New report a catalyst for Midland to lead in collaborative community service delivery
Minderoo Foundation CEO Nicola Forrest, City of Swan Mayor David Lucas, we the people Chairperson Helen Dullard and CoLab Co-Director of Research Kim Clark
Families living in the Midland area could benefit from a new approach to delivering services to vulnerable families with young children, according to a report released today.
East Metropolitan region not-for-profit we the people worked with CoLab, a partnership between the Telethon Kids Institute and Minderoo Foundation, to investigate the needs of local families with children between the ages of zero and eight and the services that exist to support them.
“While most of the children in the Midland region are developmentally ready when they start school, there is a significant minority we believe could improve their development with better support from services and the community,” CoLab Co-Director of Policy David Ansell said.
The report, funded by the East Metropolitan Health Service, identified many programs and services in the local area providing support - including schools and services in early learning and care, parenting, community health, family counselling, family and domestic violence and public housing.
But despite this significant effort and investment, there has been little improvement in the developmental status of vulnerable children in the Midland region in recent years.
“It was not possible through this study to fully evaluate the extent to which the combined community and social services are meeting the needs of local children and their families,” Mr Ansell said.
“However, stakeholder consultations suggest that many services have barriers to uptake and many local families find it difficult to ‘navigate’ the service systems when they need support.”
In launching the report today we the people Chairperson Helen Dullard OAM said it would put a spotlight on child development in the Midland region.
“This report should be a conversation-starter and a catalyst for change,” Ms Dullard said.
“The findings show Midland is ready for a new approach to delivering services to families with young children.
“I would like the community and all decision-makers to be part of a conversation about new ways of service delivery and think about how they might be a catalyst for change in the interests of giving all local children real opportunities.”
The report calls for ‘bottom-up’ service changes and encourages boldness in redesigning services in partnership with families and members of the community. It suggests the next steps are to work closely with local people to find the best solutions for the issues confronting vulnerable families and to remove common roadblocks to children’s early development.
Minderoo Foundation chief executive Nicola Forrest said CoLab was established in partnership with Telethon Kids to provide support for initiatives like this.
“Our mission is to bring high quality evidence and expertise to communities to support the already excellent work underway in places like Midland,” Mrs Forrest said.
“The momentum for change being driven by this community is commendable. We look forward to following and learning from the Midland community as it works to improve outcomes for children and families.”
About we the people we the people, based in Midland, is a service change agent with board members who are experienced and successful community members with expertise in human services, community development, policy, business, governance, education and healthcare. Their mandate is to advocate for the people of the East Metropolitan Region through research and human connections.
About CoLab CoLab is a partnership between Telethon Kids Institute and the Minderoo Foundation which unites the expertise of families, policymakers, clinicians, educators, practitioners and researchers, to work together to improve the learning and development of children and reduce inequality.
About the Minderoo Foundation Minderoo was established by Nicola and Andrew Forrest in 2001 based on the mandate to give a hand up, not a hand out. Since establishment the Foundation has committed $645m to a wide range of causes – from ending modern slavery to improving the lives of Australian children - and worked with over 250 partners in Australia and beyond.
About the Telethon Kids Institute The Telethon Kids Institute is one of the largest, and most successful medical research institutes in Australia, comprising a dedicated and diverse team of more than 500 staff and students. We've created a bold blueprint that brings together community, researchers, practitioners, policy makers and funders, who share our vision to improve the health and wellbeing of children through excellence in research.