Stronger Families in Australia study: the impact of Communities for Children
This report presents the results of the evaluation of the short-run impacts of the Communities for Children (CfC) initiative on child, family and community outcomes. CfC was one of three models of service delivery funded under the Australian Government's Stronger Families and Communities Strategy (SFCS) 2004-2009. The CfC initiative aimed to: improve coordination of services for children 0 to 5 years and their families identify and provide services to address unmet needs build community capacity to engage in service delivery improve the community context in which children grow up. Under the CfC initiative, the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) funded non-government organisations as 'Facilitating Partners' in 45 disadvantaged geographic areas around Australia to develop and implement a whole-of-community approach to enhancing early childhood development. The Stronger Families in Australia (SFIA) study is an evaluation of the impact of CfC. It was a central component of the SFCS evaluation 2004-2008 that was undertaken by the Social Policy Research Centre (SPRC) at the University of New South Wales and the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS). The overarching aim of the SFIA evaluation study was to measure changes in child, family and community outcomes in CfC communities over the funding period, and potentially beyond. This aspect of the evaluation was designed to: identify whether the CfC initiative had an impact on child, family and community-level outcomes ascertain whether there were any differences in these outcomes for different groups of children. The SFIA evaluation study was based on a three-wave longitudinal study of 2,202 families living in 10 sites that had a CfC program and five sites that did not have a CfC program but were in other ways comparable to the CfC sites (contrast sites).