More children living with significant adversity will start school on par with their peers thanks to $9 million funding to replicate intensive early childhood program

Social Ventures Australia and the Early Years Education Research Team (EYERT) have welcomed today’s announcement of $9 million funding from the Commonwealth Government to replicate the Early Years Education Program in four sites, including one dedicated for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

The replication will benefit an estimated 200 of Australia’s children experiencing high levels of vulnerability by giving them access to the intensive education and care program.

This funding is being added to already significant philanthropic investment and will allow the EYERT, with SVA’s support, to establish a dedicated Institute to oversee and manage the replication and evaluation of the program in two sites each in Queensland and Victoria, and work with relevant communities, services and governments.

Children will be enrolled in the three-year program from birth up to three years of age. The program uses a multi-disciplinary approach that offers high quality early education and care, infant mental health and family support, and is delivered in partnership with families and local community organisations.

This is a strategic investment by the Commonwealth Government in a program that has been proven through a rigorous randomised control trial to support young children living with significant adversity to start school as confident learners, developmentally on par with their peers. This investment will not only change the trajectory of children’s lives, it has the potential to reduce future government expenses in health, justice and community services.

While all the replication sites will be open and accessible to First Nations families, SVA and EYERT are particularly pleased one of the four replication sites will be a dedicated First Nations site which will be designed, implemented and evaluated with local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders and services in partnership with SNAICC – the national peak body for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

Catherine Liddle, SNAICC CEO welcomed the funding from the Government saying it will strengthen the already great work that Aboriginal community-controlled services are delivering, with a focus on the intensive wraparound support that is vital for children and families.

‘We know that trauma is intergenerational, and focusing on healing for our kids in their early years is the pathway for greater outcomes in later life.’

The new Institute will be headed by Early Years Education Program Replication Co-Directors Dr. Anne Kennedy and Associate Professor Brigid Jordan AM from the EYERT.

EYEP Replication Co-Director Brigid Jordan said that intensive care interventions like EYEP have a life-changing impact on children experiencing high levels of vulnerability which cannot be achieved by less intensive models.

‘EYEP is a targeted model that responds to the acute needs of highly vulnerable children in the same way that paediatric intensive care in hospitals is designed for children with acute medical problems.’

This investment in replication is crucial according to EYEP Replication Co-Director Anne Kennedy, who believes that replication studies are the ‘missing link’ between successful pilot programs and the ability to achieve those same outcomes when operating at scale.

‘For years we have seen the same negative statistics on the developmental, learning and wellbeing outcomes for Australia’s most disadvantaged children. The EYEP targeted model is the first evidence-based model to provide a replicable approach for changing those statistics so that every child enters school as a confident learner.’  

SVA has supported the Early Years Education Research Team to develop and establish this replication project and will continue to work with the new Institute to build workforce capability and to better understand the potential for scaling the program to see positive outcomes for participating children.

SVA CEO Suzie Riddell congratulated all parties involved in the EYEP replication.

We are delighted to be involved in this partnership with communities, researchers, service delivery organisations and philanthropy to take a great, evidence-backed program like EYEP and test if its innovative model can operate at scale.’

‘This project is a fantastic example of philanthropists, community and government coming together to take a well-tested program and replicate it.’

‘If the results of the replication project are as positive as we hope, we look forward to partnering with more communities, governments and service providers across the country to create a national network that will support many more children living with significant adversity in Australia to reach their potential.’

 

About Social Ventures Australia

Social Ventures Australia (SVA) is a not-for-profit organisation that works with partners to alleviate disadvantage – towards an Australia where all people and communities thrive. We influence systems to deliver better social outcomes for people by learning about what works in communities, helping organisations be more effective, sharing our perspectives and advocating for change.

Early Years Education Research Team

The Early Years Education Research Team (EYERT) are a team of multi-disciplinary professionals who designed, implemented and evaluated the Early Years Education Program pilot. They will lead the establishment of the new Institute and will manage the implementation and the evaluation of the Early Years Education Program replication.

About SNAICC – National Voice for our Children

SNAICC – National Voice for our Children is the non-governmental peak body for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. We work for the fulfilment of the rights of our children, in particular to ensure their safety, development and well-being. SNAICC exists to see all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children thrive – growing up in nurturing environments, with loving and supporting families, adequate food and housing, and rich with our culture – to live their dreams.

 

Media enquiries: Emma Glyde eglyde@socialventures.com.au