This morning I took part in a discussion panel at the Telethon Kids Institute’s seminar on “Building the Skills of Caregivers”.
I was joined on the panel by the seminar’s keynote speaker Professor Jack Shonkoff, the Director of the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University, as well as Professor Sven Silburn, Professor Cate Taylor, Stephen Cohan and Jenni Collard.
We know that parenting plays a very significant role in early childhood development.
The focus of the seminar was on supporting parents who are experiencing adversity.
This bears particular relevance to a consultation my office conducted last year with 92 young people who had been in contact with youth justice services.
These young people reported that a key reason behind their offending behaviour was dysfunction in their families and a lack of boundaries at home. Sometimes their parents could not provide for their basic needs, such as food and clothing, forcing them to steal to survive.
Supporting parents who face disadvantage and adversity is an important step in preventing children and young people becoming vulnerable themselves, and these sorts of discussions are important in improving the supports agencies provide.
I would like to commend Telethon Kids Institute for bringing Professor Shonkoff to Western Australia and congratulate them on a successful seminar.