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First 1000 Days Australia Newsletter

Highlights from 2017

First 1000 Days Australia – the Australian Model of the international 1,000 Days movement – aims to provide a coordinated, comprehensive strategy to strengthen Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families so they can address their children’s needs from preconception to two years of age, thereby laying the best foundation for their future health and wellbeing.

In this newsletter:

Message from the Executive Director

2017 was an important year for First 1000 Days Australia, one that we are going to be able to build on in 2018! Some of the highlights include:
  • receiving funding from the Queensland Government and the National Health and Medical Research Council
  • establishing implementation partnerships with Save the Children Australia, Townsville Aboriginal and Islanders Health Services and the Stronger Smarter Institute in Moreton Bay
  • employing two Regional Implementation Managers for Townsville and Moreton Bay
  • training more than 200 community members and professionals on First 1000 Days Australia work
  • initiating a subject in the Melbourne School for Population and Global Health Master in Public Health
  • developing a Peer Researcher program that is currently being accredited to VET standards
  • growing our international partnership base through funding from the Sami Parliament and the Australia–Indonesian Centre
  • holding a successful Summit in Brisbane attended by nearly 200 people. 
We are going to build on these and other initiatives in 2018. We held our team planning meeting in December and mapped out a year’s worth of activity across NT, NSW, QLD and VIC. We are also creating more training programs and scholarships for people to participate in our short courses and will be providing regular updates on our website and calendar of events.

This year will also see us implementing aspirations-focused household surveys and developing resources and strategic initiatives to better prepare our parents to support their children to have the very best start in life. Through all this work, we consolidated our position as advocates for early life interventions nationally and internationally.

As always, I am grateful to our team and the tireless effort they put into supporting our work and our people.

I hope you enjoy our newsletter, which will give you an overview of what we are doing and what we want to see achieved over the course of the year. Thanks in advance for your valuable support! We look forward to keeping you informed and as always, we wish you all the very best for 2018.

Regional Updates

First 1000 Days Australia is currently engaging Lead Agencies to implement the F1000DA Model and strategies at Regional Alliance sites across Australia. Once on board, these sites will go through a stepped process to develop a collaborative partnership of organisations and services committed to implementing the Model for families across their region.

With the support of the Queensland Government Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability, First 1000 Days Australia has now established partnerships in the Townsville and Moreton Bay areas of Queensland. Working with the Townsville Aboriginal and Islanders Health Services (TAIHS) and the Stronger Smarter Institute, we are jointly developing activities that will meet the aspirations held by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families in these regions.

Three Regional Implementation Managers have been employed to assist in the establishment of the Alliance Sites and to oversee the implementation of Regional Alliance planning at each Lead Agency.
Anne Taylor, based at TAIHS, Jackie Bennett, at the Stronger Smarter Institute in Caboolture, and Alana March in the Yarra Valley began their new roles for First 1000 Days Australia in February.

Partnership with Save the Children Australia

A partnership between the University of Melbourne and Save the Children Australia was finalised in November 2017, with both organisations making up membership of the F1000DA Executive Committee. This exciting collaborative partnership will share expertise, resources and networks to support the ongoing regional implementation of First 1000 Days Australia.
Save the Children media release

Global Update

Partnerships and networks with Indigenous and Tribal Peoples around the world have been strengthened over the past year with visits by F1000DA staff to Norway and Indonesia. The team at the University of Melbourne has been developing a program of work with researchers and clinicians from the University of Tromsø, Norway to develop an Arctic Model of the First 1000 Days. The goal is to use similar engagement strategies to those developed by First 1000 Days Australia to build a program of work that could be used by and for the Sámi communities of Norway.
Read more

In 2017, our staff travelled twice to Indonesia to begin engagement and collaborations with universities there on holistic models of the first 1000 days. As part of a major Australia–Indonesia Centre health project, a group of F1000DA representatives (including F1000DA Council members and Save the Children Australia staff) attended a roundtable in Jakarta to share learnings and explore research possibilities.
Read more

Research and Evidence Building

Pilot Household Survey with Aboriginal Housing Victoria

First 1000 Days Australia developed and piloted a household-level survey in partnership with Aboriginal Housing Victoria (AHV) as part of the More than a Landlord project. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families living in public housing in the Melbourne’s Whittlesea directly informed the survey design, and were part of recruitment and survey activities and the interpretation of results. Several residents were also trained as Peer Researchers and then employed by AHV to deliver the survey.

