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Our vision for the early childhood sector

The best chance to change lifelong outcomes for children is to change what happens in early childhood. Despite this, our system does not have the appropriate conditions, supports or services for all children to thrive.  

SVA’s Young Children Thriving program seeks to transform the early childhood development landscape. We are designing a more proactive and responsive early years system that provides families experiencing vulnerability with the right supports, when they need them.

Our vision is for an Australia where all children, regardless of where they live or the challenges their family face, have the opportunities and supports they need to thrive.

What is the issue with Australia's early childhood system?

Children should have every opportunity for the best start in life. Yet, this is far from a reality for many children in Australia today.

Research has identified the key drivers of better outcomes for children. Sadly, our system fails to provide targeted, high quality and accessible supports to ensure those drivers are there for the children who need them most.

1 in 6

Australian children live in poverty


more likely for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families to live in out of home care than their non-Indigenous counterparts


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

Together with our partners, we are orchestrating several ambitious initiatives to drive impact across the system.

Nurture Together

Mobilising integrated child and family centres to transcend disadvantage

This initiative supports children experiencing vulnerability to have timely access to the wrap-around supports they need to start school as healthy, strong and confident learners.

SVA are exploring the enormous potential that holistic, integrated early learning service models could have. We believe they can fill an important gap in the early years environment for people experiencing disadvantage.

Nurture Together

SNAICC Early Years Support

Transforming Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander access to quality early learning

SVA has partnered with SNAICC –National Voice for our Children to develop the National Early Years Support (EYS, formerly THRYVE) Pilot project. EYS is growing, supporting and representing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations across Australia to deliver more and stronger early years services for children, families and communities.

EYS is establishing three state-wide intermediaries in NSW, WA and Victoria. They will provide direct supports, professional services, and a collective voice for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander early years sector.

SNAICC Early Years Support

Early Years Catalyst

Redressing the root causes and systemic forces that drive disadvantage in the early years

The Early Years Catalyst (EYC) is a bold national coalition working to disrupt and transform the early years landscape. Our goal is to redesign the system and redress entrenched mindsets to drive better outcomes for children experiencing disadvantage.

SVA is one of the 12 founding members of the EYC, and currently hosts the backbone team. The EYC is co-chaired by The Front Project and ARACY.

Early Years Catalyst

Thank you to our program partners and joint initiative funders

Program Partners


Alan and Gillian Gray Philanthropy (AGGPA)

Alexandra Wenderoth and Daniel Beer

The Antipodean Family Foundation

Berg Family Foundation

The BHP Foundation



Brian M. Davis Charitable Foundation

The Bryan Foundation

Chris and Kathy Harrop

The Graf family

Heather and William Webster, AM



J. Permsew Foundation

Magnolia Foundation

The Wiggs Family Foundation

Joint Initiative Funding Partners:


The Australian Government

GNS Ceramics

The Ian Potter Foundation



King Wood Mallesons

The Lowitja Foundation

Paul Ramsay Foundation

To become involved

We continue to seek bold funding partners to work with us to achieve outcomes associated with this work.

Reach out if you would like to work with us to help transform the early childhood development landscape for children experiencing vulnerability.


Contact us now

Our Team

Emma Sydenham

Emma Sydenham

Director, Early Childhood

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

Contact Emma
Caitlin Graham

Caitlin Graham

Associate Director, Early Childhood

Caitlin is an Associate Director, Early Childhood at SVA.

Contact Caitlin
Brie Handcock

Brie Handcock

Program and Communications Officer, Early Childhood

Brie is a Program and Communications Officer, Early Childhood at SVA

Contact Brie
Karen Kennedy

Karen Kennedy

Director, Philanthropy and Partnerships

Karen is the Director, Philanthropy and Partnerships at Social Ventures Australia (SVA).

Contact Karen