ARACY Report Card on the Wellbeing of Young Australians to track by lindayy


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									 31/03/08                           ALLIANCE UPDATE E - NEWSLETTER

                     ARACY Report Card on the Wellbeing of
provides             Young Australians to track progress on outcomes
information on the
latest               ARACY is developing a Report Card that will enable key indicators of the
developments in      health and wellbeing of Australian children and youth to be monitored over
implementing the     time.
ARACY agenda
together with        To provide a consistent framework for international comparisons, it is envisaged that
news on related      the Report Card will be based on the five domains of health and wellbeing used by
projects and
                     UNICEF for its Innocenti Report Card series. The five domains: material wellbeing;
initiatives that
may be of interest   health and safety; educational wellbeing, family and peer relationships; behaviour
to ARACY             and risks; and subjective wellbeing also include a number of data sub-sets. However,
members and          in its most recent review of child wellbeing in OECD countries, the Innocenti
stakeholders         Research Centre noted that Australia was one of nine OECD countries "with
                     insufficient data to be included in the overview" (2007, p.2).

                     As well as the five domains listed above, it is envisaged that the ARACY Report Card
                     will also include a series of indicators relating to 'participation', in line with the data
                     collection framework for member countries of the European Union's Index of Child

                     ARACY CEO Dr Lance Emerson said it was essential to have a clear picture of how
                     young Australians were faring in different dimensions of their lives so that
                     interventions could be targeted and delivered to best effect.

                     Dr Emerson said the Report Card would "not simply focus on the symptoms of
                     systemic problems, but also provide information on factors that were known to be
                     associated with better or worse outcomes in health, development and wellbeing".
                     "If we can identify risk factors early in the pathway, we will be in a more informed
                     position to take action before these risks progress into problems", Dr Emerson said.

                     The ARACY Report Card on the Wellbeing of Young Australians will include data that
                     would enable comparisons between the Australian average, the best performing
                     OECD country and Aboriginal Australians Dr Emerson said. "I'm hoping that three
                     sets of data may be compiled to provide us with an objective snapshot on the
                     wellbeing of Young Australians". The data include:

                         q   an averaged rating of how Australia is performing in achieving positive
                             outcomes for its younger citizens, measured across at least six domains (as
                             listed above)
    q   an averaged rating of how Australia is performing in achieving positive
        outcomes for young Australians of Indigenous origin measured over the same
    q   comparisons with best performance benchmarks in other OECD countries.

Dr Emerson said the indicators presented in the Report Card would be selected on
the basis that they were relevant to both policy and practice and able to support the
identification of key issues and areas in which action needs to be taken. The final
product will include a summary document that sets out the key findings as well as a
larger reference document.

A team of five from the Allen Consulting Group, headed by Mary-Ann O'Loughlin, are
working with ARACY to undertake the early work required to produce the Report
Card, which is expected to be released before the end of 2008. A Reference Group of
ARACY members and UNICEF is overseeing and providing advice on the project.

Further details on the ARACY Report Card are available on the ARACY website, or by
contacting Geoff Holloway (

A copy of the UNICEF Innocenti Report Card: Child poverty in perspective: An
overview of child-wellbeing in rich countries is available at: www.unicef-

ARACY leaders selected to attend
the Australia 2020 Summit
ARACY Executive Director and Chairperson Professor Fiona Stanley and
ARACY Network Coordinator Professor Ann Sanson are amongst the 1,000
leading Australians who have been selected to attend the upcoming
Australia 2020 Summit.

Participants will be assigned to one of ten streams for the two day Summit to be held
in Canberra on 19-20 April. Each stream focuses on a "critical area" identified by the
Government as representing a key challenge to Australia's future for which a long-
term policy response is required.

Professor Stanley has been selected for the stream on the Future of Indigenous
Australia while Professor Ann Sanson will join the stream looking at Strengthening
Communities, Supporting Families and Social Inclusion. ARACY Board Members
Professor Rob Moodie and Ms Elaine Henry have also been seleted to attend the
summit. Professor Moodie will contribute to the stream focusing on a Long-Term
National Health Strategy while Elaine Henry (who is also CEO of The Smith Family)
will be taking part in the stream looking at Future Directions for the Australian

A number of ARACY's founding members are also amongst participants selected to
take part in the Summit.

The full list of participants is available at:
The ten "critical areas" to be addressed by participants are as follows:

   1. Future directions for the Australian economy - including education, skills,
      training, science and innovation as part of the nation's productivity agenda
   2. Economic infrastructure, the digital economy and the future of our cities
   3. Population, sustainability, climate change and water
   4. Future directions for rural industries and rural communities
   5. A long-term national health strategy - including the challenges of preventative
      health, workforce planning and the ageing population
   6. Strengthening communities, supporting families and social inclusion
   7. Options for the future of indigenous Australia
   8. Towards a creative Australia: the future of the arts, film and design
   9. The future of Australian governance: renewed democracy, a more open
      government (including the role of the media), the structure of the Federation
      and the rights and responsibilities of citizens
  10. Australia's future security and prosperity in a rapidly changing region and

A list of, more focused, challenges, questions and issues to be addressed under each
of the ten critical areas is included on the Australia 2020 Summit website.

