This paper presents findings and learning from the project Fostering policy support for family and child health and wellbeing (FCHW) on how policy recognition, norms and approaches have changed in countries towards improving support for FCHW. It synthesizes evidence and learning from 14 case studies. The report summarises the range of FCHW policy changes; the contexts that created favorable conditions for these changes and the actors, processes and practices that raised policy attention to FCHW, built support for policy options and advanced policy adoption. When different processes and actors converged around a shared broad goal, it generated impetus for policy change. The paper highlights shared strategic features that, while achieved in diverse ways, appear to be critical for FCHW policy changes: to reframe the narrative, align and activate all to a common cause and to demonstrate, deliver and protect policy change
This brief provides an accessible summary of the learning and insights from the synthesis paper on how policy recognition, norms and approaches have changed in countries towards improving support for FCHW. It presents the key messages for the various actors involved in such policy change processes.
The changes that led to the adoption of ‘headspace’ as an early intervention model for youth mental health in Australia show how growing evidence of the problem and inadequacy of the services led to public and professional dissatisfaction. A consortium of researchers brought evidence, public testimony and simple messages into multiple platforms on the problem, proposing ‘headspace’ as an affirmative, common sense response, ready to take to scale. Pilot ‘headspace’ centres generated community and political support and a strong media profile elevated youth mental health as an electoral issue. These processes led to significant new investment in youth mental health, albeit with ongoing debate on the need to address deficits in the management of more complex conditions.
A multi-dimensional strategy increased recognition, policy and program support for early child development (ECD) from municipal to federal level in Brazil. Wider democratic changes in the 1990s and growing evidence of the importance of ECD provided an opportunity to communicate and advocate for proactive investment in ECD, including through a range of media. A combination of political and technical actors and processes took this forward into changes in policy and practice, implementing research and a high level training programme for social, political and institutional leaders that catalysed state, municipal and national ECD. A parliamentary caucus helped to take this practice innovation to policy and legal adoption of a federal program, Criança Feliz. Investments are now being made to ensure positive feedback from effective service implementation and to show impact through monitoring and rigorous evaluation.
A window of opportunity at the end of the dictatorship in 1989 brought in a government promoting universal, rights-driven approaches. While several social protection schemes were introduced, Chile Crece Contigo (ChCC) went further to provide a universal, integrated and comprehensive approach to improving equality of opportunity across the life-course through early child development, drawing on growing evidence of the returns from such investment. President Bachelet set a political vision for it, gathering technical, social and cross party actors to review evidence and make proposals for ChCC. The near universal health system and existing services, supported by training and new resources, provided a means for ChCC to quickly reach communities with visible benefits, while evidence is being used and communicated to demonstrate gain and support improved practice.