2G The first 1000 days
It Takes a Village to Make a Change
The One Village Collaboration in Shepparton was formed in 2016 to address low engagement and participation rates of Aboriginal families in primary, universal services such as maternal and child health, Kindergarten, playgroups and primary school. Conversely, Aboriginal children and families are vastly over-represented in acute services and out of home care. The aim of the collaboration is to reverse this data through taking a coordinated prevention and early intervention approach in service planning, learning, communicating and delivering to ensure that no Aboriginal child in Greater Shepparton is left behind.
There is strong evidence to show that engagement with universal early years services reduces the likelihood of children/families making contact with statutory and crisis services. There is also evidence that no individual service can effect generational change by working in isolation. The One Village Collaboration is a group of children and family service representatives led by the local ACCOs (Lulla’s Children and Family Centre, Rumbalara Aboriginal Cooperative), including local, state and federal government, (Greater Shepparton City Council, DHHS, DHS, DET), and local community services (FamilyCare, South Shepparton Community Church, Caroline Chisholm Society, Greater Shepparton Lighthouse Project, Save the Children, FamilyCare, The Bridge Youth Service), which has adopted a Collective Impact approach to the issue at hand, and which is implementing a range of innovative strategies to achieve its goals. Two underlying principles of the collaboration are that it is led by the Aboriginal representatives at the table and that authentic consultation with community is essential for success. It is in the process of signing up all participating organisations to a Statement of Intent to ratify the obligations of the group.
The One Village Collaboration was recently approached by SNAICC to enter into a formal partnership for the next two years, to work alongside local partners to assist the group to monitor and evaluate the initiative so that it can be assessed by the Australian Institute of Family Studies as an Evidence Based Program.
This has by no means been an easy journey to date, and the First 1,000 days of the One Village Collaboration were defined to some extent by labour pains, a difficult birth, teething, etc. However, there is a Village around this group as well as within it, and the gains made during the same time-frame by far outweigh the setbacks, and the passion and drive of the members will ensure the collaboration achieves its objectives.
Claire Tarelli (BA Hons) has worked in the community and related sectors for over 25 years, and has been Program Coordinator for the Greater Shepparton Communities for Children program since 2013. She is currently completing her Masters in International and Community Development.
Miranda Edwards has been Director of Lulla’s Children and Family Centre since 2008, during which time, she has led positive change in the community through her passion for positive outcomes for Aboriginal children and families. She has been instrumental in the success of the One Village collaboration to date.