This week is Children’s Week, a national program recognising the talents, skills, achievements and rights of young people. It is based on the articles expressed in the United Nations Convention on the Right of the Child, highlighting play, wellbeing and protection.
Around Victoria, local schools agencies and services are holding events and activities which support the articles expressed in the United Nations Convention on the Right of the Child, highlighting play, wellbeing and protection.
Last night the Victorian Early Years Awards celebrated leadership, outstanding achievement, exceptional dedication to improving the health, learning, development and wellbeing of young children and their families.
The finalists and award winners represent some of the best practice in early years support and exemplify the kinds of programs and initiatives we need to create a more inclusive and supportive early childhood education and care system for all children, to promote their health, wellbeing and development.
2015 Victorian Early Years Award winners:
Better access to child and family support, health services, schools and early education and care services
Boorais and Beyond
Hume City Council, Hume Early Years Partnership and Broadmeadows Valley Primary School
Improvements in parents’ capacity, confidence and enjoyment of family life
Bendigo Health Psychiatric Services and Maternity Services
Communities that are more child and family friendly
Family health in playgroups
City of Greater Dandenong, South East Melbourne Medicare Local, Dandenong and District Aborigines Co-Operative Limited and AMES – Mums and Bubs Group
Outstanding leadership for health and wellbeing
Heart of Corangamite Network
Corangamite Shire Council, South West Primary Care Partnership, Terang and Mortlake Health Service, Timboon District Health Service, South West Health Care, Beaufort and Skipton Health Services and Cobden District Health Services
Early childhood teacher of the year
Clare Day, Audrey Brooks Memorial Preschool, Heidelberg West
HIGHLY COMMENDED: Mel Simpson, Clarendon Children’s Centre, South Melbourne
Bumps to Babes and Beyond
Queen Elizabeth Centre and Mallee District Aboriginal Services
The Bumps to Babes and Beyond Program was highlighted in the recent VCOSS submission to the Early Childhood Consultation Paper: Addressing the impacts of poverty and disadvantage on children, which explores the importance of high quality, accessible and affordable early childhood education services.
Bumps to Babes and Beyond Program 
Bumps to Babes and Beyond (BBB) is an innovative program which provides parent education and holistic support to mothers and their families prenatally from 26 weeks gestation till their child is 18 months of age. The program aims to develop strong parent-child relationships, improve child health and development and parenting capacity and to reduce the risk of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children being placed in out-of-home care. The program also encourages mothers to build links with services outside the program to enable a supported transition into the community.
BBB was developed by Queen Elizabeth Centre (QEC) in partnership with Mallee District Aboriginal Services (MDAS), to meet the needs of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community of Mildura. The BBB program has found that giving vulnerable mothers parenting education and support during pregnancy and during the first 18 months of their child’s life improved outcomes for children during this critical time.
A recent evaluation of the program found that:
- all children remained in the care of their family during the Bumps to Babes and Beyond research (Child Protection rates in Mildura are 22.1 for every 1000 children compared to 7 per 1000 children state wide)
- a decrease in mothers’ depression between beginning the program and three months post birth
- 86 per cent of mothers breastfed on discharge from hospital following their child’s birth, compared to 42 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mothers engaged with Mallee District Aboriginal Services, but not enrolled in Bumps to Babes and Beyond
- all antenatal appointments were attended by the mothers engaged in the program
- all children attending the program were up to date with their immunisations
- all children attended key age and stages visits with the Maternal and Child Health Nurse
- there were significant increases in community supports and networks six months post birth.
 Queen Elizabeth Centres, Bumps to Babes and Beyond, http://www.qec.org.au/news-and-events/news/bumps-babes-and-beyond
 Evaluation of the Bumps to Babes and Beyond Program, December 2014. http://www.qec.org.au/sites/default/files/news_pdf/Evaluation%20of%20the%20Bumps%20to%20Babes%20and%20Beyond%20Program.pdf