CONNE CT GROUPS FOR CHILDREN & FAMILIES PARENT EDUCATION ADVISORY & DEVELOPMENT SERVICES GROUPS FOR REFERRED IN-HOM E SUPPORT FOR FAMILIES SERVICES

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1 Good Beginnings Early Intervention & PRACTICAL PARENTING FRAMEWORK Good Beginnings works with communities to build better outcomes for children. To do that Good Beginnings uses the CONNECT approach to understand the needs in the community and to design and deliver programs that meet those needs. CONNECT is a community development approach based on local ownership and participation. CHILDREN & FAMILIES ADVISORY & CONNE CT PARENT EDUCATION IN-HOM E SUPPORT FOR FAMILIES REFERRED

2 THE CONNECT APPROACH Good Beginnings works with communities to build better outcomes for children. To do that Good Beginnings uses the Connect approach to understand the needs in the community and to design and deliver programs that meet those needs. community to come together around common issues and concerns in ways that break down barriers, increase resilience and decrease isolation. The Connect approach is a community development process focusing on local ownership and participation. Connect provides opportunities for people within a The Connect process is a community development process that underpins all Good Beginnings programs. It is not what Good Beginnings does but the way it is done that makes the difference for children in vulnerable communities. CONNECT Connect is both a philosophy and a process delivered through 5 key steps: 1. Understand Community Needs (based on statistical data and local evidence) 2. Plan in partnership (with community and other agencies) 3. Customised Programs (based on community need) 4. Measure outcomes 5. evaluate and review (continuous improvement) Good Beginnings tries to help families before they have a problem. The Connect process operates at different levels: whole communities, schools, and subsets of communities (for example families of young children). Good Beginnings assists readiness for change so that long-term outcomes can be achieved and sustained.

3 Program Types ADVISORY & CHILDREN AND CHILDREN & FAMILIES FA M I L I E S These are available to all families in a community. The groups provide opportunities for children to learn and for parents and carers to build more confidence and skills in helping children grow. Some groups might be for specific family types (for example, Baby Play2Learn is for families with a child under 12 months), but all groups are open to anyone. ADVISORY & PARENT EDUCATION With over 15 years experience in designing and delivering early intervention and practical parenting programs, Good Beginnings offers advisory and development services in various capacities. The two key services currently offered are Workforce Development and the Wellbeing of Children Report. CONNECT PARENT EDUCATION Short courses for parents and carers to help them understand and best help their children. These sessions are most often run as a series of discussion groups over a few weeks. FOR IN-HOME SUPPORT FA M I L I E S Some families find it difficult to access support services, so Good Beginnings goes to them. Support is often in family homes, but may also be in locations agreed by both parties. Good Beginnings also supports families with a parent in prison. IN-HOME SUPPORT FOR FAMILIES REFERRED These groups are more focused and attendance is by referral or invitation. Focal areas include children in out-of-home care, children who are at risk of neglect or abuse, and children REFERRED who are having difficulty in their early schooling.

4 Detailed Outline of all Programs - REFERRED All children in out-of-home care have opportunities to connect with their family and culture. Children who are at risk of neglect or abuse are safe and cared for. Children in vulnerable communities are nurtured by confident, capable families. To increase children s confidence To increase children s attendance at school A decrease in antisocial behaviour at school To increase parents involvement in the school To increase parents understanding of their child s educational needs. This program develops the parenting skills of parents currently having supervised contact visits with their children. The children are in out-of-home care and so Parents Plus aims to provide a positive connection with the parents. The playgroups are not designed to replace contact visits and do not guarantee parent-child reunification. Outcomes include better adjustment to placement, appropriate developmental progress, a stronger sense of identity and personal history, and a greater likelihood of family reunification. Children who suffer from poor parenting have a greater likelihood of health problems later in life. Play2Grow improves parenting knowledge and skills, and enhances the relationship between parent and child. Kids Connect supports children who are struggling at school to develop social skills that help them reach their potential at school and beyond. By involving parents in the program, the desired outcomes are more likely to be achieved for the children. Fascination

5 Ready for school CHILDREN FAMILIES AND All children have improved capacity to develop, learn and meet age appropriate milestones. Children start school with age appropriate language and social skills for optimal future learning. Parents are confident, skilled and able to meet their child s developmental needs. Families are supported and connected with others in their community. Play2Learn is a group program for under school age children and open to all members of the community. Play2Learn can be tailored to specific community or demographic need (For example: Dad s Play2Learn, Baby Play2Learn). The program provides structured learning activities for children in addition to support and education for parents. Good Beginnings uses Play2Learn to successfully engage with hard-to-reach families from vulnerable communities. It is an opportunity for families with complex needs to connect with support services at a critical early stage of their child s development. Children start school with language and literacy skills that mean they are ready to learn. Children achieve optimal education levels. Today s children are the skilled workforce of the next generation. High quality education in early life is one of the most powerful engines of opportunity. Some children arrive at school without basic skills such as recognising letters and shapes. Learn2Grow Early Years Learning Project tackles this problem so that children start school ready to learn.

