More for Children is the first stage of a long-term program
“Children are the ones paying the price for the lack of access to quality food, participation in fun social and sporting activities. Their social skills and mental health is in decline from the lack of joy in their lives.” Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare - survey response - 2022
More for Children is the first stage of a long-term program of transformative research and action to better understand and significantly reduce child poverty in Australia.
We know our region is proud, resilient, and innovative, however data reveals pockets of entrenched disadvantage throughout the Greater Shepparton region.
One in six people, and nearly half our households with dependent children, are living below the poverty line. Our region has one of the highest rates of housing stress and homelessness in Victoria, and we have to find meaningful ways to tackle disadvantage and provide all children with the support necessary for positive health, wellbeing and development.
While the Senate Standing Committees on Community Affairs is underway with an inquiry into the extent and nature of poverty in Australia, the More for Children research presents a unique opportunity to challenge and influence policy approaches to supporting vulnerable people in Greater Shepparton.
Placing children at the centre of the research approach, Professor Sharon Bessell from the Centre for Children’s Policy at the Australian National University is leading the research in partnership with Family Care and supported by a local advisory group of partner organisations including Greater Shepparton City Council, Greater Shepparton Lighthouse Project, UnitingCare, Kaiela Institute, Catholic Care and 54 Reasons.
Greater Shepparton Foundation Chair’s the local advisory group, which reviews the research investigating what children, young people and their families think it takes to have a good life, and what it means when we talk about not having enough. The early data is sobering.
The research is undertaken with small groups of children, using activity-based, age-appropriate methods. From children’s individual stories and experiences, common themes that emerge are developed into a child standpoint.
As David Tennant CEO Family Care outlined in his submission to the Inquiry into Poverty in Australia, “Fundamental to a change in approach is giving voice to the experiences of children, which recognises and respects those experiences as distinct from parent/caregivers.”
Funded by the Paul Ramsay Foundation the research is underway and will conclude May 2024 and has a clear focus on changing the political and public narrative around poverty that blames and stigmatises individuals.
We look forward to sharing the outcomes of this important research piece with you in due course.