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National Early Years Collaboration

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  • Early Years Catalysing Group secures $1m funding in partnership with the BHP Foundation

    The Early Years Catalysing Group is excited to announce that we have partnered with the BHP Foundation and secured significant funding to take forward our work over the next 18 months. This has enabled us to create two new roles dedicated to the work, and shortly we will be introducing you to the people filling those roles.

    EYCG member Social Ventures Australia is managing the funding on behalf of the Group, and the leadership table will be co-chaired by Penny Dakin of ARACY and Jane Hunt of The Front Project.

    Below is the SVA media release with all the details.

    More young children set to thrive thanks to new alliance of sector leaders

    Social Ventures Australia (SVA) today announced a new initiative, the Early Childhood Development Field Catalyst, which will for the first time bring together leaders and researchers from across children and family services to reengineer and disrupt the current fragmented early-years system so that all Australian children get what they need in the early years, when they need it, to have the best chance in life.

    The group of 13 leaders driving this process will work to foster a system-wide approach to addressing the root causes of disadvantage for young children from birth to 5 years. This will include supporting the development, adoption and implementation of an Early Years Blueprint to overhaul the way that the system operates, along with how services are funded, regulated and delivered.

    This initiative is enabled through an investment of AU$1 million from the BHP Foundation to pioneer and test this Early Years Catalyst approach over 18 months.

    ‘Systemic change requires evidence, innovation and collaboration’, say James Ensor, BHP Foundation Chief Executive. ‘And through this initiative, collective action across the early years sector has the potential to significantly improve the lives of young children in Australia, which aligns with the Foundation’s ambitions to give young people every chance to fulfill their potential.’

    The leaders come from across the spectrum of sectors that interact with children including: early childhood education and care, child and maternal health, mental health, family support, housing, social services and child protection. The alliance was formed following the National Early Years Summit in March 2020 which brought together approximately 550 experts across diverse parts of the system.

    Project co-chair and CEO of Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth, Penny Dakin, believes that this approach will be crucial to developing a system that works for children and for driving change across the system.

    ‘We need a circuit breaker. We have excellent and growing evidence of what children need to be able to thrive, but the system is not set up to allow us to work together across the different services to ensure supports are available to families before they hit crisis point.’

    Project co-chair and CEO of The Front Project Jane Hunt added: ‘We know that 90% of a child’s brain is grown by age 5. This makes early childhood a critical period in a child’s development that has consequences for the rest of their life.’

    ‘We can make lasting, positive change in early childhood through better understanding of the constraints in the way the system currently operates that are leading to poor outcomes for children, and what needs to change to see more of our children flourishing.’

    During the 18-month test period, SVA will provide the backbone for the initiative and manage the project on behalf of the alliance. The group of experienced sector leaders aim to deliver improved early childhood outcomes in Australia by:

    • Bringing different parts of the sector together to allow them to work more effectively to support young children and design new solutions that better meet children’s needs
    • Developing and supporting the sector to embed a National Early Years Blueprint for improving the lives of young children
    • Advocating for policy change and evidence-informed approaches where it’s identified the system is failing children

    ‘All children should be able to thrive, and live happy and fulfilling lives. We see a very different reality in Australia now with nearly 1 in 5 children living in poverty,’ says Emma Sydenham, Director of Early Childhood at SVA.

    ‘We know from our work at SVA that not only is early childhood the best time to maximise social impact, it’s also the most cost-effective investment which saves governments and communities many millions of dollars in reduced health, welfare and justice expenses.’

    ‘SVA is delighted to be part of this coalition and to be convening and managing this collaborative, evidence-based approach to adapting the early childhood system to enable all of our children to reach their potential.”

    ‘We are embarking on a project which will need to adapt as we learn more about the current systems and as changes are made by Commonwealth and State Governments.’

    As its first task, this collaborative group will come together to map the current system to better understand the root causes of problems, and identify the leverage points for change. The mapping project will look at the interconnected systems that impact the early years, including early childhood education and care, child and maternal health, mental health, family support, housing, social services and child protection.

    This will be followed by a longer process to seek to change elements of the current child and family system and inform future policy to allow more young children to thrive in Australia.

    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.

    About the BHP Foundation

    The BHP Foundation works to address some of the world’s most critical sustainable development challenges.

    By working in partnership with others we seek to raise the bar, find new solutions and set new standards for the future.

    We are a charitable organisation funded by BHP, a leading global resources company, and our programs are designed to enhance the contribution the global resources sector can make to the achievement of many of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

    About the National Early Years Catalysing Group

    Members of the group include: The Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth (ARACY), The Centre for Community Child Health @ the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute , The Centre for Policy Development, Every Child Campaign led by The Benevolent Society, Families Australia, The Front Project (TFP), Goodstart Early Learning, Logan Together, The Parent-Infant Research Institute, Queensland University of Technology, SNAICC - National Voice for our Children, Social Ventures Australia and Thriving Queensland Kids Partnership. Project Co-Chairs are Penny Dakin (ARACY) and Jane Hunt (TFP).

