Increasingly, governments, philanthropy, practitioners and communities in Australia have recognised place-based approaches as a means to tackle disadvantage and address the complex problems faced by children and families in today’s society. However, there is a perceived lack of cohesion in describing place-based approaches as well as limited coordination across policy, practice and research in designing, executing and supporting place-based initiatives. In response to these issues, the Australian Government Department of Education funded the Centre for Community Child Health to examine the Australian place-based landscape and consider:
the evidence for place-based approaches to improve children’s wellbeing
current place-based activity promoting children’s wellbeing across Australia
issues and opportunities for accelerating Australian place-based approaches.
Overall, the project sought to answer whether place-based initiatives to promote children’s wellbeing could be better supported by a
national effort to stimulate knowledge exchange, collaboration, dialogue and learning between policy makers, researchers, practitioners and communities.
This final report, The state of play, draws from and summarises three key publications produced by the Centre for Community Child Health during the project:
1. The evidence – summarising what we know about place-based approaches.
2. A snapshot of place-based activity – documenting who is driving, doing and supporting place-based initiatives in Australia.
3. Big thinking on place – outlining expert-identified issues and opportunities for getting place-based activity moving.
This report provides recommended action to accelerate place-based efforts to improve children’s wellbeing and address inequalities in Australia, based on project findings.
A literature review was undertaken to bring together the latest research on place-based approaches, stimulate thinking and to help craft a common way of talking about ‘place’. This report provides a brief summary of the evidence that is expanded upon in The evidence. It focuses on the following key questions:
• What are place-based approaches?
• How do they work?
• What is the evidence of efficacy?
• What evidence is missing?
A snapshot of activity
A ‘snapshot of activity’ was developed to better understand who is driving, doing and supporting innovative or well-known examples of place-based approaches in Australia. It was thought that this information offered the greatest value to the sector and would help to identify organisations or initiatives supporting, or with the potential to support, the strategic coordination of place-based approaches. This report documents the key findings that are expanded upon in A snapshot of place-based activity.
Big thinking on place
We listened to 23 experts across policy, practice, research and philanthropy to understand the issues and opportunities for accelerating effective place- based practice to improve children’s wellbeing. Consultations revealed a number of issues or gaps that were perceived to diminish the effectiveness of child-focused, place-based initiatives in Australia, and a series of solutions were offered by participants in response to these issues/gaps.
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.