Knowing what works for children and families the key
Knowing what works for children and families is the key to better outcomes says Chief Families Commissioner Belinda Milnes ahead of Children’s Day this Sunday.
The Families Commissions job is to help build strong resilient families as the cornerstones of healthy communities and a well-functioning country.
Chief Commissioner Belinda Milnes says, “Under our new mandate we are focusing on researching and sharing good quality knowledge about what works best for New Zealand families and whānau.
“One project underway is to review parenting programmes for vulnerable children who face a number of challenges, so parents can be more effective.
“Later this year we are releasing our first Families Status Report which will build demographic information for those planning ahead for children and families.
“What we know through our research is that strong resilient families are the key to enable children to successfully navigate today’s world.
“New Zealand is a pretty good place to bring up children.
“We also know this is a time of unprecedented technological change for children, young people and their parents.
Last week Professor Sir Peter Gluckman, a Families Commissioner and the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor, described the internet as ‘the most profound change’ in communications since we learned to speak and ‘an uncontrolled experiment in social science’.
At the Families Commission seminar Sir Peter said, “We’ve changed the way we communicate from using all the senses to just 140 character tweets. There will be consequences and it will impact on the transition through adolescence.
He warned, “The greater the mismatch between biological maturity and the way we live, the greater the risk kids are at. Our obligation is to develop strategies to improve their resilience to navigate this world.“
Sir Peter said the most important period for developing resilience is in early childhood when there is greater ability to influence brain development.
“One of the areas the Families Commission will be looking at over the next few years is how to build resilience in young people,” says Belinda Milnes.