The Ovens Murray Area Partnership is supporting a range of projects and partnerships across the Area to build local knowledge of what it will take to ensure all children start school ready to thrive.
Ovens Murray Area has two Maternal and Child Health Service Innovation Fund projects, which aim to ensure children and families have access to quality early years services, and that these services respond to the diverse needs of local families.
The Wangaratta Rural City Council is piloting an innovative antenatal home visiting program designed to engage much earlier with families who are at risk or may struggle with parenting, in collaboration with North East Health, Child First and the Department of Health and Human Services. It aims to build greater trust in services and longer-term engagement with families to address post-natal needs.
To date, there are very positive and promising signs that the program is making a difference, including increased take up of services and improved Child and Maternal Health visitation.
The Ovens Murray Area Partnership is supporting an evaluation of the project to understand what worked and support expanding the initiative across the Area.
Towong Shire Council - Increasing engagement in early years services
Towong Shire Council is collaborating with Alpine and Indigo Shires to try different approaches to engage families and children.
Projects in the following three communities will test and try approaches tailored to their communities to improve outcomes for local children. Each will be evaluated for impact and effectiveness and the learnings from the different approaches will be shared across the Ovens Murray Area Partnership:
- Corryong in Towong Shire Council
- Chiltern in Indigo Shire Council
- Myrtleford in Alpine Shire Council
Let's Learn Together is a whole-of-community collective impact approach to improve outcomes for children and young people in Wangaratta.
A key priority of the group is to change community attitudes to family violence. Family violence is a key risk factor for children and can contribute to poor outcomes.
A group of local leaders in Wangaratta is convening discussions with the community to understand priority issues and engage with people from business, sporting clubs, service groups and not-for-profit organisations.
The Area Partnership has supported the group develop its community engagement approach. Facilitators from women's health, the Neighbourhood House sector, TAFE, local government and interested community members have been recruited to encourage broad engagement with local families and and others interested in supporting families.
Once the data has been gathered, a community forum will will provide feedback and engage the community in the solutions. Working groups will be set up to steer priorities.The goal is to develop a community culture that supports all children, young people and their families to achieve their potential. If this approach proves successful, it may be valuable for other communities.
The Ovens Murray Area Partnership is assisting to improve links between the Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Education and Training and local government in relation to the Early Childhood Agreement for Children in Out-of-Home Care.
The Ovens Murray Area Partnership is listening to local families to hear about their experiences of the service system and to better understand what it is going to take to get children to school ready to learn and thrive. This evidence will be used by the Steering Group together with local data to inform next steps.
We have also partnered with the Better Communities for Children Leadership Network in Mansfield. The Area Partnership has contributed to an evaluation of some work in their area to prevent family violence. The learnings from this approach will be shared across the partnership.