Improved Service and School Connections with Families
There is strong evidence that access to health and social care is the most significant community and family based protective factor available for children from antenatal through to primary school. The Improved Service and School Connections project is focused on improving access for families to these supports by co-locating them within schools where families already have connections and are safe spaces, as part of the Community School model. Research tells us that integrating services into schools addresses health, welfare and education needs of children and young people more effectively. Families can access services early and easily.
The working group has a broad representation of services including, ACT Libraries, CRCS Family Programs, Canberra Health Services, EACH, Cyclabilities, UnitingCare Kippax Parenting Program, Ginninderry, and University of Canberra.
This project will also contribute to the Education Directorate’s Future of Education Strategy which recognizes that “A strong education system requires a strong community, with schools acting as a hub for education and support services.”
Improved Service and School Connections with Families Working Group
This project aims to make it as easy as possible for parents and carers to raise their children by bringing together health, community and education providers to improve accessibility to child and family support services and resources.
- In the short term this project will contribute in identifying and reducing typical barriers to engagement with services and fostering collaboration and connections between families, schools, playgroup networks, the community services sector and government agencies.
- In the medium term this project will support in developing a coordinated and collaborative approach to providing service and program support to families
- In the long term this project will develop strategies to improve accessibility and relationships with child and family support services.
- Improve accessibility and relationships with child and family support services,
- Improve collaboration between services, and
- Improve relationships between families and schools before formal schooling begins.
- In turn it is hoped that, in meeting the above, parent’s knowledge of child development and positive parenting practices will also improve.
Improved Service and School Connections with Families Progress
The Improved Service and Connections with Families Working Group is collaborating closely with Evatt Primary School to develop and trial a similar concept to community schools. One of the features of this is The Collective at Evatt which involves community services co-locating at Evatt on a weekly basis to connect, collaborate and support the delivery of targeted and coordinated services that meet the needs of the local community. The Collective forms part of Family Connect which aims to build connections and better understand support services that are available. Over time there will be opportunity to strategically partner/work with services that will meet Evatt community needs.
Family Connect is the inspiration of Evatt Primary School and is a new community initiative located at the school. The model aims to improve outcomes for children and their families by bringing together early years learning, education, wrap-around health and community services – all under one roof. It is a co-designed model that will support children and families as they grow, learn and thrive. Family Connect is managed by Evatt Primary School however is accessible to any family wanting to access connected services.
Critical to the success of this collaboration and concept has been the strongly aligned vision that the school leadership team have had in seeing this idea evolve from concept to implementation. Also the willingness of services to co-locate within the school and work together to progress the ideas.