In mid-2021, Go Goldfields undertook a comprehensive Let’s Talk About Parenting! community engagement program to improve our understanding of the Central Goldfields community experience and views of raising children, and what could make it easier. This valuable community contribution is directly informing our five Every Child, Every Chance priorities.

Almost 200 parents and carers participated in a comprehensive parenting conversations.  88% of respondent Parents selected a ‘Friend-to-friend (otherwise known as peer-to-peer) parenting program’ as their first choice from a list of potential ECEC program offerings – if they were free and easy to access. So that’s what we are bringing to the Shire!

Introducing Empowering Parents, Empowering Communities (EPEC). Developed and tested by the UK Centre for Parent and Child Support, EPEC encompasses the best of current theoretical and practical knowledge and provides an alternative model to practitioner-led parenting interventions. Go Goldfields will become the next Australian ECEP site in partnership with the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI) who will support us to implement and sustain EPEC and deliver training to the EPEC Practitioner Facilitators.

EPEC is not just another parenting program facilitated by professionals alone. This program brings practitioners and parents together as partners in a culture of shared practice. The dynamic of local parents working within the system, alongside practitioners, spans the boundary between services and families disengaged from the system.

“I didn’t even finish grade nine you know, so I didn’t feel that…well I just felt out of my league, like I wasn’t confident enough to you know…, you see other facilitators … and they so know what they are talking about and know what they’re doing and I just never thought that would be me”. Michelle, Parent Facilitator 

The active involvement of Parent Facilitators in EPEC gives credibility to the system in the eyes of families that have previously found services difficult to access. This model allows for learnings and responsibilities to be carried forward, shared and branch out into our broader community. This will ultimately shift parenting behaviours, children’s futures and social vitality throughout the Shire.

We are now seeking Expressions of Interest from local children and families services practitioners to become EPEC Practitioner Facilitators – visit HERE to apply or find out more.

Please come join us for morning tea at GGHQ in Maryborough to find out more about ‘Empowering Parents, Empowering Communities’ from the EPEC families and facilitators who will be joining us via video link from Tasmania at 9.30am on Thursday 24th November 2021.

This Q and A session is designed to provide information for practitioners and their managers interested in undertaking the training in February 2022 (in this case practitioners refers to people already engaged in service delivery or education with families and children).

RSVP by Tuesday 22nd November to Jodieb@cgoldshire.vic.gov.au

Please share this community update with your staff, collaborators, and local decision-makers.

Carolyn Bartholomeusz
Manager, Go Goldfields
Central Goldfields Shire, Victoria, Australia

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