Building blocks: best practice programs that improve the wellbeing of children and young people – edition two

14 Jul 2014

Since the inception of the role of the Commissioner for Children and Young People WA in December 2007, the approach of the office has been to focus on what the best available research and evidence says about the wellbeing of our youngest citizens.

This report, Building Blocks Edition Two, contributes to this by providing a second resource of best practice and promising programs that have been shown to – or have strong potential to – improve the wellbeing of Western Australian children and young people.

Edition One of Building Blocks was tabled in the Parliament of Western Australia in February 2012 and contains 82 best practice and promising programs. This Edition Two report identifies a further 44 programs (22 best practice and 22 promising) from across Australia, classified under the same eight categories of wellbeing as Edition One.

Together, the two editions of Building Blocks list and detail 126 programs (63 of which operate in WA) which have been demonstrated as having a positive impact on the wellbeing of our children and young people. The list of all 126 programs is available in Appendix 1.

It is important that we continue to build the evidence base to inform the allocation of resources that strengthen the wellbeing of children and young people.

In creating this central resource of programs, it has been possible to identify the common features of best practice programs and factors that agencies should consider when implementing a service, and this important information has been outlined in the chapter ‘Considerations for Service Providers’.

It is also important to give consideration to some of the broader factors which underpin the successful implementation of programs into individual communities, such as meaningful community engagement; local design; reciprocity and strong and engaged leadership.

The 126 programs listed in the two reports should not be considered a comprehensive list of all effective programs from across Australia. New programs for children and young people are established regularly, and other potentially effective programs are yet to be formally assessed.

Within WA, examples of such programs include Nature Play and the KidSport initiative, both of which are generally well-regarded without yet being subject to an in-depth review; Signs of Safety Child Protection Framework which is currently undergoing evaluation; and the Family Support Networks program which is an example of non-government and government working together to deliver effective services.

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