement in practice and there is little systematic research to guide the practitioner. This study evaluated an early intervention partnership program involving school, family, community, and philanthropic partners implemented in two primary schools in rural Victoria, Australia. The findings highlighted challenges in the process of evaluation and program implementation and in the opportunities this provided to identify key enabling factors. These involved having: a shared vision and aims; democratic governance; a supportive policy and organisational environment including external funding; workers with skills and clear roles; activities for project momentum; and ongoing review and evaluation. These factors can be used by social workers and others working with schools as a valuable conceptual framework to facilitate school, family, and community partnership processes. (Journal article)

Go Goldfields Alliance evaluation report 2012-2014

Central Victorian Primary Care Partnership, Go Goldfields (Program)
Maryborough, Vic. : Go Goldfields, Central Goldfields Shire Council, 2015.
'Go Goldfields' is a place-based, collective impact initiative in the Central Goldfields Shire, Victoria. It aims to address complex social issues and improve outcomes for local children, young people and families. Key goals include reduced rates of child protection notifications, improved communication and literacy skills, improved opportunities and positive life experiences for children and their families, improved community connectedness for children, youth and families, improved youth connection to appropriate training and education, and higher rates of breastfeeding. This report evaluates of the first stage of the Go Goldfields Alliance, focusing on the collective impact of the initiative rather than individual programs. The report describes the program and the evaluation methodology, and discusses impacts, learnings, successes and challenges.

Foundation roadmap, scoreboard and action plan: consultation draft

Logan Together (Organization)
Meadowbrook, Qld. : Logan Together, 2015.
'Logan Together' is a community development campaign to improve the wellbeing of disadvantaged children and their families in Logan, Queensland. This document is the consultation draft of their action roadmap, setting out their vision and goals and how they plan to achieve these aims and measure progress. It features findings from data, the research literature, and initial consultations within the local community. Feedback is invited.

Protect, heal, thrive: lessons learned from the Defending Childhood Demonstration Program

Swaner R
Rockville, MD : National Criminal Justice Reference Service, 2015
In 2010, the U.S. Attorney General launched the Defending Childhood Initiative to prevent the exposure of children to violence and mitigate its negative impacts. The initiative is being trialled in eight sites throughout the country, which have received funding to implement local prevention programs, case management and healing interventions, community awareness and education campaigns, and professional training. This report is a cross-site synthesis of implementation strategies, lessons learned, and promising practices in six of the eight sites: Boston, Chippewa Cree Tribe, Cuyahoga County, Grand Forks, Rosebud Sioux Tribe, and Shelby County. It draws on site visits, interviews with key stakeholders, and implementation reports and planning documents. Though each site has made strategic decisions based on their own local needs, general themes and lessons have emerged. Based on these findings and lessons, this report provides 58 recommendations for other jurisdictions, tribal sites, funders, and evaluators who may be studying similar initiatives.

An outcome evaluation of the Defending Childhood Demonstration Program

Swaner R
Rockville, MD : National Criminal Justice Reference Service, 2015
In 2010, the U.S. Attorney General launched the Defending Childhood Initiative to prevent the exposure of children to violence and mitigate its negative impacts. The initiative is being trialled in eight sites throughout the country, which have received funding to implement local prevention programs, case management and healing interventions, community awareness and education campaigns, and professional training. This report presents an outcome evaluation of six of these eight demonstration sites, in Boston, Chippewa Cree Tribe, Cuyahoga County, Grand Forks, Rosebud Sioux Tribe, and Shelby County. It includes in-depth process evaluations of the sites, cross-site synthesis of findings, lessons learned, promising practices, and recommendations. The evaluation featured a community survey of violence-related attitudes and exposure to awareness campaigns, an evaluation of the impact of training received by professionals who work with children, and a comparison of community-level data before and after program implementation, regarding rates of school violence, violence in the community where children were the victim or the witness, substantiated child abuse, and domestic violence incidents where a child was present.

Thriving in adversity: identification of off-diagonal South Australian communities using AEDC and NAPLAN data

Gregory T, Keech B, Sincovich A and Brinkman S
Adelaide, SA : Fraser Mustard Centre, 2015.
In communities with higher levels of socioeconomic disadvantage, children tend to have a higher level of developmental vulnerability and face more challenges at school. However, there are exceptions. This report looks at disadvantaged communities in South Australia whose children are doing better than expected. It identifies some possible explanations for their resilience and the lessons that may be transferrable to other communities. Eight disadvantaged communities were compared - 4 which were thriving desite adversity, 4 which were performing 'as expected' - drawing on data from the Australian Early Development Census (AEDC) and Year 3 National Assessment Program Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) results.

Parenting programmes effective with whanau

SuPERU (New Zealand)
Wellington N.Z. : Social Policy Evaluation and Research Unit, 2015.
Written for policy analysts and programme developers in New Zealand, this paper summarises the evidence on kaupapa Maori and culturally adapted parenting and whanau development programmes. The programmes reviewed for this study share common characteristics by being strengths-based, whanau-centred, using Maori facilitators, helping bridge the gap between the whanau and social services and engaging the wider community as a means of social support. They help build transformative practices within the whanau and community by strengthening cultural identity and growing knowledge of traditional parenting practices. The paper is based on the chapter 'Maori parenting programmes within the context of whanau' from the 2014 report 'Effective parenting programmes: a review of the effectiveness of parenting programmes for parents of vulnerable children'.

Communities for Children Frankston community strategic plan 2015-2019

Anglicare Victoria
Collingwood, Vic. : Anglicare Victoria, 2015.
The 'Communities for Children (CfC)' government initiative aims to improve the lives of vulnerable children and their families through place-based intervention. This document sets out the 2015-2019 strategic plan for the Frankston CfC site, which has been managed by Anglicare Victoria since 2015. The plan takes a partnership approach to improving child, family and community wellbeing by working collaboratively to overcome the challenges and difficulties of raising children within vulnerable families. The document outlines objectives, outcomes and evaluation, engagement principles, and governance, and provides data comparing Frankston's demography and socioeconomic status with the state and national averages.

Walk alongside: co-designing social initiatives with people experiencing vulnerabilities

Victorian Council of Social Service
Melbourne, Vic. : VCOSS, 2015.
This paper examines how the design and implementation of programs can be co-designed by the people experiencing vulnerabilities whom the programs are meant to assist. Currently, those who are the most vulnerable are the least likely to access services and or maintain engagement with services. The paper gives examples of programs and organisations where this approach has been taken, including providing better support for Aboriginal families, designing adaptive capacities for bushfire preparation, and supporting struggling families to thrive.
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