A new report on families with 0-4 year olds in the Midland area aims to help shape development of the sector and ensure parents are better placed to access support in their efforts to ensure the healthy development of their babies and toddlers.
Through funding from the WA Primary Health Alliance, CoLab conducted the Early Years Services Consultation Project, embedding a staff member in the Midland community for six months and consulting with more than 120 mothers and carers of children aged from 0 to 4.
Organisations and staff that provide services to these families were also consulted, providing a comprehensive overview of families and their experiences accessing services in the region from pregnancy and in the months and years following the birth of their child.
CoLab co-director Dr Kim Clark said many of the families that took part in the report were from Aboriginal and multicultural backgrounds.
“The Midland consultation certainly told us that trusted local sources of advice matter most and that families with young children were unlikely to give any service a second chance if they felt judged or unwelcome,” Dr Clark said.
“What is very revealing from the Midland consultation is that known and trusted people are absolutely vital when it comes to helping vulnerable parents navigate daily challenges and work out what they can do.”
“Often these people help vulnerable parents bolster their strengths by coaching, advocating, walking alongside and going the extra yard. All this takes time, great skill and persistence but it is absolutely critical to assisting vulnerable families.”
The report concludes that in Midland, these people are ensuring issues of local children’s development gets prioritised and their work, alongside local parents, is bringing better outcomes for local kids.
The Midland report will be used to consult with regional and State peak organisations in helping to shape a local ‘worlds-best’ early years system.