Initial activity has focussed on the early years, ensuring children have the best start in life. Examples include:
Funded through the Maternal and Child Health innovations fund, this is a shared initiative across the local government areas of Gannawarra, Swan Hill and Buloke.
The project builds on the recognised need for simple communication protocols and tools to better enable all services to support families with complex needs through pregnancy and with children up to eight years in a more continuous, coordinated way.
The project is driven by a Project Steering Group. Together they have built a local model that aims to keep all eyes on the child. The model:
- applies the Team Around the Child framework to bring together local services to identify needs, develop a plan and implement
- uses the Patchwork tool, to connect services working with the same client
- uses the Continuum of Needs framework as a "common language" around risk and needs assessment
The project is commencing a trial phase in mid February with six key agencies to "road test" the model and resources ready for full implementation from June 2017.
In November 2016, 29 Mallee schools undertook the Middle Years Development Instrument (MDI) to gain a better understanding of specific developmental needs that can impact a young person’s wellbeing, engagement and achievement. The survey was undertaken by students in years 4 – 9. It can be done on an annual basis.
The MDI survey provides an opportunity for young people to tell us about their lives, what they think and feel, and about what they experience. The MDI provides school and community level data to assist school leadership teams to respond to the needs of their young people in real time.
The tool originated in Canada, but has since been adapted for use in Australia, and trialed in South Australia and two areas of Victoria: Whittlesea and North Frankston. It is now being offered to schools across the Department of Education and Training's North Western region.
Across the Mallee (Northern and Southern) 29 schools have opted to participate. Students are being asked to access the survey online, and school level reports will be forwarded to Principals. Community level reports will be available for partners and external agencies.
The data provided by the reports will help us target our efforts at a school level and more broadly at the community level, ensuring that we are working together around issues that children and young people have identified themselves.
To support schools with next steps, three local workshops have been organised across Mallee in Mildura, Kerang and Wycheproof in late Feb and early March 2017.
Hands Up Mallee, an initiative of the Northern Mallee Community Partnership, recognises that we need to do something different to have an impact on complex social issues in our community.
Its goal is to move from approaches that work only within the service sector and may have an isolated impact to working across sectors and with the wider community for improved results against the statistics.
The Hands up Mallee Directions Paper released in June 2016 makes the point that this is not about beating the odds, it is about changing the odds.
The initiative embraces the concept of Collective Impact which recognises that large scale social change comes from collective community effort rather than isolated policies, organisations and programs.
Hands Up Mallee invites organisations, businesses, governments, community groups and individuals to contribute their efforts, resources and energy toward the same community goals.
For more information contact Cheree Jukes.
This initiative aims to increase the number of and attendance rates at playgroups in Gannawarra Shire Council to improve children’s readiness to start school. The idea for this initiative came out of consultations with Gannawarra Early Years Playgroup Think Tank.
As a result of this work Ganawarra Shire Council has:
- linked local services to attend the playgroups once a month to support the coordinator and local families
- established a new playgroup in Kerang
- established a pop up playgroup in Koondrook
- all schools across the Gannawarra Shire have committed to develop a Transition booklet in readiness for the 2017 school year
- held a ‘Getting Ready for School’ evening was held in Kerang.
For more information contact Mandy Hutchison.