Staff involved: Angela Lawless

SACHRU is working with the City of Onkaparinga to examine issues for children aged 8-12, exploring the evidence about "what works" for this age group and considering the applicability of these findings to the local context. The project was initiated by the City of Onkaparinga in response to widespread anecdotal evidence of: children disengaging from traditional community forums, difficulties for agencies in developing age-appropriate activities and a range of problem behaviours being reported. Many problems previously thought to be the province of the teen years appear to be occurring in younger age groups.

SACHRU undertook a literature review regarding current understandings of the needs of 8-12 years olds, the evidence regarding possible approaches and possible outcomes for children and service providers. A shorter discussion paper was then developed to provide a succinct overview of the key findings. This was presented at a series of three stakeholder workshops which were held across the region. The workshops were well attended and positively received by participants. The workshops allowed local experience and knowledge to be incorporated in the final report and recommendations and thanks are extended to the participants who shared their insights, examples and expertise.

Both the literature and consultation workshops revealed 8-12 year olds are a somewhat neglected age group in terms of both policy and practice. It is hoped that this project will help to develop a strong foundation for the development of future initiatives for 8-12 year olds in the Onkaparinga region.