Abstracts: March 21st, 2007

This report from Mission Australia and Griffith University describes the first five years of a project designed to support children in Australia during their formative years. The report describes the project against the background of growing developmental problems in childhood which lead to the growth of social problems like educational failure, poor mental health, substance abuse, crime, antisocial behaviour, alienation and unemployment.The Pathways to Prevention project is an innovative program of community action. The report describes the methods and results and shows that it takes a scientifically sound but common-sense approach to promoting children’s well-being by combining support for families with focused enrichment activities for children, underpinned by the careful collection of evaluative data.

The project is a partnership between front-line community workers from Mission Australia, university-based researchers, and people from local schools and communities and it makes possible the development and widespread implementation of evidence-based programs that really make a difference to some of Australia’s most disadvantaged children.

The report includes a cautionary note that although the model developed by the project has been proved to work effectively and the way forward is now clear, it will take the joint commitment of the whole Australian “village” to nurture children’s growth.

The report is available at: http://www.griffith.edu.au/centre/kceljag/pathways/Pathwaysfinal.pdf