Meerilinga's work is recognised for excellence in providing a range of professional services, activities, resources and support to children, the community and education sectors, parents and volunteers.
Research, partnering and alliances with other organisations are some of the most significant advocacy contributions Meerilinga has made over the past decade and will continue to make in supporting the education, quality care and well being of children. Research that is undertaken by Meerilinga has immediate practical application to support and complement our services, advance the broader objectives of Meerilinga and improve our practice and services.
Meerilinga research is carried out to test theories, hypothesis and policies to contribute to better understandings and decision making for the wider WA community. The research is made available to other agencies, organisations and government to contribute to and inform public debate and policy.
Relationships and alliances are welcomed and sought with other organisations to give credibility, rigor and efficient use of resources. The purpose of Meerilinga's research is to develop new learning and understanding for the benefit of Western Australia's children and their families and community.
The available research results are:
An exploration towards the provision of an Integrated Services Model
Fly-in Fly-out Employment - managing the parenting transitions
Lunch Box World
Resilience: An approach to building compassion and citizenship in schools and communities
In 2009 and 2010 Meerilinga, in partnership with Gowrie WA, self funded research to engage a research team from Edith Cowan University.
The project objectives achieved were:
- Review the current literature on models of integrated delivery of services
- Scope the current service delivery model offered to families by both Meerilinga and Gowrie WA, to ascertain strengths, duplication and services that can be enhanced
- Develop a model that demonstrates effective partnership between the collaborating organisations and aims to benefit families and children
This project was initiated by Ngala whose staff had identified the potential early learning challenges for fly-in fly-out families. In 2005 Lotterywest made funds available to Ngala to partner with Meerilinga and commission research aimed at examining the strategies used by Western Australian families with young children for dealing with the transitions in the family as a consequence of choosing a fly-in fly-out lifestyle.
Using the research expertise of the Centre for Social and Community Research, the research focused on the regular transitions from parenting together to parenting apart including issues such as:
- work and family roles
- identity issues for families
- child development and attachment issues
- decision making and communication around parenting
- emotional responses of family members to transitions
During August and September of 2001 Curtin University's Western Australian Centre for Health Promotion Research (WACHPR) conducted the research on behalf of Meerilinga (with a grant from the Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing, National Child Nutrition Program), and jointly funded by the Department of Health WA Nutrition and Physical Activity Branch.
The objectives of the research were to determine:
- Contents of lunch boxes
- How much of the lunch box food was eaten by students during lunchtime
- Factors affecting the selection / preparation and consumption of lunch box food
- Storage conditions of lunch boxes in schools
- Handwashing practice and facilities
Data was collected from 12 Western Australian primary schools both metropolitan and regional across government and non-government sectors. Pre-primary to year 7 students participated in the research.
Over 2007 to 2009 Meerilinga, in partnership with Andrew Fuller – BA (Psych), Dip Ed Psych, M Psych, MAPsS, VAFT Clinical Psychologist and Family Therapist, developed and delivered resilience workshops and resources for young people in years 5 to 7, for schools and parents in the Perth and Kimberley communities of Western Australia. Shell Development Australia funded Meerilinga to deliver this program. 38 schools representative of the government (27%); independent (24%) and private (19%) sectors participated.
The objectives of the research were to:
- Engage schools and communities to participate in the Resiliency Program
- Measure and evaluate resiliency in the Perth Schools Ambassador program, building on to incorporate a whole school approach
- Conduct and publish success and feedback from participating Ambassadors and schools
Taste Bubs began in 2006 as a pilot project funded by the Telstra Foundation. Working with a team of Child Health Nurses based in the Fremanlte area, Meerilinga Nutrition Program staff designed a resource kit to support Child Health Nurses in their work with parents at the critical stage of their children starting solids.
The aim was to:
- Increase parents’ confidence and knowledge around introducing solids and progressing to family foods
- Increase parents’ understanding of the development of their child’s eating skills and behaviours
- Increase parents’ awareness of the importance of the eating environment and the feeding relationship
- Provide a supportive group environment in which parents can seek information and share their experiences and concerns about feeding their child.
After the successful completion of the pilot project, funding from the Federal Government's Department of Health and Ageing allowed the team to develop and produce the final version, which provides current, consistent information in an engaging format through an A2 flip chart, Powerpoint presentation, facilitator’s manual, background manual, supporting DVD and parent booklet.
The Taste Bubs kit was rolled out to 320 Child Health Nurses across Western Australia in November 2009.