Literature review

The evidence: what we know about place-based approaches to support children’s wellbeing

4 Nov 2014

The evidence summary begins by considering the importance of place. This leads to a discussion of why different approaches to services and service delivery are required, including a brief description of recent changes in the conditions in which families are raising young children and the complex social problems we face. Consideration is given to defining place-based approaches and their evolution in Australia, citing examples from the United States (US), United Kingdom (UK), Canada and Australia.

Key features and dimensions of place-based approaches explores the key features of place-based approaches in more depth and examines how the various Australian initiatives incorporate them into their models. The evidence of efficacy for place- based approaches is then reviewed, focusing on building community and interagency partnerships and place-based action planning and intervention.

What evidence is missing? focuses on gaps in our knowledge and what we still need to learn about establishing collaborative partnerships and successfully implementing place-based interventions. The final section wraps up what we know about the key elements of place-based approaches.

The evidence summary concludes that we are still at a relatively early stage of implementing place-based initiatives, and argues that none of the current Australian initiatives have incorporated all the key features.

This publication has been developed by the Centre for Community Child Health at the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute and The Royal Children’s Hospital as part of the Collaborate for children: scoping project funded by the Australian Government Department of Education. It summarises the evidence on what we know and are still yet to learn about place-based approaches to improve children’s outcomes.

Over 12 months, the project investigated the Australian place-based landscape to understand how we can better promote children’s wellbeing through place-based initiatives. This publication is one of four key reports produced through the project. The reports are:

  • The evidence: what we know about place-based approaches to support children’s wellbeing
  • A snapshot of place-based activity promoting children’s wellbeing – who is driving, doing and supporting place-based initiatives
  • Big thinking on place: getting place-based approaches moving
  • The state of play in Australian place-based activity for children – a summary of project findings with recommendations for accelerating place-based efforts.
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