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The Smart Population Foundation:
Raising Children Network

What

The Raising Children DVD is a world-first national education initiative bringing the most essential child health and family management information and strategies to parents during the early years, enabling them to improve the health, safety and developmental environments for their young children.

The DVD features 5 hours of quality-assured content, broken down into 3 short movies — (1) Newborn, (2) Baby, (3) Child, and a collection called ‘What about Me?’ — which explain top priority, core preventative concepts. It also includes 50 in-depth clips on the interactive disk, which the user can opt in to with minimal effort, including demonstrations of important health and safety skills.

Why

The Raising Children DVD was developed over five years and is based on large-scale Government research into the needs of Australian families, showing that almost all parents wish they had a single source of reliable, practical information. The DVD provides parents with comprehensive parenting information in a format that is engaging, accessible and can be watched in the privacy of home.

How

The DVD is the official companion to the national parenting website, www.raisingchildren.net.au widely considered the definitive online resource for quality-assured parenting information in Australia. The DVD was launched in August 2007, by the then Prime Minister, who announced it would be available free to all new parents via the Raising Children website, and then, starting November 2007, distributed via Centrelink and hospitals in a new ‘Parent Pack’ to all parents upon the birth of their child.

Outcomes

  • 40,000 families ordered a copy of the DVD via the website during the two month free period.
  • Commencing November 2007, the DVD is distributed by Centrelink in the new ‘Parent Pack’ distributed to all new parents via hospital, reaching 250,000 families per year.
  • Addition of 50 high-quality DVD clips to the Raising Children website, enhancing the comprehensive content, providing powerful learning opportunities for parents to pick up skills by observation and overcoming shyness and literacy barriers. > Visit Raising Children website
  • Service providers and professionals using the DVD as an education tool for staff, students and parents.

Impact

The hundreds of thousands of DVDs distributed and millions of independent visits to the Raising Children website witness the ongoing demand for quality-assured parenting information. Ultimately, this initiative is preventative in that it supports Australian parents before issues and problems arise, thereby lowering parent stress and contributing to safer and more enriching early environments for children. A preliminary assessment of impacts from the formal evaluation by the Australian Council of Educational Research shows an overwhelmingly positive response. Some key findings include:

  • 99% of parents found the information practical and helpful
  • 95% learnt useful skills and strategies, found it engaging, and found the information relevant to them.
  • 75% gained more confidence as parents after watching the DVD
  • 73% watched it with their partners and large numbers talked about it with, watched it with or lent it to friends.
  • 65% learned something that they might not have found out any other way

Partner Statement – Divonne Holmes a Court, Smart Population Foundation:

“Caledonia’s support of the Raising Children DVD project was pivotal in completing the DVD production and securing the Governments’ support in distribution. Being a world-first project and still incomplete at the time of funding, Caledonia were able to see the project’s enormous potential and take a leap of faith, when other funding bodies couldn’t, and their support ensured the project reached its full potential and all babies in Australia.”

- Divonne Holmes a Court, Smart Population Foundation, Sydney.

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