The acting Commissioner for Children and Young People Jenni Perkins has welcomed a new approach to the selection and funding of programs for Aboriginal young people, announced by the Aboriginal Affairs Minister Peter Collier this week.
The announcement comes after a review conducted by the Department of the Premier and Cabinet into programs working with at-risk Aboriginal young people found $115 million was invested annually, but fewer than 15 per cent of programs could demonstrate their effectiveness.
Ms Perkins said long-term investment in evidence-based programs that had clear objectives and benefits was the only way that significant improvements in children and young people’s wellbeing would be achieved.
“The focus on long-term funding provides the opportunity to embed programs in communities and increases the likelihood that improvements in wellbeing will be sustained,” the Commissioner said.
“It is essential that government and non-government agencies fully implement this directive and seek to measure and publicly report on outcomes for every dollar spent on programs that aim to strengthen Aboriginal children and young people’s wellbeing.”
Ms Perkins said her office had developed two reports, titled Building Blocks, which outline 126 evidence-based programs from around Australia.
“These reports have been prepared to support agencies’ work to design and implement effective programs and are part of the Wellbeing Monitoring Framework - a suite of accessible data and research that is available to any agency working to improve WA children and young people’s wellbeing,” Ms Perkins said.
The Commissioner also encouraged service providers to speak with Aboriginal children and young people and involve them in the process of designing services.
“This is another important way in which we can ensure that programs are culturally appropriate and effective – children and young people often have remarkable insight and they should be afforded the opportunity to be involved in decision making about these sorts of programs.”
More information about the Wellbeing Monitoring Framework is available from www.ccyp.wa.gov.au