Improving outcomes for infants whose mothers have postnatal depression and anxiety

Yvonne Parry, Pauline Hall, Janine Kalisch, Julian Grant, Craig Bradbrook, Shelly Abbott

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


    The Communities for Children Facilitating Partner programs are funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services aimed at delivering strong outcomes for Australian families with a focus on early intervention and prevention to provide programs for children aged 0-12 years and their families [2, 43]. [43]. Research shows that children living in poverty are exposed to higher levels of stress and this interferes with their ability to learning and meet developmental milestones [44, 45]. Furthermore, the differences in cognitive ability are evident at aged four [44, 45]. The North West Adelaide Region has been recognised as an area where children experience high rates of developmental vulnerability [46]. There are five measures that outline domains of vulnerability for Australian children in the Australian Early Development Census (AEDC). The five domains are: physical health and wellbeing; social competency; emotional maturity; language and cognitive skills (school based), and, communication skills and general knowledge [46]. In Australia 6.8% of all children aged 0-12 years are assessed as being developmentally vulnerable in one or more domains [46]. In the Western Region of Adelaide 29.1% of children are assessed as developmentally vulnerable in one or more domains and a further 13.9% assessed as developmentally vulnerable on two or more domains [46]. Of significance, is the decrease in the percentage of children assessed as vulnerable during the time the Communities for Children (CfC) programs have been implemented. In 2006, for example, 42.9% of children in the Western Region were assessed as developmentally vulnerable on one or more domains. This has decreased significantly to 29.1% in 2012, a change of -13.8% [46].
    There are known linkages between child maltreatment and levels of economic and social stress that are generally prevalent in areas of relative disadvantage [1-3]. Accordingly, Communities for Children (CfC) was established in 2004 following a decision by the then Australian Government to establish the ‘Stronger Families and Communities Strategy’ (2004–08). Communities for Children was one of four streams of the Strategy, with the aim of addressing the risk factors for child abuse and neglect before they escalate, and to help parents of children at risk to provide a safe, happy and healthy life for their children and thus circumvent the deleterious health, education and welfare outcomes for children at risk.
    Underpinned by the social determinants of health [3], the CfC strategy’s key feature sought to engage parents and care givers in activities that enhanced their children’s development and learning. The CfC program providers have developed activities such as home visiting, early learning and literacy programs, early development of social and communication skills, parenting and family support programs, and child nutrition programs [2, 4, 5]. The CfC is a community based strategy aimed at improving an areas’ childhood disadvantage factors through programs that target disadvantaged families living in areas of disadvantage. UnitingCare Wesley Port Adelaide is the Facilitating Partner of CfC and, as such, acts as a broker in engaging the community in the delivery of children’s and parent’s programs aimed at enhancing community outcomes [6]. The CfC initiative aimed to improve the coordination of services for children 0-12 years and their families in order to minimise the impact of area-based disadvantage [6]. Further, the initiative aimed to build community capacity to provide appropriate, targeted and enhanced services delivery and improve the community context for children [6]. The whole community approach to improving child development incorporated the needs of the community [6]. One such program is the Western Perinatal Support Program.
    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages20
    Publication statusPublished - 2016
    EventChild Aware Approaches Conference 2016 (CAA 2016): Valuing, Protecting and Promoting Child Wellbeing -
    Duration: 23 May 2016 → …


    ConferenceChild Aware Approaches Conference 2016 (CAA 2016)
    Abbreviated titleCAA 2016
    Period23/05/16 → …
    OtherThemes included: advancing children’s development and wellbeing in the first 1000 days; supporting young people in out-of-home care to flourish in adulthood; and building child safe organisations and environments. The Oration was delivered by June Oscar AO, CEO of Marninwarntikura Women’s Resource Centre.


    • Postnatal Depression
    • Depression
    • Child Mental Health
    • Community Children's Services


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