Improving child literacy using South Australia's Health in All Policies approach

Helen van Eyk, Toni Delany-Crowe, Angela Lawless, Fran Baum, Colin MacDougall, Deborah Wildgoose

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The Health in All Policies (HiAP) approach aims to create coherent policy across government that will improve population health, wellbeing and equity while progressing the goals of other sectors. The quest to achieve policy coherence across government has focused interest on processes that facilitate collaboration between health and many other sectors. Health and education sectors have long been seen as natural partners with mutually beneficial goals. This article focuses on a case study of HiAP work, undertaken between health and education in South Australia to increase parental engagement in children’s literacy among lower socio-economic families. It draws on a document analysis of 71 documents, seven in-depth interviews with senior policy actors and a programme logic model. The project began with the intention of using policy levers to improve long-term health outcomes through addressing child literacy, a proven social determinant of health. Because of the context in which it was operating, the project extended from a focus on policy to working directly with four schools implementing strategies to facilitate parental engagement, with the intention of finally influencing system-wide education policy. We use an institutional framework to support our analysis through a discussion of ideas, actors and institutions and how these influenced the project. The article provides insight into the facilitators and impediments to intersectoral efforts to progress shared educational and health goals and achieve sustainable change, and identifies lessons for others intending to use this approach.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)958-972
Number of pages15
JournalHealth Promotion International
Issue number5
Early online dateSep 2019
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020


  • engagement
  • Health in All Policies
  • intersectoral action
  • literacy
  • social determinants of health


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