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Surveys target early childhood workers and parents of young children


Brigid Veale SCU Communications Manager
15 May 2006
Parents of young children in the Lismore/Goonellabah area, and early childhood workers, are being encouraged to have their say on parenting issues, as part of an evaluation of the Communities for Children program.

The YWCA is facilitating the program, which has received $3 million in Federal Government funding under the Stronger Families and Communities Strategy, and the evaluation is being done by Southern Cross University's Centre for Children and Young People.

The program is the result of a comprehensive planning process, involving local community members, Elders and early childhood services. According to the YWCA's Community Action Plan, the overall aim is "to support local children to have the best possible start in life, so they arrive at school happy, healthy and ready to learn."

Dr Sallie Newell, Senior Research Officer at the CCYP, said the Centre would be running two large surveys during May and June as the first step in evaluating the Communities for Children program.

"Similar surveys will be run in 2008 to see how things have changed for local children and families," Dr Newell said.

"We'll be phoning Lismore/Goonellabah houses, at random, and asking 250 parents of children aged up to five years to tell us about how they find parenting young children in our community.

"We're also keen to talk with families who don't have home phones, if they let us know how we can reach them – maybe on a mobile or at a friend's place."

Dr Newell said they would also be running a separate survey for Lismore/Goonellabah early childhood workers to tell us about their experiences, attitudes, skills and confidence regarding their work with young children.

"We're dropping off self-complete survey packs at relevant local organisations. Workers can complete and return them to us anonymously.

"Both surveys will only take about 15 minutes to complete and the results will help us understand how well the community and early childhood services support local families – and how we can do better in the future. So, we're hoping most eligible parents and workers will be able to take part," Dr Newell said.

Anyone who would like more information, or wants to take part and feels they may not be reached through the current approaches, can contact Sallie Newell on [email protected] or phone 66203802.