6 IN-HOME SUPPORT FA M I L I E S FOR OR Children of prisoners have more positive early life experiences including strong, positive connections with their incarcerated parent. The needs and well being of children are met within a nurturing family environment. All families with young children are adequately supported and able to meet the social, emotional, learning and health needs of their children. Children of incarcerated fathers often face considerable disadvantage, including a strained or distant relationship with their father. Dads & Kids Connect tackles this issue by providing opportunities for families to stay connected. Volunteer Home Visiting is a community based early intervention program providing one-on-one parenting support through volunteers in a family s home or other safe place. The focus is on increasing the confidence and skills of parents to access other community resources. Vulnerable children are safe, healthy and nurtured to reach developmental and learning milestones. Parents are confident and capable of parenting. All participating families have positive social support networks. Intensive Family Support is one-on-one, professional support offered to families with complex needs. Support is generally provided over an extended period of time and most often occurs within the family s home environment. Fun in the Sandpit

7 PARENT EDUCATION Fathers are more active, responsible, and engaged with their families, and monitor their children s behavior. Children achieve optimal relationships with their fathers during the early years. Children have optimum development physically, socially and mentally. Parents preparing themselves for change are engaged, confident and supported in their parenting practices. Tuning into Kids Parents are able to respond to their child s emotions in a supportive and constructive way. Children benefit from improved emotional competence. Participating parents nurture the development of emotional and social competence in their children. Children are able to apply positive conflict management skills and social skills when interacting with peers and others. A pre-natal program designed to assist men in preparation for their new parenting role. Dads Connect can be adapted to suit existing antenatal parenting programs. Happy Families is a parenting program designed by Good Beginnings to support parents, relatives and carers of children who may not usually attend mainstream parenting programs. The program is designed to be flexible and adapted to meet the specific needs the community. Practical parenting topics may include communication skills, child development, behaviour guidance, nutrition, challenges, self care and play. Tuning in to Kids (TiK) is a parenting program developed at the University of Melbourne. The programs helps parents and children understand and regulate their emotions. TiK combines parent education and child clinical psychology approaches. It also provides information, strategies and resources for parents of 4-5 year old children. The Incredible Years (IY) Training Series is a set of 3 comprehensive, multifaceted, and developmentally based curricula for use with groups of parents, teachers and children. The program is designed to promote emotional and social competence and to prevent, reduce, and treat aggression and emotional problems in young children 0-12 years old. 123 Magic TM Parents have the skills to manage their child s challenging behaviour in a positive way. Children have increased ability to self manage their behaviour. The Magic program teaches parents simple behaviour management skills that aim to promote the development of children s emotional intelligence Magic uses cognitive-behavioural strategies. Triple P Positive Parenting Program Parents are skilled and confident in nurturing their children and manage challenging behaviour in a positive way. Children develop and learn in protective and nurturing family environments. The Triple P-Positive Parenting Program is a parenting and family support model. Triple P aims to prevent behavioural, emotional and developmental problems in children by enhancing the knowledge, skills and confidence of parents. The program targets the developmental periods of infancy, toddlerhood, pre-school, primary school and early adolescence. Circle of Security (COS) Parents are aware of attachment theory and its application to nurturing and supporting their child s development. Children thrive in safe and nurturing environments. The COS is a visually based approach to helping parents better understand and respond to the needs of their children. It is based upon attachment theory and current neuroscience and can be used in a variety of settings. Themes covered include attachment theory, recognising and responding to children s needs, and using reflective dialogue to explore both strengths and areas of difficulty in parenting. These programs are external models licensed by Good Beginnings.

8 ADVISORY & Children in high-need and vulnerable communities have optimal social, physical, emotional and cognitive wellbeing. Families nurture healthy development and wellbeing of children. Wellbeing of Children Reports from around Australia are used to inform a National Outcomes Framework for children. The Wellbeing of Children Report is an initiative that aims to: Provide accurate data to service providers and community stakeholders in our most vulnerable communities, to nurture the healthy development and wellbeing of children: Establish priorities for action within a community directed to the wellbeing of children. Provide a baseline of key factors associated with the wellbeing of children and their families, from which to evaluate the efficacy of any interventions specific to a community Enable directed, efficient, locally-owned responses to the needs of children and their families in a community. Good Beginnings Australia believes that the way to achieve directed, efficient, locally-owned responses to the needs of children and families in high-needs communities is to: Establish a complete working group or coalition of service providers / agencies / community organisations in high-needs communities to pool knowledge and expertise on the needs of children and families in these communities. This will be led by a Community Leadership Group with responsibility for the process and outputs. Complete a Wellbeing of Children Report specific to the local community that reflects the principles of a Child Friendly City and measures all key data sets relevant to the wellbeing of a child. Develop Community-Led Action Plan (community development approach) based on the findings of the Wellbeing of Children Report. This action plan would involve the Community Leadership Group convening workshops for service providers and community representatives. Relaxation

