In March 2012, leaders with an interest in the early years representing health, education, research and policy, gathered to build a shared understanding of place or location as a platform for supporting children and families.
With the understanding that the agenda for place-based approaches is well advanced in Australia, the aim was to clarify the challenges and extend existing approaches to address the complex issues faced by families.
Building on the November 2011 Policy Brief: Placebased approaches to supporting children and families, the roundtable considered the challenges of translating research into action to address the ‘wicked’ issues facing some neighbourhoods. Based on provocative presentations and influential discussions, the roundtable participants heard that:
incidental encounters, social connections and local networks matter
the impact of locational disadvantage is greater than the sum of its individual parts
in its current configuration, the service system is unable to meet the challenges raised by locational disadvantage
redevelopment is needed at the interface between communities and services, addressing the social gradient is core to improving outcomes
there is reasonable evidence that sustained approaches (Communities for Children, Neighbourhood Renewal) lead to positive change, but commitment to sustained policy is needed
change is inevitable, we cannot continue to do the same thing and expect a different result.