RCH CCCH Director uses 2018 Christmas message to call for relationships focus to benefit children
The Director of the Centre for Community Children’s Health (CCCH) at the Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne (RCH) has used an end of year message to call for stronger cross sector partnerships between service providers and the children and families they support; and between communities and local, state and national investors and policy-makers.
Using a recent workshop in London as a catalyst to support his thinking, Professor Frank Oberklaid OAM, MD, FRACP spoke about the need for “much more work to be done to move beyond raising awareness to seeing significant improvements in outcomes for children and families”.
Professor Oberklaid said a common theme from the workshop was the critical importance of facilitating stronger relationships, and extending the thinking about relationships beyond the relationship of caregiver and child.
“If we are to improve outcomes for children and families, we need to develop stronger relationships between community members; between service providers and the children and families they support; and, between communities and local, state and national investors and policy-makers,” Professor Oberklaid said.
Professor Oberklaid also said that while the “relationships matter” perspective is not a new one, it was important to make the case for, and invest in, the development of stronger relationships at scale. Acknowledging the pressure on policy makers to deliver interventions or supports that are visible to the community at large, the professor emphasised: “Developing the kinds of relationships that are needed to facilitate real change in the community requires time, resources, patience, and a commitment to doing things differently; all of which are difficult to procure within our short-term electoral cycles.”
“More and more, the evidence suggests that it is not just ‘what’ is delivered to children and families that makes a difference, but ‘how’ and ‘by whom’,” Professor Oberklaid said.
Professor Oberklaid said that his experience, and the experience of others at CCCH was that Australia was “up there with the best (if not leading the way) with regards to advancing positive changes to the way governments think about and invest in early childhood”. He said that he felt positive about the ability of CCCH to progress in their mission of “making the world a more nurturing and responsive place for children and their families” as they move into 2019, asking readers to use the festive period as an opportunity to rest, relax and strengthen relationships with family and friends.
Information about RCH and CCCH can be viewed on the RCH website