Territory Stories

Let's start: a program for Territory parents and children



Let's start: a program for Territory parents and children

Other title

Let's Start parent child program


Robinson, Gary; Mares, Sarah; Jones, Yomei; Stock, Carolin; Hallenstein, Birgit; Branchut, Virginie


E-Publications; E-Books; PublicationNT




This paper describes the 'Let's Start' program for Aboriginal parents and children in the Northern Territory, including its context, rationale, and the evidence of its effectiveness. This program follows on from the 'Ngaripirliga'ajirri - Exploring Together Program' for school aged children in the Tiwi Islands, run from 1999-2004, and the 'Let's Start - Exploring Together for Indigenous Preschools' program for younger children in the Tiwi Islands as well as Darwin, which was run from 2006-2010. Based on this experience, the program has been adapted and redeveloped as the 'Let's Start Parent-Child Program'.; Made available via the Publications (Legal Deposit) Act 2004 (NT).


Centre for Child Development and Education, Menzies School of Health Research

Table of contents

Background -- Introduction -- What is Let's Start? -- Early intervention: context and rationale -- Conclusion: the Let's Start approach -- References.




Children, Aboriginal Australian; Services for; Parenting; Study and teaching

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Menzies School of Health Research

Place of publication



21 pages : colour illustrations ; 30 cm.

File type



9781922104021; 9781922104038

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Check within Publication or with content Publisher.

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11Lets Start Parent Child Program K., Parent, 2010: What I learnt about was the power of me! by holding information and training workshops for their personnel, including Aboriginal Health, Education and Childcare Workers. Lets Start creates a framework for partnerships, for example between the school and the local Council, to contribute people, resources, time and space for delivering the 10 explain Lets Start may need to occur in numerous, nonthreatening ways, before a parent is willing to show interest in participating. Lets Start works with a high proportion of families who are not active users of services, despite having many difficulties, and who may be shy or reluctant to seek outside help. Some may have past experiences of feeling pressured or judged. Individuals are contacted through home visits and later follow-up. This helps families to stay in touch with the program and, for those not able to attend, to consider attending when circumstances change. What is Lets Start? Figure 1: Structure and support for delivery of Lets Start in remote communities The Lets Start Parent Child Program 12 Figure 1: Structure and resources support for delivery of Let's Start in remote communities Coordinator & community staff Training & promotion Delivery team flies in weekly Community Health Services Coordination & referral Weekly sessions: 10 weeks Parents group (50 minutes) Interactive group (60-70 minutes) shared meal (20-30 minutes Partner & family gatherings (twice per term) Lets Start Program Child protection Schools & School Services Research, Training & Supervision Menzies Vi c D al y Sh ire - 4 co m m un iti es Visiting specialist services Coordinator & community staff Training & promotion Delivery team flies in weekly Tiw i Islands - 3 com m unities Lets Start is a structured program that requires advanced skills to ensure delivery to high professional and ethical standards. Community organiszations lack the resources and capacity to host such a program. Over the years, a model has been developed that overcomes the barriers to implementing such an approach in remote communities. The Lets Start team is based at the Centre for Child Development and Education at the Menzies School of Health Research in Darwin. The team consists of program coordinators who spend at least 3 days a week in the communities where programs are being delivered. Other team members travel to communities for one to two days each week to deliver the program, gather data or follow-up with families. Members of the local community work with the Menzies-based team. They enhance engagement of families with the program and help the external leaders to understand issues relating to culture and kinship, conflicts involving families and matters of community significance. A number of them have been are experienced early childhood workers in their own right. Few Aboriginal communities are linguistically homogeneous and the language of program delivery is local Aboriginal English. Language differences between group members and leaders are accommodated with the help of the local community-based co-leaders who assist with the inclusion of songs and stories in local language. Groups are run with a flow in and out of variants of local language. The team is led by an anthropologist with many years experience of work in the Northern Territory and includes people with backgrounds in social work, allied health, early education and psychology along with Indigenous community members. A child and family psychiatrist acts as clinical consultant and is currently involved in week program and providing group leader training. Fitting the processes of program delivery between timelines of work, school, availability of childcare, paydays and local ceremonies and customs is essential to successful delivery of the program. Communities may differ in culture, language and values and in the resources available to support families. The varied contexts of the Northern Territory require strategies for engaging families that are appropriate for each place. Many of the families referred to Lets Start deal with multiple sources of stress and instability, which impact on their ability to participate in any programs. Contact with parents to