Video to help with young children's sleep

The Parenting Research Centre is assisting with a Hunter New England Population Health and University of Newcastle study that is exploring ways of helping parents to manage their children’s sleep.

The study, funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council, examines the effect of increased opportunities for outdoor play periods on physical activity and sleep duration among children attending childcare centres.

We have been engaged to produce a short video explaining how much sleep young children need, why sleep is important, and basic strategies to improve child sleep. The video is part of an intervention designed to improve sleep in toddlers and preschoolers.

Approximately 40 parents participating in the study have been randomly selected to watch the video and receive a 30 minute phone call from a psychologist from the Parenting Research Centre to discuss ways to implement the strategies. Parents also receive two follow-up text messages to encourage use of the strategies.

This Hunter New England Population Health and University of Newcastle study is the first randomised controlled trial reporting on the impact of a sleep intervention on physical activity and sleep in preschool-age children. The study findings will inform future research and interventions examining the impact of sleep on children.

Update May 2018: The study is now closed and the video can be viewed by any member of the general public. Click on the image below to view the video:

How Australians understand effective parenting

Warren Cann, Parenting Research Centre CEO, addressed this topic during a webinar on 12 September 2016, with Dr Nat Kendall-Taylor of FrameWorks Institute and Megan Keyes of Centre for Community Child Health.

They each examined how the Australian public understand child development and parenting compared with experts, following research conducted by the FrameWorks Institute.

Our Perceptions of parenting report draws on this research, painting a picture of the shared understandings, assumptions and patterns of reasoning that Australians draw upon to think about parenting.

Raising Children Network helps Queensland get NDIS Ready

Our Raising Children Network resources for parents of children with disability featured in a recent event to celebrate the National Disability Insurance Scheme’s (NDIS) continued roll out in Far North Queensland.

Our Raising Children Network Executive Director, Associate Professor Julie Green, joined the Hon Jane Prentice, Assistant Minister for Social Services and Disability Services, to welcome the roll out of the Scheme to all eligible people in Hinchinbrook, Burdekin, west of Mt Isa and up to the Gulf.

Raising Children Network and the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) have partnered to produce free online videos and articles to help parents become NDIS Ready.

The resources – available at – provide practical information for parents seeking to understand what the NDIS means for supporting their children’s individual needs.

Read more about our partnership with NDIA

Key elements of child-safe organisations examined

We asked a panel of Australian and international experts to rate what elements make child-safe organisations.

The research was conducted by the Parenting Research Centre and Social Policy Research Centre, and was commissioned by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (Royal Commission).

The key elements, identified by the Royal Commission, included:

  • organisational leadership, governance and culture
  • human resources management
  • child-safe policy and procedures
  • child-focused complaint process
  • education and training
  • children’s participation and empowerment
  • family and community involvement
  • physical and online environment
  • review and continuous improvement.

The panel rated how important and how achievable each element could be, and commented on associated costs and risks of implementing certain practices or processes.

A majority of the experts considered the elements to be relevant, achievable and reliable. Many respondents expressed concern about how the elements might be implemented, the associated costs (particularly for organisations that are smaller, voluntary and community-based), and risks associated with implementation. The experts also gave suggestions for how the elements could be meaningfully implemented.

The findings have been published in the report Key Elements of Child Safe Organisations – Research Study prepared for the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

New approach on trial for statutory out-of-home care in NSW

The Parenting Research Centre was engaged by the New South Wales (NSW) Department of Family and Community Services to develop a NSW-specific and child outcome-focused Quality Assurance Framework for statutory out-of-home care.

This framework is an Australian first and it is now being trialled by three organisations: Burrun Dalai Aboriginal Corporation, Mackillop Family Services and Key Assets Fostering.

The trial began in early September and will run for at least 12 months. The aim is to identify the impact of the framework on systems, processes and procedures and to help the department successfully implement the framework on a wider scale.

Annette Michaux, Director, Parenting Research Centre, reflecting on the potential of the trial, said: 'The Quality Assurance Framework will ensure caseworkers have access to the right information to help get the right services and supports to children and young people in out-of-home care'.

The trial will provide valuable information that will inform decision making to achieve better outcomes, ensuring the highest quality support for vulnerable children and young people living in out-of-home care.

Read more about the trial on the FACS website