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Children's Health and Development - June 2016

  • In this issue:

    Productivity Commission - education evidence base

    The Productivity Commission's public inquiry into the national evidence base for school and early childhood education was a welcome opportunity to provide feedback. 

    The Productivity Commission was asked to provide advice on a national approach to collecting and using data for early childhood education and care and schools in order to improve Australia’s educational outcomes. The Commission’s report is expected to be released in August 2016, and will contain recommendations about:

    • the information required for a comprehensive evidence base that will inform policy development in early childhood and school education, now and in the future
    • current data holdings and potential additional information, including how that information might add value to the existing evidence base
    • existing or potential barriers to sharing or accessing data, and how these might be overcome
    • the role that technology and mobile devices can play in the scope, quality and timeliness of data collection and reporting
    • the costs and benefits of potential improvements to the national education evidence base.

    Our key recommendations to the Commission included:

    • that the scope of the evidence base should include children younger than 4 years of age, and should include all children, regardless of whether they attended early education programs outside of the home, left school before Year 12, or did not attend school for other reasons
    • that education outcomes must extend beyond purely academic outcomes, and likewise, schools cannot only be about education
    • that more rigorous trials of education interventions and evaluation of policy impact on children’s health, development, learning and wellbeing should be seen as an urgent and fundamental policy imperative
    • that building demand for and capacity to use data is essential to realise the potential benefits of a national education evidence base.

    You can read our full report here.

    National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)

    Raising Children Network has partnered with the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) to produce a series of new articles and videos to help parents become NDIS ready.

    This new series will support the national rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

    The rollout will begin on 1 July 2016. Over the coming years, the scheme will grow to support 140,000 Australian children aged 0 to 14 who have a disability.

    The NDIS represents a significant change to the way that services and support are provided to children and families. These new resources will help parents to become NDIS ready and prepare for the coming changes. They include text articles and videos covering common queries including: what is the NDIS; how can parents access it; how to choose services; early intervention; and transitioning from Better Start and Helping Children With Autism to the NDIS.

    Visit the new NDIS section on the Raising Children Network website

    Visit the Raising Children Network website, or follow us on Facebook or Twitter (@RCN_AUS).

    Brilliant Minds

    In 2016, the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute celebrates its 30th anniversary. To celebrate that milestone, MCRI has published new publication that highlights the diverse achievements of the Institute. Brilliant Minds shines a spotlight on just a fraction of the compelling research that has contributed to improving children’s health and wellbeing.

    The Centre for Community Child Health is proud to see five of the Centre for Community Child Health’s team members featured. They are:

    • Professor Frank Oberklaid OAM for his work in reading and literacy
    • Professor Sharon Goldfeld for her work in children’s education
    • Professor Melissa Wake for her work in child development
    • Associate Professor Harriet Hiscock for her work in children’s sleep
    • Doctor Anna Price for her work in sleep techniques for children.

    Congratulations to all those involved in MCRI’s valuable research work and especially to our Centre’s star researchers – whether featured or not. Take a look at Brilliant Minds

    Engaging communities for kids and families

    What does engagement involve and how can it improve outcomes for children and families?

    In recent decades, there have been major changes in the sorts of conditions under which families are raising young children. The end result is that our traditional service system is stretched to breaking point trying to offer all families the support they need. Supporting the service system to work effectively with all children and families is a challenge, particularly in the case of those families who generally make little use of services.

    Community engagement could offer a way for services to be more responsive to their community’s needs.

    Community Engagement: A key strategy for improving outcomes for Australian families unpacks the evidence for the efficacy of a community engagement process that sees service providers seek out community values, concerns and aspirations, and incorporate them into their decision-making processes. The ongoing partnership that service providers create out of this process can ensure that community priorities and values continue to shape their services and service system.

    Read Community Engagement: A key strategy for improving outcomes for Australian families now.

    Program for Students with Disabilities review

    The Victorian Government's response to the Program for Students with Disabilities review was released in April 2016. The Centre for Community Child Health was proud to contribute to the review.

    As part of Victoria’s Education State election pledge, the Labor party committed to reviewing the Program for Students with Disabilities – the program that funds those children who need extra assistance to support them to achieve their best learning outcomes.

    The Centre for Community Child Health contributed two reports to that review, looking at how to support those children who have dyslexia, and those who have an autism spectrum disorder.

    You can read the full report, which covers the Centre’s work in Chapter 6, and a summary of the Government’s response to this review.

    Child Public Health program - register now!

    The Child Public Health program offers you the opportunity to learn about the factors that influence the health, development and wellbeing of children, and the implications of these factors for the life course. The program provides participants with skills and knowledge to understand and respond to child public health issues.

    The program is coordinated by the Centre for Community Child Health and offered as a Masters level subject through the University of Melbourne, but is also open to professionals who are interested in completing the course as part of their continued professional development.

    The Child Public Health program is designed to enable participants to:

    • Develop an understanding of factors that influence the health, development and wellbeing of children and the implications of these factors on the life course.
    • Increase participants’ knowledge of the principles underpinning public health approaches to the health, development and wellbeing of children, through exploration of contemporary child public health issues, policy and practice.
    • Gain experience in addressing contemporary child public health issues.

    Date: 14, 15, 18, 19, 20, 21 July 2016 (6 days)

    Venue: The Royal Children’s Hospital, Flemington Road, Parkville

    Time: 9.00am - 4.30pm

    Places are limited — register early to avoid disappointment!

    Click here for more information and to register.

    Child behaviour

    As children grow and develop, they are working to develop the skills that help them regulate and balance their emotions. At the same time, they’re developing lots of other skills and abilities and this can all lead to clashes between parents/carers and children.  

    The great relationships that parents and other adults have with young children help children to develop the emotional and behavioural skills they’ll need for life. With these loving relationships and clear, safe and consistent boundaries, children and families can get through the peak difficult behaviour time of the toddler years.

    You can read more about how children develop their emotional regulation and behaviour skills in the May editions of Community Paediatric Review and Grow & Thrive. Both publications also include information sheets to share with families.

    Subscribe to Community Paediatric Review | Subscribe to Grow & Thrive

    Early Learning – Everyone Benefits

    Launched in May, the Early Learning – Everyone Benefits campaign is striving to raise awareness of the lasting benefits of quality early learning and care. Find out how you can support this important campaign.

    The early years have a profound and lasting impact on lifelong health, development, learning and wellbeing. Early Learning – Everyone Benefits seeks to raise awareness of the enduring and significant social and economic benefits that investment in quality early learning can bring. The campaign is working for all Australians to see the value that quality universal early childhood education has for our future prosperity.

    Join the many individuals and organisations lending their names and efforts to this critical campaign. Show your support and sign up at


Murdoch Childrens Research Institute

The Centre for Community Child Health is a department of The Royal Children’s Hospital and a research group of Murdoch Childrens Research Institute.