9 ADVISORY & Program name More on the Wellbeing of Children Report Development In the proposals for the next three year action plan ( ) for the National Framework for Protecting Australia s Children , the Coalition of Organisations Committed to the Safety & Wellbeing of Children places a strong emphasis on greater differential emphasis to secondary prevention interventions aimed at tackling the underlying causes and precedents of child abuse and neglect, and respond(ing) early to the needs of at risk or vulnerable families and children to reduce the effects of trauma and harm (emphasis inserted). One of the key planks is the proposal for place-based funding in high needs areas where there is a known complexity in the range of service offerings available and where entrenched problems for families and children exist and where current service infrastructure is struggling to make inroads. The Child Friendly Cities framework promulgated by UNICEF from 1996 has not been widely adopted in a structured way in Australia. This framework advocates a local action planning and reporting in conjunction with any national plan. The framework is firmly rooted in the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child. The concept of place based or location based initiatives is not new. In 2010 the Federal government through the Social Inclusion Board identified five key elements to be considered with a priority being: Devolution of decision making and meaningful local involvement (page 3) Until now the response has been to layer multiple interventions from both government and non-government agencies at local, state and federal level, in a confusing labyrinth that results in inefficiency, lack of local ownership, lack of coordination and wasted resources. In most areas there is a lack of one unifying picture of the wellbeing of children in a community, and the coordinated community responses to evidenced gaps in wellbeing. A one-sided response to this challenge has been what is known as service mapping, where all of the available services for children and families are clearly articulated. This does not provide clear picture of the true needs of the community and fails to focus services on outcomes. The Commonwealth has responded by including actions to bring together government and non-government organisation to meet the needs of families in the Second three-year action plan Specific actions are to: - Trial locally based strategies for working with households with complex needs with a cost benefit analysis to inform future service models; - Develop local initiatives based on person-centred approaches through localised pilots of pooled funds; - Develop and implement local place-based initiatives to support the safety and wellbeing of children in Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory. State Governments in Australia have approached this issue in a variety of ways. For example, the Victoria Government has been producing a State of Victoria s Children Report since Whilst this report can direct high level Government resource allocations the data is too broad to assist local communities in understanding the wellbeing of their own children. One notable exception is Bendigo (Victoria). The State of Bendigo s Children report (published March 2011, see: grew from a strong working group of service providers and agencies who now implement coordinated action based on the findings of this report. The Bendigo Child Friendly City Leadership Group has successfully implemented The State of Bendigo s Children report and established a strong working group of service providers and agencies to implement an action plan against the report. It is Good Beginnings Australia s view that the Bendigo initiative is a best-in-class approach to locally-led community responses to the needs and interests of children in vulnerable communities. The Wellbeing of Children Report provides Good Beginnings with an opportunity to develop an advisory arm utilising its established strengths in building local agendas and the Connect methodology.

10 ADVISORY & Expression Develop local workforce capacity in the communities in which Good Beginnings provides programs and services. Demand in the sector for staff with higher level qualifications is expected to continue growing as clients present with more complex needs, and community expectations of standards of care and greater accountability in the delivery of outcomes rise. Addressing workforce development requires local initiatives that build local skills. Good Beginnings takes a collaborative, strengths-based approach to addressing skill development through the mentoring of trainees (and pre-trainees ) in family support/community services, providing an opportunity to address current capacity shortages in the long term workforce. The Good Beginnings partnership approach is demonstrated by deliberate partnering with local Registered Training Organisations (RTO s) to build local skills. Program name MORE ON WORKFORCE Employment in NFP s grew from 6.8% of the labour force in 1999/2000 to 8.5% in 2006/07, A with social and community services comprising approximately half of that total. The community services labour force is distinctly different from Australian workers overall, with a relatively high proportion of female workers and those over 45. There is also a greater tendency to work part-time than in other industries. This profile is in part attributed to the nature of the work offered, while at the same time prevailing wages and conditions may limit the ability to attract workers from other industries or to recruit younger workers. B In other sectors participation of women increased with improvements in permanent wages. C Demand in the sector for staff with higher level qualifications is expected to continue growing as clients present with more complex needs, and community expectations of standards of care rise 1. This will also be driven by a greater demand by government (as the predominant source of funding) for greater accountability in the delivery of outcomes. Social issues in Aboriginal communities are best addressed by local, respected community members where family, language and culture are at the forefront of effecting positive outcomes for children and their families. Yet skills in these communities are still scarce. A collaborative, strengths-based approach to addressing social issues through the mentoring of people in family support/community services provided by an organisation proficient in these skills provides an opportunity to address current capacity shortages in the long term workforce. Good Beginnings can contribute to workforce development through partnering with Registered Training Organisations to build local skills. This investment is likely to see significant interest from governments challenged with increasing labour productivity. A. Productivity Commission (11 February 2010). Contribution of the Not-for-Profit Sector. Productivity Commission of Australia. B. Australian Bureau of Statistics (2004) Australian Social Trends, efa/04f939b2142b4fedca256e9e0028b542!OpenDocument. C. Cai, Lixin (21 January 2010). Work Choices of Married Women: drivers of change. Productivity Commission of Australia.

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