Issue 7
Monday, 09 May 2016
Charles Darwin University
Professor Gary Robinson: “We feel privileged to support this important work”
Professor Gary Robinson: “We feel privileged to support this important work”

Menzies wins UNICEF ‘parenting’ grant

By Graham Ring

Menzies School of Health Research (Menzies) has received a grant to develop a parenting program to support children in Papua New Guinea (PNG) reach their full potential.

Team Leader Professor Gary Robinson from the Menzies Centre for Child Development and Education said $700,000 in funding (over 18 months) would come from the United Nations Children’s Fund.

“We expect to reach 300 families and 600 children in the early stages, but much greater numbers once the project is fully implemented,” Professor Robinson said.

“Our aspiration is to improve parents’ understanding of child development, to improve their responsiveness to their children and to increase the use of positive parenting practices.”

Professor Robinson said Menzies researchers would draw on the knowledge gained from developing the Let’s Start parenting programs, which assist at-risk Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and their parents in remote Northern Territory communities.

“Its success is based on strategies for engagement and delivery of programs by trained community staff in culturally and linguistically diverse settings,” Professor Robinson said.

Data from PNG indicates that many children are exposed to violence and that there is much work to be done to provide the safe, loving and nurturing home environment.

“Children who grow up witnessing or experiencing violence are at greater risk of mental and physical health problems, poor school outcomes and life choices, and are more likely to become victims or perpetrators of violence themselves,” he said.

“We feel privileged to support this important work in PNG, which will make a difference where it really matters.

“This is a good example of Charles Darwin University’s ability to take NT know-how to the world,” he said.