Poster Presentation Lowitja Institute International Indigenous Health and Wellbeing Conference 2016

First 1000 days approach to Aboriginal Early Years–Champions only need apply! (#339)

Deborah Mellett 1 , Rebecca Ritte 2 , Kim Lee 3
  1. Communities, Mornington Peninsula Shire, Melbourne, VIC, Australia
  2. Indigenous Health Equity Unit, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC, Australia
  3. Department of Health and Human Services, Dandenong, VIC, Australia

Introduction: The Victorian Aboriginal population experiences higher rates of child mortality and perinatal mortality. Major drivers of these outcomes are the underlying social determinants of Aboriginal health such as employment, housing, justice, disability, family, access, culture and discrimination. Currently, the Frankston Mornington Peninsula (FMP) catchment has a fragmented approach to programs and services delivery to address the needs of Aboriginal families experiencing vulnerability and residing within the area.

The FMP catchment is in the process of adopting the First 1000 Days Australia model to overcome the fragmentation of local health, education, welfare, justice and other social services that support and engage families and their children. The overarching aim is to enable Aboriginal children to develop and flourish to enable a solid start to school on par with non-Aboriginal children.

Method: The First 1000 Days Australia model is an Indigenised interpretation of the 1000 Days global movement. It has expanded to include a broader, holistic and cultural view of Aboriginal health and wellbeing. It includes strong community governance processes; interventions focusing on the whole family environment; and, embedding data collection to build a robust evidence base. By implementing this model in FMP, this program can provide a coordinated and comprehensive approach to addressing the social determinants of health in Aboriginal families.

Results: This presentation will outline the process that champions FMP stakeholders to jointly commit as one of the foundational First 1000 Days Australia Alliance sites and build an example of best practice through initiating and implementing the First 1000 Days model. It will outline the participatory methods used to co-design the appropriate interventions for families residing in the FMP area. It will outline how sectoral collaboration and community led decision making can establish strong linkage pathways and coordination mechanisms of all health and wellbeing initiatives in FMP for Aboriginal children and their families.

Conclusion: By adopting the First 1000 Days Australia approach, programs and services will be coordinated to provide a consistent, integrated, and collaborative approach so that Aboriginal health and wellbeing is addressed throughout the life course and families experience cultural continuity of care.