The Children's Lives Hallmark Research Initiative was announced in 2015 with funding from the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research for three years. Cross-faculty collaboration continues under the auspices of The Jack Brockhoff Child Health and Wellbeing Program and engages an active community of Children's Lives researchers in the University. Information about ongoing Children's Lives research is available here.
Barely a day goes past when a complex issue concerning children does not arise in Australian society. Indeed, the question of what it means to be a child living in the 21st century is a hot topic. Debates continue concerning children’s rights, the relationship between the media and childhood, obesity, bullying in schools, treatment of child refugees, the impact of children living in same sex parented families, resilience in the face of adversity and the development of creative school curricula. Each of these issues requires the development of a new policy response or critique of existing responses that will secure children’s protective, developmental and autonomy interests. The challenge is to generate the research necessary to achieve this aim.
The work of the Children’s Lives Hallmark Research Initiative was underpinned by the concept of a rights-based approach, where children and young people’s evolving capacities and expertise are valued. Under a rights-based approach, there is an expectation that children and young people’s views will become far more active and influence the development of policy and research agenda that affect them. The Children’s Lives HRI worked to make children, young people and their families more visible as research participants, using innovative developmentally appropriate methodologies to engage children and young people.
The Children’s Lives Hallmark Research Initiative brought interdisciplinary researchers together from across the University. The network provided opportunities for skill development of researchers who work with children and youth. The network also developed new research projects with a focus on children and youth being involved as co-researchers. Outcomes of the initiative included: ongoing research partnerships with ABC television’s Behind the News and the National Children Children’s Commissioner; a National Child and Youth Forum with the young co-researcher recommendations then presented to the United Nations; a series of child resilience research projects; and capacity building activities for University staff.