The household survey covered a broad range of issues including participants’ views on their aspirations as parents and those they hold for their children. Findings have increased understanding of the experiences and aspirations of households, family formations and contexts into which the next generation of Aboriginal children are being born. Findings are also assisting AHV on how they can better work with tenants. AHV wants to be more than a landlord, and is helping tenants to develop aspiration plans and reach their goals with the support of Life Coaches.
AHV December 2017 Newsletter

Deadly Peer Researchers

An important part of F1000DA research methodology development is engaging a strong workforce through Peer Researcher training. F1000DA trained five Peer Researchers as part of the More than a Landlord project with Aboriginal Housing Victoria. Three of the Peer Researchers were then employed to deliver the household survey within their community and empower families to participate.

Following fieldwork, Peer Researchers Lucinda Jackson, Alisha Warden and Sharyn Lovett were supported to become job ready, advocate to politicians, conduct guest lectures at the University of Melbourne, and present at the F1000DA Summit.

We are currently developing the Peer Researcher training to be of an accredited vocational education and training (VET) standard, and plan to train and employ Peer Researchers in new regions to conduct a household survey within their own community.
AHV April–May Newsletter
F1000DA Summit interview with Peer Researchers

Our Community

Meet our newest staff member, Regional Implementation Manager Alana Marsh. Alana has joined us to work in the Yarra Ranges Region, where she will work with lead agencies HICSA and Inspiro to begin implementation of the First 1000 Days Australia.
More about Alana

Knowledge Translation

First 1000 Days Australia Summit 2017
We held our inaugural Summit on 18–20 October 2017 in Brisbane, with generous support from the Queensland Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability, and the University of Melbourne. The Summit brought together 176 delegates from across community, research, training, front-line delivery and policy areas, who are working to strengthen resilience, innovation and aspiration in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families.

Honour and the act of honouring were a strong focus of the presentations and storytelling – honouring diverse Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s culture and community, voices and knowledge, and innovative programs and practices that respect and celebrate the experiences and strengths of families and children.

Delegate Summit highlights included making new connections, yarning and being in the presence of Elders:

So much empowerment came from this Summit for me as a younger Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander person. This reminded me why it’s important to be part of this movement, assisting in brighter futures for our mob.
Summit report, videos and more
 
Our Blog
 
The Journey of First 1000 Days Australia, 2013–2017: How four years of can kicking can make a difference, 2 August 2017

Discourses and Impact: How linguistic responsibility can help 'Close the Gap', 10 August 2017

Is it time for a theory of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander masculinity?, 18 August 2017

Why ‘Smoking during pregnancy’ health promotion messages don’t always work: Lessons learned from a teenager and why we need to ‘change it up’, 24 August 2017

Why First 1000 Days Australia is making a stand for marriage equality: What we have learned through changes to marriage legislation and why it matters, 6 September 2017

Influencing Policy

We are advocating for the importance of the first 1000 days of a child’s life at high levels of government and peak organisations to influence policy and strategy development that impacts upon our families.

Implementation of the F1000DA Model has been recommended in several policy documents, including the Redfern Statement 2016, and the Queensland Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services’ ‘Supporting Families Changing Futures’ agenda.
Link to these policy documents

Upcoming Events

Short Courses in 2018
Townsville, QLD
28 February–1 March
 
Caboolture, QLD
13–14 March
Learn more and register
 
Healesville, VIC
19–20 March
Registrations open soon
 
Melbourne, VIC
9–10 April
6–7 August
Registrations open in March
 
More information here
 

Our Partners

Copyright © 2018 First 1000 Days Australia, All rights reserved.


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