What the Raising Children Network website believes
Children, parents and families are all different. There are different cultural backgrounds, family structures and beliefs.
This means that decisions about what’s best for raising children are personal to and different for every family. There are some useful universal parenting principles for everyone, but the ‘right’ solution often changes from family to family.
In fact, parenting is about learning what’s right for your family. Parents and children grow and learn together, as children develop and family circumstances change over time.
We believe that parents are best placed to decide what’s right for their children and families based on their own values, circumstances and lifestyles. And we believe that parents are in the best position to make good decisions when they have information based on the best science in parenting and child health and development.
What the Raising Children Network website does
We provide up-to-date, evidence-based, scientifically validated information about raising children and caring for yourself as a parent or carer. We gather this information and translate it into everyday language with plenty of real-life examples.
Based on the evidence, we describe and explain various parenting methods and options and let people choose for themselves, depending on what suits their circumstances. We give people tools and practical ideas to apply in their own situations – we don’t tell them what to do.
We offer facts without a hidden agenda. If the science is unclear, or if there’s evidence for more than one approach to an issue, we let people know about the different approaches and their risks and benefits.
Who the Raising Children Network website is for
Our website is for all Australian parents and carers.
This is a culturally and linguistically diverse group of people spread across all Australian states and territories, including regional and remote areas.
Our website is also for the professionals who work with and support parents and carers – general practitioners, child and family health nurses, early childhood educators, preschool teachers, school teachers, social workers, psychologists and so on. Professionals can refer parents to the site or download and distribute its information to the parents they work with.
Where Raising Children Network content comes from
Working with over 200 top Australian and international experts, we produce our own content based on the most up-to-date research.
We have established close relationships with several highly respected content partners, including the Centre for Adolescent Health, Victorian Department of Education and Training, NSW Kids and Families and Stepfamilies Australia.
All content is approved by our Scientific Advisory Board. Made up of some of Australia’s pre-eminent experts in child health and development, the Board oversees the website’s content development.
Who funds the Raising Children Network website
Our website is funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services Families and Children Program. Raising Children Network operates as a not-for-profit company. We do not permit advertising, and we do not endorse any commercial products.
How we write on the Raising Children Network website
We translate scientific evidence about parenting and raising children into everyday language for all Australian parents. Plain English is the best way to do this.
Plain English involves writing in a way that’s clear, concise and free of jargon. It also involves using a voice and tone that’s appropriate for our audience.
Our writing is consistent with best-practice web writing guidelines. For example, we keep our content short; we break our content into chunks that are quick and easy to understand; we use the inverted pyramid to structure our content; and we use devices to make our content easy for users to scan and search.
How the Raising Children Network ensures reliable, scientifically validated content
All content on the website has passed through a rigorous quality assessment process developed by the Raising Children Network team and its Scientific Advisory Board. The Board is made up of some of Australia’s pre-eminent experts in child health and development, and oversees the website’s content development.
The quality assessment process ensures that each piece of website content is approved by at least two independent experts for accuracy and validity. A professional web editing team also assesses each piece on its accessibility and communication values to ensure the information is easy to understand, remember and act on.
How the Raising Children Network ensures inclusivity and diversity
Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islanders
We recognise the important role of culture and community in the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander people, including children. We're working with Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander organisations to further our understanding of Aboriginal culture as well as the information needs of parents and carers so that parents and kinship carers can identify with our resources. We have some resources specifically for Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander parents and carers, developed in consultation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders experts and parents.
Raising Children Network and its member organisations are also committed to Reconciliation.
Parenting information and support hasn’t always been father friendly or inclusive. But our content is for fathers as well as mothers. We also have resources specifically for fathers, developed by experts in fathering.
Users with low literacy and from language backgrounds other than English
We write in plain English. We have developed low-text, graphic-rich resources for people who can’t or prefer not to read English. And some of our resources are translated into languages other than English.
Users from diverse cultural backgrounds
- recognise the role of culture in parenting practices
- acknowledge the cultural relativity of all parenting information
- support the right of parents to accept or reject information based on their values and beliefs
- offer examples and options that are sensitive to and inclusive of diverse parenting practices
- use culturally diverse images and parent stories
- provide selected articles in languages other than English
- provide selected videos in languages other than English
- provide links to existing high-quality translated information on government websites
- provide information for parenting practitioners about working across cultures.
Users with disability
Our website aims to meet the Web Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and incorporate all relevant WCAG A and AA requirements as endorsed by the Australian Government.
The WCAG 2.0 guidelines aim to improve web accessibility for a wider range of people with disabilities, including blindness and low vision, deafness and hearing loss, learning difficulties, cognitive limitations, limited movement, speech disabilities, photosensitivity and combinations of these.
How the Raising Children Network handles controversy
We acknowledge that many parenting and child health and development issues can be controversial. Researchers, practitioners and parents sometimes disagree about parenting practices.
Our approach to controversial issues is guided by two key principles: the strength of the scientific evidence, and the need for balance. This means that when there’s controversy, we acknowledge it. And if there are scientifically valid arguments on both sides of a controversial topic, we present both sides so that people can make their own decisions.
Our Scientific Advisory Board:
- helps us clarify the science on a specific issue – for example, by advising us on what is and isn’t known
- lets us know about recent or groundbreaking research that we should take into account
- suggests ideas and options that we should present
- advises us on the strength or weight we should give to particular recommendations or advice.