2007 - Dear Friend and Supporter,

It may have been a long time since you received an update from us, and for many of you, it may be the first! To bring you up to speed, Smart Population Foundation ((SPF)) was established in 2002 as a national non-profit organisation dedicated to harm prevention and improved long-term outcomes for children through accessible education initiatives. 

SPF is a founding member of the Raising Children Network (RCN), a consortium of three leading child health, parenting research and communications organisations, which includes the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute's Centre for Community Child Health at the Royal Children's Hospital University of Melbourne and the Parenting Research Centre.   RCN was appointed by the Australian Government to develop and manage the national parenting website, raisingchildren.net.au. Commissioned by the Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaCSIA) at $4 million over four years, and with over 3 million visits since its launch in May 2006, the Raising Children website has become the definitive online child health and parenting resource for professionals and parents in Australia.

This past year and a half, SPF has been hard at work producing the Raising Children DVD as a companion to the website.  After 5 years of development and the involvement, participation and work of over 150 people, it was finally launched to the Australian public on 20 August 2007! We were very fortunate to have had the Prime Minister of Australia, the Hon John Howard MP, make it official. He also announced additional funding of $2 million for the website for a further two years to 2011; an additional $500,000 for distribution of the DVD inside a new Parent Pack that also contains the $4,500 individual 'Baby Bonus' application form which all families receive when their baby is born (in the hospital and through midwives) and additional funding for the My Neighbourhood interactive mapping tool which is in currently under construction.

Producing a resource like this was obviously no small task – it was a massive exercise in collaboration, diplomacy, hard work, and many a sleepless night! It would not have been possible with out the visionary support of the Caledonia Foundation, the Falconwood Foundation and Perpetual Trustees.

I feel like I am forever apologising for not being able to stay in touch as much as I would like, but the support you gave us during the 5 years it took to develop and produce this resource has been very important to me and the foundation. Let us know what you think!

- Divonne Holmes à Court


Announcing the Raising Children DVD!

Australia is now the first country in history to provide its entire population of new parents with a comprehensive parenting resource on DVD covering all the basics from birth to five. See more about the background and rationale of the DVD.

The Raising Children DVD is the official companion to the Raising Children website and contains five hours of quality assured, interactive content covering child health, development and care, as well as information about family management and resources. Look at the one-page snapshot of its features. And you can see the full list of credits.

To view clips or order the DVD visit www.raisingchildren.tv

Raising Children DVD Launch

The Prime Minister launched the DVD on the 20th of August announcing that it would be available free to all new parents, first to order via the Raising Children website, and now in Centrelink’s new 'Parent Pack’ distributed in hospitals to parents upon the birth of every child in the country.  Over 40,000 families ordered a copy via the website during the two months between launch and formal distribution which began on the 1st of November 2007.

To view photos from the launch, select the 'photo gallery' tab up top or click here. To read the official launch press release in PDF format click here.



So far we have received an exceptional response from all key stakeholders: the Government, expert community and of course the parents. Here is a small selection or your can download the pdf for more.

“It is a wonderful resource and it’s been enlivened by the participation of some well known figures and faces in Australian society, but also by the not-so-well-known, united by the common bond of parenthood and the common concern that we owe it to the new generations of Australians to give them the best possible start in life.”
The Hon John Howard, Prime Minister of Australia

“The work of your organisation has been visionary and will make a major contribution to improved parenting practices amongst the Australian community.”
The Hon Mal Brough, Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs

“I wish we had received this DVD when we had our first baby – so much good information; it would definitely have helped put me at ease during such a nerve racking time.”
Mother of three - 35 years, Wollongong NSW

"It’s very engaging and informative - such clever people you are to have done it so well. I really enjoyed watching these (as did my children!). I think they provided a good balance between validating and empowering parents (as it is very respectful of them) while at the same time it reinforced the message that its OK to ask for help and sensible to seek for advice if you are unsure of anything."
Dr. Johanna Watson - Research Manager
Centre for Parenting and Research, NSW Department of Community Services


SPF Developments

Recently, SPF has been working collaboratively with the New South Wales Department of Disability, Aging and Home Care, to produce disability specific film clips for the website, making it a holistic resource where families with a child with a disability can find information to help with raising all of their children.

In 2006 we created the ABC’s (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) parents website at abc.net.au/parenting and are now working to produce short parenting minutes to be aired during kids TV programming.

We are currently investigating a project to create educational content and programs for schools. We hope to develop an online platform for 8-16 year olds to conceive, plan, write, storyboard, edit, budget and pilot television programs for kids by kids called Learn4Reel. We hope by creating this platform in collaboration with a new ABC digital channel, local production companies with access to BBC vast clips library (and some seed funding from the Government), students can be engaged to learn classic curriculum elements of writing and math while developing marketable skills in a fun, interactive and competitive environment where entries are judged by peers and a panel of media professionals.


Please feel free to help us continue to develop innovative resources to improve outcomes for children by making a tax deductible donation.

Meet the team

Our team has now grown to 5!

Fiona Wicks started with SPF in August 2006 and previously worked as a litigation lawyer with a Sydney firm. Fiona is the foundation coordinator.
Jane Kielb has been with us since September 2006 and handles PR – we share her with Whitebull Holdings.
Susanna Eckersley has been with SPF since March 2007 and has a background in early intervention. She works on research, policy, and communications.
Alison Pagett is the newest member to the team and handles the office management and the Raiing Children DVD customer service.