Exploring the potential of holistic and integrated early learning services
Children experiencing a wide spectrum of disadvantage have unique needs and require different supports to get them ready to begin schooling. There is strong emerging evidence in Australia that high quality, intensive and integrated early learning services have the potential to close the gap of inequities by the time these children start school.
“We need to start from a different place – from where families and communities are at, hearing their stories and then responding. ICFCs should not be seen as another form of service for families. We need to adopt a more radical approach. By building in parental and community governance, we can ensure we are being held to account.”
Dr. Tim Moore
Senior Research Fellow,
Centre for Community Child Health
SVA commissioned the Centre for Community Child Health at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute to explore the potential of integrated child and family centre (ICFC) service models to support children and their families who are experiencing vulnerability.
The research found that ICFCs can play an important role in meeting many needs of young children and families and could help fill a major gap in the current early years environment. However, to truly support all children and families to thrive, they must be accompanied both by broader place–based supports that address the conditions under which families are raising young children, and an enabling policy environment.
Paper One: Core care conditions for children and families: implications for integrated child and family services
This paper reviews what is known about the core needs of children, parents and families, the conditions that parents require to meet the needs of their children, and how well the service system is meeting those needs. It uses this evidence to identify what role ICFCs could play in addressing the needs of children and families.
Paper Two: Developing holistic integrated early learning services for young children and families experiencing socio-economic vulnerability
This paper explores the common elements of ICFCs which have the greatest impact for children experiencing socio–economic vulnerability, and what is required for high quality implementation of each of these. It reviews national and international examples of holistic, integrated early learning programs for young children and their families.