Stage OneIn 2008 the Allen Consulting Group was engaged by the Child Health and Wellbeing Subcommittee to critically review the evidence base underpinning the provision of best practice child and family health services and to develop a draft national framework.
Development of the draft national Framework included four phases:
- Phase 1: a review of current national and international child and family health service frameworks.
- Phase 2: a literature review to identify the evidence base underpinning universal services including:
– effective primary prevention strategies; and
– structured interventions that provide a response to identified needs that can be delivered in a universal primary care setting.
- Phase 3: stakeholder consultation in each jurisdiction. Participants for the consultations were selected by the Subcommittee member from each jurisdiction and as such varied. Approximately 150 stakeholders were represented in the various consultations and included:
– policy and program managers from government departments with responsibility for health, education, family support and child protection;
– academics in child and family health nursing; and
– representatives from the Australian Association of Maternal Child and Family Health Nurses, Child and Family Health Nurses Association NSW, Inc., and the Australian Confederation of Paediatric and Child Health Nurses.
- Phase 4: project reporting and development of the draft Framework.
Stage TwoThe UWS project team was appointed in November 2009 to seek broader consultation with stakeholders and to prepare the final draft of the Framework.
Two consultation forums were held in each jurisdiction except in Tasmania and ACT where only one forum was held. A face-to-face consultation was held in each capital city and the second consultation was facilitated using either video conferencing facilities or by teleconference to engage professionals working in regional, rural and remote locations. The consultation in Tasmania was conducted via videoconference. A consultation was conducted with policy makers from the Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing
(DoHA) and Department of Employment, Education and Workplace Relations (DEEWR), and one with the National Community Child Health Council (NCCHC).
Professional associations and peak bodies were also invited to participate in consultations or to prepare a written submission. A teleconference was held with the Executive Committee of the Australian Association of Maternal Child and Family health Nurses (AAMCFHN). A face- to-face consultation was undertaken in Sydney with a group of early childhood education professionals representing a range of peak bodies. Written submissions were received from the Australian Medical Association (AMA), Australian General Practice Network (AGPN) and the Australian College of Physicians (ACP). Six written submissions or commentaries were received from child and family health nurses (2) and from paediatricians (4).
Participants in the consultations were provided with a copy of the Stage One (draft) Framework as well as a discussion paper prepared by the Stage Two team that summarised the Stage One document and provided key discussion questions for the consultation. Participants were asked to consider the relevance and comprehensiveness of each component of the Stage One draft Framework and to contribute to the development of potential service performance measures. Participants also discussed the factors that would facilitate implementation in a reasonable time frame and identified issues and challenges which jurisdictions and health professionals may encounter in implementing the Framework.
A total of 259 stakeholders participated in the consultations. These included child and family health nurses, general practitioners, paediatricians, social workers, speech therapists, occupational therapists, dental therapists, early childhood education specialists and service managers, policy advisers, program managers. Further, there were representatives from six professional associations.
All jurisdictions were asked to extend invitations to general practitioners, local government, early childhood professionals and other relevant groups particularly those in early childhood education. Participation from these groups in the consultation forums was limited. Only six individual general practitioners participated in either face-to-face or video/teleconference consultations. The Commonwealth consultation had representation from DEEWR and in the Victorian consultations, there was representation from local government and early childhood education professionals who work in collaborative models of service delivery. Some concern was raised in two consultations that the perspectives of remote area health services were not well captured in the Stage One (draft) Framework. There was also concern that there had been no consultation with Indigenous communities.
In mid-February 2009 a consultation was held with a small group of six representatives from consumer organisations. The participants appreciated the opportunity to meet and discuss the Framework; however, they asked that they not be listed as having contributed to the consultations. They emphasised that more effective participation would be achieved if consumer groups had been involved from the beginning. They welcomed the opportunity to be involved early when implementation of the Framework is planned.
A content analysis of the views of consultation participants, review of recent reports and published literature and response of the CHWS project steering committee have all informed the Stage Two (draft) Final Framework for universal child and family health services.