Evidencing systems reform with families

Children’s Ground: Evidencing system and service reform led by First Nations families
Wednesday 25 July, 1130 – 1150


Jen Lorains
Children’s Ground

Felicity Hayes
Children’s Ground

Veronica Turner
Children’s Ground

Lorrayne Gorey
Children’s Ground

What works and matters for families can only be identified by families. Children’s Ground (CG) is delivering a 25-year, comprehensive, evidence-informed strategy for service and systems reform, with Aboriginal families and communities making the decisions and delivering and evaluating the services.
Many First Nations families have experiences of systemic exclusion from important service and support systems. Structural, cultural and relational barriers have seen many families excluded from service systems that most Australian children and families access easily.
CG has reformed such systems and is currently implementing and evidencing the process and outcome impact for children, families and communities. The CG System is a whole-of-community approach that focuses on early childhood, but always working with families and the community. Systems reform is delivered as a platform of prevention that integrates early childhood and primary learning, health promotion, social/emotional wellbeing, environmental health, employment, creative arts and community empowerment.
First and foremost, reforming systems has involved First Nations families designing, delivering and evaluating all elements of the system to redress the exclusion many have experienced for generations.
Our participatory action research approach sees families influencing and changing system and service operations based on evaluation data and their daily experiences. This is achieved through weekly community governance meetings, Aboriginal employment and regular engagement with families.
Early evidence from our longitudinal evaluation demonstrates that children and families who were systematically excluded from mainstream learning, health, wellbeing, employment and social services, are engaging.