  ARACY will be making two submissions to the Australia 2020 Summit

      1. The need for a long term national health strategy
      2. Options for strengthening communities, supporting families and
         social inclusion.

  We thank members who have contributed their ideas for the framing of
  these submissions.

Further information on the process for making submissions to the Australia 2020
Summit is available at:
CAPACITY BUILDING - Collaborations and Networks
 Reports from new collaborations supported by
 the ARACY Research Network's Seed Funding Program
 Reports on the developmental work undertaken by six or the 24 new
 collaborations that have been granted seed funding from the ARACY
 ARC/NHMRC Research Network in funding rounds one and two are now
 available on the ARACY web-site.

 Four papers were posted in 2007. Two additional reports have recently been posted,

 Supporting Indigenous Health Professionals: Key issues and supports for
 the adoption of evidence-based behavioural family intervention in
 Indigenous communities

 Prepared by: Karen M.T. Turner, Parenting and Family Support Centre, School of
 Psychology, the University of Queensland.

 "This project has provided a foundation for future research into the determinants of
 program adoption and optimal training processes for indigenous health workers" with
 a focus on supporting the delivery to Aboriginal and Torres families a "parenting
 program that has been proven to reduce the risk factors known to contribute to poor
 child outcomes". Based on consultations with Indigenous professionals and
 government representatives, the report includes a consensus statement detailing
 training and post training issues for Indigenous health workers, a framework for
 culturally sensitive training, and a series of recommendations to enhance the
 effectiveness of training.

 Children's Lived Experience of Poverty: A review of the literature

 Prepared by: Catherine McDonald, Professor of Social Work, RMIT University; the
 NSW Commission for Children and Young People; and the Benevolent Society.

 This analysis structures the literature under two key headings: major approaches to
 the study of children in poverty; and the experience of children living in poverty. The
 three major approaches are identified as income poverty and material deprivation;
 social exclusion/inclusion; and wellbeing and rights based analyses. Studies on the
 experience of children living in poverty are grouped under the categories of low
 income and material deprivation; social relationships and participation; and emotional
 wellbeing. Gaps in the research and understanding are also identified.

   Note: the Access Grid Workshop on the same subject details of which are listed below

 Other reports are available via the link below:
CAPACITY BUILDING - Knowledge Exchange

 Upcoming Access Grid Workshops
 Children's Lived Experience of Poverty
 Date:           Tuesday 22 April, 2008
 Time:           2.00pm AEST, 1.30pm ACST, 12:00pm WST
 Duration:       1.5 hours, presentation followed by discussion
 RSVP closes: Tuesday 15 April, 2008

 Professor Catherine McDonald, Trish Malins and Annette Michaux

 Background Information:
 The current debate on policy surrounding child poverty in Australia fails to include
 the perspective of children themselves. For our policies and services to be successful
 in supporting our children we need to understand what poverty is for them.

 Invariably in research and policy in this area, children's experience is obscured;
 subsumed within the overarching perspective of other social groups experiencing
 similar circumstances (e.g. single parents, unemployed parents). Because of limited
 research in this area we cannot be sure whether our current understandings of what
 it means to be poor are meaningful for children.

 "Children's lived experience of poverty" is a collaborative project involving Professor
 Catherine McDonald, RMIT University, the NSW Commission for Children and Young
 People and The Benevolent Society. The collaboration received seed funding from
 the ARACY ARC/NHMRC Research Network to develop a research study to provide a
 much needed body of new knowledge about children's experience of poverty.

 In this seminar, Professor Catherine McDonald draws together findings from a
 number of activities undertaken, including a national roundtable with experts in the
 area, conversations with children, review of the literature and the development of a
 conceptual framework articulating the importance of understanding the impacts of
 poverty from children's perspectives. In doing so, Professor McDonald will consider
 the question of what is poverty; conceptualisations of children evident in our
 responses to poverty; children's understandings and experiences of poverty; and
 whether we are meeting the needs of children in poverty in Australia.

