Childhood Domains: what makes a good childhood?

This post is part of our series on what makes a good childhood.

The concept of a good childhood means many things to many people. Making a definitive assessment of a good childhood is difficult, but is a task that Berry Street feels is important to undertake for the sake of those children whose childhoods are blighted by violence, poverty, neglect, educational or any other disadvantage. Continue reading “Childhood Domains: what makes a good childhood?”

Early Childhood: the importance of the early years

This post is part of our series on what makes a good childhood.

Although intuition tells us how important a child’s early experiences are, the evidence is now overwhelming. A good childhood really is the foundation for a healthy adult life and cohesive society.

Over the previous decade, we have seen a greater focus on, and understanding of, the importance of childhood wellbeing, both from an objective and subjective perspective. It is now generally understood that children’s wellbeing is crucial, not just for their own lives, but for society as a whole. Continue reading “Early Childhood: the importance of the early years”

Childhood Wellbeing

This post is part of our series on what makes a good childhood.

Childhood wellbeing – how we define it and what its key factors are – is a growing field of research around the world.

Childhood wellbeing is generally understood as the quality of children’s lives. It is an overarching and multi-dimensional concept that encompasses both subjective indicators (i.e. perceptions of quality of life and overall life satisfaction) and objective indicators (i.e. household income and health status) that focus on the immediate lives of children but also consider the longer-term outcomes. Continue reading “Childhood Wellbeing”

Childhood in the 21st Century

This post is part of our series on what makes a good childhood.

What are the key factors impacting on childhood today?

The pace of change in the 21st century has been rapid.

Despite children being raised in a time that is firmly focused on the needs and cares of children – with greater awareness and knowledge than ever before on the factors that impact childhood – evidence suggests that Australian children and young people growing up in the 21st century are not faring as well as they could be. Continue reading “Childhood in the 21st Century”

Childhood – an historical perspective

This post is part of our series on what makes a good childhood.

Attitudes towards children and the way in which we interact, engage and care for them has changed dramatically over the previous 500 years.

In centuries past, children existed alongside adults, and once they were past infancy, were expected to work, firstly with their families, and then often as waged or unwaged labourers, in order that they and their families could survive.

The concept of childhood – how we define it and the experiences and activities of children within it – is an ever-shifting one that has presented us with many opportunities and challenges across the centuries. Continue reading “Childhood – an historical perspective”

What makes a good childhood?

The concept of a good childhood means many things to many people, yet one thing we all have in common is the experience of having once been a child.

The period of childhood, when we reflect back, is often remembered as a fleeting time. Researchers and early childhood practitioners however, tell us that this ‘fleeting’ time is one of critical development for a child, and the importance of it must be understood.

In early 2017, Berry Street’s Childhood Institute commenced on a research project to bring together information around current thinking and research findings and practices, frameworks, key issues and approaches, around how a good childhood is defined and the key factors and domains of a good childhood. Continue reading “What makes a good childhood?”

The longest relationship

Children in out-of-home care often have uniquely strong sibling relationships. This article looks at some of the reasons siblings are separated and ways sibling relationships can be maintained and nurtured while children are in out-of-home care.

By Dr. Trish McCluskey, Berry Street

Almost all of us have one, or more. Sometimes we wish we hadn’t and then we cannot imagine our lives without them. Remember primary school? We fight with them, they fight with us and then we fight for them.

Siblings: our closest genetic relative, our soulmates, rivals for parental affections, the keepers of our unembellished history.

For children in out-of-home care and indeed for all of us, our siblings are usually the longest relationship of our lives. Sometimes these are close and loving relationships and other times they are not. Interestingly even fraught sibling relationships can often be repaired and research shows siblings being identified as major supports as we get older.

Why then do sibling relationships seem to be so underestimated and overlooked for children in foster, kinship or residential care? Continue reading “The longest relationship”