Research, theory and best practice in childhood development indicate that the totality of the child’s experience (both within the immediate family and the broader community) matters, that gaps in health and support can have a profound and lifelong impact, that successful interventions are predicated on the degree to which the client participated in decision making, and the most effective approach is a universal, coordinated and holistic one.
Unfortunately, services for children, young people and their families remain disjointed and compartmentalised within different government Departments.
This is why we are calling for coordinated client-centred services and supports that meet the needs of children, young people and families, with client participation a central component of service development.
The Council and the wider early years sector continues to support the establishment of an Office of Early Childhood. As a starting point, we are calling for an overarching outcomes framework that supports and informs the provision of services that engages children, young people and families with the government agencies and community organisations that support them in a common approach.
There is an important link to be made between the provision of universal, secondary and crisis services as part of an integrated approach. The community sector’s advocacy for the provision of more child health nurses provides a good example. Their role in universally monitoring child development during the crucial first three years creates an opportunity for the early identification of problems, and prompt referral to secondary or support services that may prevent or reduce the severity of these problems in the longer term, producing better outcomes for the child and reducing the longer-term cost to the community.
These services need to be universal, scalable and responsive, in line with the principle of proportionate universality. Different services seek to address at a broad level the social and developmental needs of children in the early years; children in the middle years; adolescents; young people aged 18-25 years; parents and families.
• A single comprehensive outcomes framework for children and young people;
• A state-wide strategy for coordinating early childhood programs on or near school sites;
• Universal services for engaging young people at risk;
• Provision of universal parenting services;
• Targeted childcare program where current funding is inadequate;
• Integrated approach to secondary services; and
• Improved services for victims of family and domestic violence.
Printed and Authorised by Irina Cattalini. 2 Delhi Street, West Perth. WA 6005