• By Kevin Mount
  • Posted on Wednesday 31st October, 2007

Queensland assault against anxiety builds on the FEAR plan

Depression, antisocial behavior and hyperactivity are familiar targets for prevention and early intervention programs. But what about common-or-garden anxiety?Mark Dadds, Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, has been involved in a series of studies and evaluations aimed at understanding, preventing and responding to childhood anxiety.His Queen…

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  • By Kevin Mount
  • Posted on Tuesday 30th October, 2007

Is Canadian Index the key to standard child development measures?

One of the achievements of the small but growing band of public health prevention experts – among them Australia’s own Fiona Stanley – has been to bring the terms and tools of epidemiology, so fundamental to effective strategy and service design, into more common parlance among politicians and policy makers. The Australian Early Development Index, which Stanley adapted from work in Canada an…

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  • By Kevin Mount
  • Posted on Tuesday 30th October, 2007

The Treasure who's pushing Australia toward its children's rights exam

The turning point in Fiona Stanley’s early career happened in the early 1970s when she was working in the Children's Hospital in Perth, Western Australia, among sick children who were being flown backwards and forwards from remote Aboriginal settlements for life saving treatment. For someone whose childhood fantasies had been inspired by Albert Schweitzer it was a distressing revelation. "In my…

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  • By Kevin Mount
  • Posted on Tuesday 30th October, 2007

Things can only get better? Not very likely!

The orthodox view of well-being is one of continuing improvement. As the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare put it in 2004, young people “generally enjoy a level of health that is good and has improved in recent times, as indicated by levels of mortality, morbidity and disability”.However, in its latest four-yearly report the Institute is more ambivalent, still implying continuing impr…

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  • By Kevin Mount
  • Posted on Monday 29th October, 2007

Australian voices calling for action

Evidence does not always make comfortable reading for politicians, witness the findings of Richard Eckersley, Visiting Fellow at the Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health at the Australian National University, who is among the presenters at this week's National Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect in Gold Coast Queensland and who writes here on Wednesday.Australian children are healthier…

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  • By Dartington SRU
  • Posted on Friday 26th October, 2007

Listening Before Doing! A commentary on the Bennett Lecture:

The Zen teacher Suzuki Roshi said that the only effective mind is a “beginners mind” — one that is always open to revision, one that is not too attached to its current view. It takes real discipline to keep our minds open in this way.This year’s Bennett Lecture provided us with an especially powerful demonstration of how rewarding such discipline can be. The Lecture is a yearly time of cel…

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  • By Kevin Mount
  • Posted on Wednesday 24th October, 2007

Putting brain science back on the streets of Los Angeles

That their adolescent children might fall in with the ‘wrong crowd’ is among the worst fears of many parents. Falling or not quite falling is the stuff of movies and and the pivotal moment in countless life histories. But before research specialist and clinical psychologist Tom Dishion got to work, the underlying human dynamics were little understood by science.What marks Dishion’s career ap…

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  • By Kevin Mount
  • Posted on Monday 22nd October, 2007

How Penn State has written a strategy for effective intervention

Since it was established in 1997 Penn State’s Prevention Research Center (PRC) has become a focal point for the connection between prevention science, policy and practice.Success of the work on home territory has led to wide application of its methods in trials across the world. Earlier in the month, Prevention Action reported on a presentation by PRC director Mark Greenberg in Belfast Ireland,…

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  • By Kevin Mount
  • Posted on Friday 19th October, 2007

Can several thin reeds ever make a strong policy boat?

Thomas Cook and Vivian Wong, Northwestern UniversityThe universal pre-K movement seems to be winning its political campaign, thanks in part to social science and to the dominant, empirically-supported theory in education that when students are truly and enduringly engaged in learning, individual achievement increases and the national stock of knowledge and national productivity prospers. To increa…

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  • By Kevin Mount
  • Posted on Thursday 18th October, 2007

Getting the measure of the 'mileage' of preschool care

W. Steven Barnett, Rutgers UniversityLike many other analyses of the benefits and costs of public early care and education (ECE), Jens Ludwig and Deborah Phillips's Social Policy Report on Head Start relied on three studies that constitute a kind of Rosetta stone for the economics of ECE. They are the Perry Preschool (Barnett, 1996; Belfield, Nores, Barnett, & Schweinhart, 2005), Abecedarian (Barn…

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  • By Kevin Mount
  • Posted on Wednesday 17th October, 2007

Reading, writing and IT – all in good time

More resources are being made available this week to support a community effort to improve Northern Ireland primary school children's academic and computer skills. The 'Time to' series of programs, which places volunteers from local businesses into primary schools, has launched a website to provide schools, businesses, volunteers, children and parents with online resources.‘Time To’ is in the…

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  • By Kevin Mount
  • Posted on Wednesday 17th October, 2007

DRAFT Elite College prep programs for dropouts

Most agree that keeping kids in school is a worthy goal, but there’s surprisingly little information about how to do it. Drop-out prevention programs abound, but few have been rigorously evaluated. It’s not clear what works. Some programs focus on the behavior or learning problems that lead kids to drop out. Others – such as academic alternative schools – “resemble elite college prep pro…

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  • By Kevin Mount
  • Posted on Monday 15th October, 2007

When pessimism only makes matters worse

“The difference between a lady and a flower girl is not how she behaves but how she’s treated.” So explains Eliza Doolittle in George Bernard Shaw’s play Pygmalion. The idea that people, at least sometimes, behave according to how they are treated (rather than treated in response to their behavior) is called the Pygmalion Effect or self-fulfilling prophecy.Can the beliefs of one person in…

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  • By Kevin Mount
  • Posted on Sunday 14th October, 2007

Might measuring the way that they do it be the way to get results?

SAMHSANOT RIGHT Mental illness might appear to be the most private of struggles. However, the US government is investing over $1 billion to make these private problems more of a public concern and to marshal resources in 125 communities to provide better care for children with mental health problems. The communities receiving the federal funds are developing coordinated “systems of care” which…

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  • By Kevin Mount
  • Posted on Friday 12th October, 2007

Election fever disguises decisions on UK children's services spending

The ill-tempered aftermath of a bout of election fever in the UK overshadowed the first pre-Budget report by new Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling. Media scrutiny focused on inheritance tax, and the possibility that the Government was stealing the ideas of the Conservative opposition, but beneath the political veneer, important decisions were being made about expenditure on children.UK…

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