Media ReleaseThrive By Five11 Jun 2018

Australia-first mapping tool to improve service delivery to children and families launched

The Western Australian Child Development Atlas is a data source of children’s development using geo-spatial technology.

Child Development Atlas
(Colab Director Professor Donna Cross and Minderoo Director Nicola Forrest with children) Photo Credit: Telethon Kids Institute.

Data on Western Australian children’s health, learning, development and social characteristics will be mapped using geospatial technology so that community leaders and service providers can identify the priority issues for their children.

The Western Australian Child Development Atlas is the first resource of its kind in Australia to bring together and map in one place a range of data sources that are specifically focused on children’s development.

The Atlas will use geo-spatial technology to inform policy making, research and service delivery, and help facilitate coordination between service providers. This technology maps population-level data, grouped into levels of geography (e.g., suburbs), so that patterns in the data can be more readily identified and used for service planning and delivery.

Telethon Kids Institute Director Professor Jonathan Carapetis said the idea for the Atlas came from the Institute’s innovative Developmental Pathways Project team and the Western Australian Government agencies they work with. Together they have pioneer populationlevel data linkage across multiple service sectors in WA.

“Today we are launching the pilot Atlas, which is the first stage of the project,” Professor Carapetis said.

“We will be seeking feedback from policy makers, service providers, and researchers with the aim of providing a publicly-available online resource that enables easy access to comprehensive information on the development and wellbeing of children and young people in each Western Australian community.”

The Atlas has been created thanks to funding from The Ian Potter Foundation and the Minderoo Foundation. The Ian Potter Foundation has given a grant of $406,743 over three years to Telethon Kids, and the Minderoo Foundation has provided funding through CoLab, a partnership between Telethon Kids and the Minderoo Foundation. The project has reached its first milestone, the development of a pilot Atlas, launched today.

Minderoo Foundation CEO Nicola Forrest said the idea for the Atlas aligned with CoLab’s mandate to enable greater visibility and understanding of efforts to improve child and family outcomes.

“We know that to improve child development outcomes we must understand the unique needs of communities and respond accordingly,” Mrs Forrest said.

“The Child Development Atlas will help achieve this by putting data in the hands of those who need it to inform their work.

“Place-based interventions are critical to addressing social inequalities and ensuring equitable access to goods and services, regardless of where children live.”

The Atlas is online and interactive and only requires a web browser to operate. It will include indicators of child and youth development and wellbeing outcomes, providing a snapshot of the state of development of children and young people in each community across WA.

Mr Charles Goode AC, Chair of The Ian Potter Foundation said the Foundation was pleased to support this innovative project to create a comprehensive tool designed to inform policy making, service delivery and community capacity resulting in targeted and better integrated services that will improve children’s learning and development.

“Once implemented in Western Australia, the Atlas also has potential to be established in other states,” Mr Goode said.

The development of the project has involved working closely with Government agencies, researchers, community services and community representatives. Privacy protection measures have been implemented so that no individual data will be displayed or accessible by users, and information will be suppressed for areas with small populations, ensuring that no individual can be identified from the maps.

Minderoo Foundation
by Minderoo Foundation
Established by Andrew and Nicola Forrest in 2001, we are a modern philanthropic organisation seeking to break down barriers, innovate and drive positive, lasting change. Minderoo Foundation is proudly Australian, with seven key initiatives spanning from ocean research and ending slavery, to collaboration in cancer and community projects.
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