In 2014, the Communities for Children Bendigo Reference Committee finalised and approved a set of locally defined priority areas/outcomes based on the previous work and reflections by Communities for Children stakeholders and partners. Our key outcomes to be achieved through the Bendigo Communities for Children Bendigo Action Plans are:
- Addressing Family Violence
- Children’s Language and Literacy Development
- Building Parenting Confidence
- Educational and Vocational Pathways for parents
• Why these outcomes?
– Addressing Family Violence
Family violence remains a key issue underpinning child and family vulnerability and a driver for families being linked to family services, Child Protection and children coming into care.
Family violence concerns are related to almost half of all placements of children in out-of-home care, almost half of child protection reports and 71 per cent of substantiations. In 2014–15, family violence was identified as an area of concern in more than 40 per cent of referrals to the entry point to family support services (Child FIRST) and is now the most common presenting area of concern for these services.
– Children’s Literacy and Language Development
The Australian Early Development Census (AEDC) data highlights the ongoing concern regarding children’s language and literacy development. Over 12% of Bendigo children (in first year of school) are developmentally at risk with their regards to communication skills and 8% are developmentally at risk with their language/literacy skills. Given we understand the impact of poor literacy and language skills on children’s education and life chances and that language and literacy development is built through parental attachment, literacy and language development must be a key outcome of the Communities for Children Bendigo Action Plan.
– Building Parenting Confidence and Skills
Parenting skills and confidence has been identified by all C4C Bendigo stakeholders as a key issue in their work in the early years sector. The Australian Early Development Census (AEDC) data shows that over 20% of Bendigo children are vulnerable on one or more of the child development domains and 11.8% are vulnerable on two or more domains. Building parents skills and confidence is critical to ensuring childrens development and clearly there is a need to build targeted approaches to address this issue.
– Educational and vocational pathways for parents
The low participation rates of families experiencing vulnerability in educational and employment is an ongoing concern for C4C Bendigo and its partners. Addressing this issue can have a positive impact in the following areas:
– Builds parent’s confidence and self esteem
– Supports children’s education
– Builds financial security
– Builds social connections and inclusion
Underpinning each of the four outcomes is the need to embed Aboriginal cultural safety in all Communities for Children Bendigo activities and projects, together with specific actions to further build cultural safety and competence.