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I will begin this Editorial by sharing a conversation I had with my five-year-old daughter at the end of her first year of school. During a typical conversation about the day's events, she made a ‘factual’ remark about things that God had done. As she was previously not a believer in God, I asked her how she came to decide that He was real. She replied: ‘Because school said he was real and my school only tells me the truth.’
There are well-recognised and articulated difficulties in the provision of health services to communities in rural and remote areas. These difficulties encompass practicalities and geography, economics and politics, as well as the personal and professional. This article describes a multi-level model developed by a group of regional services to address the mental health and well-being needs of infants and small children of rural and remote families, utilising existing resources creatively and collaboratively. The model draws on understandings from attachment theory about the nature and needs of humans as relational beings.
Integrated service delivery in the early childhood education and care sector is burgeoning as a direct result of government agendas in Australia that privilege services for young children and families, especially those considered most vulnerable and at risk. In many cases this means reviewing and revising current practice to work more collaboratively with other professionals. This paper reports the findings of one aspect of a larger Australian study entitled: ‘Developing and sustaining pedagogical leadership in early childhood education and care professionals’. The focus of this paper is the understandings and practices of professionals in both Queensland and Victoria working in integrated Children's Services across the education, care, community and health sectors. The notion of transdisciplinary practice is also explored as a way to sustain practice. Qualitative data collection methods, including the ‘Circles of Change’ process, the ‘Significant Change’ method and semi-structured interviews were used. The findings indicate concerns around professional identity, feeling valued, role confusion and the boundaries imposed by funding regulations. Working in a transdisciplinary way was generally considered a useful way to move practice forward in these settings, although the ramifications for leadership that this approach brings requires further consideration.
Permanency, stability and continuity are essential components of quality out-of-home care. Permanency planning is a case planning process designed to promote stability and long-term connections for children subject to child protection intervention. This paper outlines findings from a small qualitative study that explored perceptions of permanency planning held by child protection practitioners, carers, and the parents of children in care in Queensland, Australia. Findings show that each group emphasised different aspects of permanency. Practitioners tended to focus on placement arrangements, carers focused on relationships and security, and parents were concerned about the quality of care their children received. Everyone involved in permanency decisions – whether children and young people, parents, carers or child protection practitioners – has ideas, theories and knowledge that they draw upon in expressing their views. Understanding these perspectives is useful for the decision-making process, as each stakeholder communicates with others about what they think is most important for the child. Implications for child protection practice include having a clear practice language and approach to permanency planning, exploring the unique areas of importance to different stakeholders on permanency planning, and ensuring quality participatory practice.
This brief report investigated coping strategies and their perceived effectiveness in response to a social stressor for 7–12 year olds with high-functioning autism spectrum disorders (HFASDs). Ninety-eight participants completed a self-report coping scale in response to a self-identified socially stressful situation. Responses yielded three categories of use and perceived effectiveness: (1) strategies used frequently and viewed as effective, (2) strategies not used frequently and not perceived as effective, and (3) strategies used frequently but not perceived as effective. Respondents reported high frequency use and high perceived effectiveness of six strategies that are generally considered as positive/engagement oriented coping. They also indicated low frequency use and low perceived effectiveness of five strategies broadly regarded as negative and avoidant/disengagement coping. The last cluster of four strategies, identified as frequently used but not effective, consisted of strategies less clearly categorised as positive/engaged vs. negative/disengaged. Implications for future research and clinical considerations are proposed.
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact of a dog safety program on the protective behaviour knowledge of children in the first year of school. This mixed methods study utilised pre- and post-testing (N = 121), observation of six sessions and individual interviews with a sub-group of children (N = 49). These interviews utilised a co-constructed narrative strategy where children were invited to assist an imaginary alien to safely navigate hypothetical safety scenarios. All schools improved their knowledge of safe dog interactions, with an overall increase in knowledge of 18%. Most children were able to apply abstract knowledge to hypothetical scenarios involving accompanied and unaccompanied dogs. Of concern, 24% of children still believed that dogs liked being patted on their heads and 16% of children had not overcome their intuitive reaction to run from a threatening dog. Whilst the program has made significant improvements to children's knowledge of safe dog-interactions, more gains can be made. We identify important opportunities for improving dog safety programs in general. We comment on the need to consider the impact of different models of child–dog relations in terms of either similitude or difference.