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1 in 6

Australian children live in poverty


only of 3 year olds participate in pre-primary education in Australia compared with the OECD average of 68.6%


of children in Australia are developmentally vulnerable when they start school*


of children admitted into out-of-home care in 2017-2018 were aged birth to 4


of family support and child protection funding was invested in early intervention**

16 billion

is spent by Government every year on high-intensity and crisis services as a result of intervening too late

*increasing to 33% for children living in areas of socio-economically disadvantage and 44% for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children

**in 2017-2018 ($999 million), compared with $4.8 billion spent on child protection and out of home care

The issue

We know that for children to thrive, they need to be nourished within a supporting home environment, stable and healthy housing, an inclusive and supportive community, and have access to basic infrastructure and services to support child and family needs.

Yet for many children this is not happening, resulting in developmental delays during childhood, and an increased likelihood of experiencing disadvantage later in life.

Significant research has identified the key drivers of better outcomes for children, but the system fails to provide targeted, high quality and accessible supports to the children and families who need them most.

“We don’t have a knowing problem, we have a doing problem”

– Matthew Cox, Logan Together

SVA’s focus

SVA is seeking to support a shift towards proactive and responsive child and family systems that deliver genuine investment in prevention and early supports to families that need it most. By providing families with the right services in the right dosage at the right time we can redress some of the underlying issues that are impacting families, and see children thrive.

We’re focusing on children from conception to age eight who are at risk of, or already experiencing vulnerability, with a particular focus from conception to age three, given the evidence regarding brain development over this period and proof that investing early delivers the best outcomes for children.

The solution

SVA is exploring a range of initiatives that redress the systems problems that impact on children experiencing vulnerability. Together, we believe that these initiatives have the potential to reinvert the focus of the system to be more proactive, coordinated and child-centred, ensuring quality supports early to empower families with multiple and complex needs to care well for their children.

1. Increasing access to quality early childhood development services that can see children start school on par with their peers, through:

  • codifying the evidence,
  • trialling innovative models,
  • building a network of lighthouse services, and
  • supporting development of a nationwide policy framework and service system

2. Increasing access for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children to high quality community owned early learning services, through:

  • trialling and potentially scaling an intermediary service model,
  • more child-centred national policy,
  • articulating and advocating for a strong community controlled support system for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander early learning services, and
  • this project is led by the national peak body for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, SNAICC – National Voice for our Children

3.Enabling an effective ecosystem for children to thrive, through:

  • targeted and strategic interventions that redress the drivers of vulnerability,
  • supporting sector led change initiatives focused on reorienting the system towards prevention, and
  • strengthening cross-sector collaboration among sectors relevant to early childhood development

Our priorities in FY21

  • Codifying evidence on the features of an early childhood development model that best supports outcomes for children experiencing socio-economic vulnerability and family stress
  • Supporting the establishment of a series of trials of intensive early childhood development services
  • Exploring a national early childhood development policy framework for quality early childhood development supports to children with multiple and complex needs from birth to six
  • Co-designing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander intermediary service for early years services
  • Exploring and documenting the impact of Australia’s welfare system on children
  • Supporting collective development of a national early years’ blueprint for children

Seeking bold funding partners

Work with us to reinvert the system and provide high quality, preventative supports to children and families with complex and multiple needs, so families can function well and support their children to thrive.

Thank you

Program partners

Alex Wenderoth and Daniel Beer
Berg Family Foundation
Chris Harrop
Graf Family
Heather and William Webster, AM
The J. Permsew Foundation

Joint initiative funding partners

Australian Communities Foundation
BHP Foundation
The Bryan Foundation
GNS Ceramics
The Ian Potter Foundation
The Lowitja Institute
Paul Ramsay Foundation

To become involved

Emma Sydenham

Emma Sydenham

Director, Early Childhood

Emma is the Director of Early Childhood at Social Ventures Australia (SVA).

Contact Emma