Parents and community organisations will join representatives from across government, non-government, academic and business sectors in Canberra today to discuss the development of the Commonwealth Early Years Strategy.
The Strategy, to be finalised this year, will express Australia’s collective vision for all young children and their families now, and into the future.
Minister for Social Services Amanda Rishworth and Minister for Early Childhood Education Dr Anne Aly are jointly leading the development of the Strategy incollaboration with other responsible Ministers across the Commonwealth.
The Summit is the next milestone to inform the Strategy’s development and to bring forward the big ideas to get the policy and support settings right for Australia’s little children.
Minister for Social Services Amanda Rishworth said a child’s early life experience could have lasting impacts on their future and bringing together a coordinated cross-government approach would help set the nation up for success.
“We know that the early years are where the building blocks are stacked for life-long physical, emotional, social and cognitive health and wellbeing,” Minister Rishworth said.
“There is strong evidence that when we identify and intervene early for issues arising in the early years, this significantly alters the trajectory for children. It’s time we better coordinate federal spending across health, welfare and education, to close gaps in services and better address intergenerational disadvantage.”
The latest data from the Australian Early Development Census (AEDC) shows that the percentage of children assessed as developmentally vulnerable in at least one domain was 22 per cent.
Some children are experiencing higher rates of developmental vulnerability.
Dr Aly said a coordinated approach to the early years will ensure every child has access to support services and early childhood education they need to thrive, no matter their background.
“We have in our control the power to change the trajectory of a child’s life if we get those vital first five years right,” Dr Aly said
“Today’s Summit will jump start a national conversation about how we can best work together to ensure all children have the best possible start in life.”
The Summit will cover key topics including the vision and priorities for the Early Years Strategy, as well as how we make sure the voices of children and families are at the centre of the Strategy.
Attendees include representatives from early childhood education and care, First Nations, disability, health, and parenting support organisations, as well as unions and academics.
The Summit follows the opening of public consultations for the Strategy in early February. More than 1000 survey responses from around Australia have been received so far. In-person roundtables will also be held in each state and territory.
Public submissions are open on the development of the Strategy until 30 April 2023. To access the Discussion Paper, make a submission, or explore other opportunities to contribute to the consultation process, visit the Department of Social Services website or DSS engage.