A few words from our convener, Bree Katsamangos
Mid Coast 4 Kids is a community driven initiative, designed to respond to the needs of children, young people and families on the Mid Coast.
A collaboration of passionate, skilled, experienced individuals, we are committed to ensuring every child raised on the Mid Coast is given equal opportunity to thrive.
There are 6,879 children (aged 0-5) on the Mid North Coast in the ‘vulnerable young children group’. This is approximately 1 in 3. This means they do not have the skills (learning, socio-emotional, physical) to flourish at school. Projected outcomes for the vulnerable group are worse than the NSW average. Indeed, 45% of the vulnerable group are expected to have a Risk of Serious Harm report in the future compared to the NSW average of 34% (Their Futures Matter, 2019).
We know that early experiences in the first 2000 days of life have flow-on effects every decade thereafter. This ‘golden window‘ is a unique opportunity to positively influence the trajectory of a child’s life. When children and families are supported in the early years, we reduce the risk of lifelong disability, chronic disease, mental illness, reduced economic opportunity and inter-generational poverty (UNSW, First 2000 Days Kids Connect).
What will make a difference is our ability to come together as a community, as a collective of services, to build child serving systems that have children at their heart. It sounds ‘warm and fuzzy’. It’s not. It’s hard work. It will require time, it will require investment and it will require passion. At times we will fail, but we will learn from our failures and we will continue, because the health and wellbeing of our children, our young people and our community depend on it.
“It will be hard, but it’ll finally be the right kind of hard” – Glennon Doyle
At different times we will need all of you, our children, our young people, our parents, our community groups, our services, our government departments and our political leaders to step forward and contribute. Only a ‘whole of community approach’ will move the needle on childhood disadvantage on the Mid Coast.
This is not an issue that is ‘out there’, somewhere. It is our issue, it belongs to us and it is our responsibility to respond. While we cannot do it all, we can do something. What matters is that we do it together.
Our aim is to build a community where every child on the Mid Coast feels valued, supported, respected, protected and provided for. All of our children deserve to live well and free from harm. What will you do to contribute?