 Trish Malins will speak about involving children in research, based on learnings from
 conversations with children, while Annette Michaux will share some reflections on the
 collaborative process, obstacles and successes.

     q   Professor Catherine McDonald is Professor of Social Work at RMIT
         University in Melbourne.
     q   Trish Malins is the Research Manager at the Commission for Children and
         Young People in New South Wales.
     q   Annette Michaux is General Manager, Social Policy and Research at The
         Benevolent Society.
Further information on the workshop is available via:

  Reminder: RSVP's close on 1 April 2008 for the Access Grid Seminar below

The ABS Children and Youth Statistical Portal -
What it is and the opportunities it offers
Date:           Tuesday 8 April, 2008
Time:           3.00pm - 4.30pm AEST
RSVP closes: Tuesday 1 April, 2008

Mark Lound, Director, Statistical Coordination
Jeanette Cotterill, Director, National Data Network Business Office
Michael White, Acting Deputy Secretary, Office for Children & Early Childhood

Background Information
The Children and Youth Statistical Portal aims to become a single source for detailed
information about all these resources, including information about accessing the
data. Its objective is thus to improve both the visibility and accessibility of resources.

The initial release of the Portal also contains a discussion forum to enable custodians,
researchers and users to identify, discuss and where possible, resolve issues
impacting on the visibility and accessibility of statistical information resources in this

Further information about this seminar can be accessed via the link below:


Census of Population and Housing:
Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas
A suite of four summary measures on Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA) has
been created by the Australian Bureau of Statistics based on data from the 2006
Census. There are four indexes in the suite each of which provides a summary of a
different set of social and economic information. Within each index a SEIFA score is
given showing how disadvantaged that area is compared with other areas in
Australia. The data are available in spreadsheet format for download with separate
sheets available according to the geographical area of interest including for Local
Government Areas and Postal Areas. A copy is available at:
Longitudinal Study of Australian Children
2007 Research Conference Papers
The inaugural Growing Up in Australia: Longitudinal Study of Australian Children
(LSAC) Conference was held in Melbourne in December 2007 with the aim of
providing "a forum for the discussion of research based on LSAC data and to
highlight its research potential". A number of presentations from this conference are
now available on the Growing Up in Australia website. Topics covered included:
Family structure, quality of the co-parental relationship, post-separation parenting
and children's socio-emotional wellbeing; Working families' use of child care; and
Parent involvement and children's early learning competence. The conference
presentations are available at:

Stronger Families and Communities Strategy national evaluation:
Baseline report on Communities for Children process evaluation
This report from the Social Policy Research Centre presents a summary of baseline
data for the 45 sites across Australia in which the Australian Government's
Communities for Children (CfC) initiative is being implemented as part of the
Stronger Families and Communities Strategy. "It provides an indication of the
demographic and service delivery contexts in which CfC has been implemented… and
reports on some of the issues relating to (its) early implementation". The report
includes information from: demographic profiles; service mapping; a survey of
service coordination and interviews with key personnel on service coordination and
service partnerships. A copy of the report is available at:

Out of home care for children in Australia:
A review of literature and policy
This report is based on a study conducted by the Social Policy Research Centre. The
study reviews trends in out-of-home care, both in terms of the numbers of children
being placed in different types of care and in the ways of organising and supporting
such care. The study also identifies emerging models of care (including the growth in
kinship care) and reviews evidence on the outcomes of different models. Recent
policy developments in each of the States and Territories (current in 2006) are also
presented. A copy of the report is available at:

Supporting the families of young people
with problematic drug use: Investigating support options
This report from Australian National Council on Drugs provides information on the
extent of substance abuse (alcohol and drugs) amongst young people in Australian
together with the impact such abuse has on their family (both immediate and
extended) and household functioning. The report argues that more support is needed
for families coping with young people who are either binge drinking or having issues
with drugs. Based on the study findings, the report identifies a series of principles for
good practice (for organisations and funding bodies, for clinicians, and treatment
content and format). The report also makes recommendations for research, policy
and practice to improve the support available to families dealing these issues. A copy
is available at:
          Inquiry into Children and Young People 9-14 Years in NSW
          The Parliamentary Joint Standing Committee on Children and Young People has
          recently commenced an inquiry about children and young people aged from 9-14
          years in NSW.

          The inquiry will focus on:

               q   the needs of children and young people in this age group;
               q   the impact of age, gender and disadvantage;
               q   the activities, services and support required; and
               q   the impact of changing workplace practices on children and young people.

          Submissions are required by Monday 5th May 2008.

          Further information about the inquiry and the Committee, including the terms of
          reference, can be found at the NSW Parliament website or
          via Jo Alley, Senior Committee Officer on (02) 92302363.

                       Australian Research Alliance for Children & Youth

                           Perth Office: PO Box 1360 WEST PERTH 6872
                      Level 13 Dumas House | 2 Havelock St WEST PERTH 6005
Ph: 08 9476 7800 | Fax: 08 9476 7850 | website: | email:

                           Canberra Office: PO Box 25 , Woden, ACT 2606
            Address: Level 2, Bonner House East, Neptune Street , Woden Plaza , ACT 2606
        Ph: +61 2 6232-4503 | website: | email:

                               Melbourne Office (Research Network)
                          Department of Paediatrics, University of Melbourne ,
                    Royal Children's Hospital, Flemington Road , Parkville , VIC 3052
        Ph: +61 3 9345 5145 | website: | email:

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