    Media enquiries: Emma Glyde

  • Help us make an impact on the National Quality Framework review

    Dear Summiteers

    We need your help!

    As a professional dedicated to better outcomes for all Australia’s children, we are seeking your support to improve the National Quality Framework as part of our ongoing collaborative efforts following the National Early Years Summit 2020.

    The National Quality Framework (NQF) is the regulatory framework for all approved early childhood education and care providers in the country. A Consultation Regulation Impact Statement (CRIS) has been produced which proposes options to advance the early childhood education and care sector in Australia.

    This is our opportunity to have a real impact on the proposed changes and improve outcomes for young children in Australia. By amplifying our voices through a consistent message, we strengthen our impact.

    You can help by making a written submission to the consultation process, supporting the alignment of the National Quality Framework with the National Child Safe Principles and calling for an Early Childhood Strategy. This will take less than 20 minutes and will help us in our quest to change the system for children in Australia.

    We want to send a strong message to all Governments that children deserve to feel safe and be safe in our community. We are calling on all Governments to develop a holistic Early Childhood Strategy that supports the learning, wellbeing, development, and safety of all children in Australia. This should complement and build on the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Early Childhood Strategy recommended by SNAICC.

    We have written some key points, outlined in a draft submission that you can use as a template. If you agree with these high level recommendations, all you need to do is add some context about your organisation and how you support children and families. The draft submission template can be found below and in the Document Library on this page.

    The Consultation Regulation Impact Statement (CRIS) and the review documentation can be found at this link:

    Please submit your feedback by uploading your file in Word or PDF format to the NQF Review website by 5:00pm AEST 30 April 2021. Please note that written submissions will not be published on the NQF review website, but may be quoted in the Decision Regulation Impact Statement. Submissions can be lodged at this web address:

    Please also send us a copy of your submission through the Contact form on this page so we can increase our impact by collating all of our responses.

    Thank you for your support – we'll report back to you in the next four weeks.

    Penny Dakin, CEO, ARACY

    Jane Hunt, CEO, The Front Project

    Co-Chairs, Early Years Catalysing Group

  • 2020 wrap-up: Thanks for helping us maintain the momentum

    The Early Years Summit 2020 established a collective of national organisations to lead our shared vision, that by 2030, significantly more children in Australia are thriving in their first 1000 days and beyond (pregnancy to five).

    The Early Years Catalysing Group is dedicated to continuing the work of the Early Years Summit by engaging and acting collaboratively to ensure aligned action takes place. With the vision and outcomes of the Summit as our anchor and our authorisation, we know we are stronger when we work together.

    Thank you to everyone who has contributed this year, and to all participants who recently provided input into the ‘What next after the Early Years Summit’ questions.

    We are delighted to announce that the Early Years Catalysing Group intends to partner with the BHP Foundation to continue this work over the next 18 months.

    Our planned partnership with the BHP Foundation will allow us to iterate and activate the draft Blueprint and create a foundation for a truly collaborative approach to improving early childhood outcomes in Australia.

    We will be returning to you over the next weeks and months to update you on our progress and invite you to contribute. There will be a range of ways to do this, including through Action Learning Groups on specific themes or areas of work.

    The Early Years Catalysing Group will also undertake the development of a major dynamic systems model. This will contextualise the components of the Australian early childhood development field and create a holistic picture that can identify the interactions, barriers and opportunities where levers for change can be found. Again, this will be a broad and deep collaborative process requiring engagement and input across the early childhood development field.

    Once completed, the systems model will be made widely available to support the early childhood development field in understanding the system and the opportunities for change. It will provide an analytic frame that enables rich insight into the behaviour of the current system and the underlying conditions that shape this behaviour.

    This will support the ongoing development of the Blueprint as a roadmap for change, and progress towards a consistent narrative for change that incorporates the core elements of community awareness, evidence-based policy, and strategies for change.

    This work could not be done without the ongoing support, passion and commitment of our nearly 500 Summiteers. The Early Years Catalysing Group is excited to have the opportunity to continue this unique cross-sector collaboration and keep working with you, the Summiteers and colleagues, to create lasting change for children in Australia.

    We thank the BHP Foundation for their engagement and interest in this important work and we look forward to working more closely together so that more children in Australia can thrive in their early years.

    Again, our thanks to all who have worked with us during 2020. We look forward to achieving more together in 2021.

    The Early Years Catalysing Group


    Social Ventures Australia

    Centre for Community Child Health,
    Murdoch Children’s Research Institute

    SNAICC - National Voice for our Children

    Women and Children’s Healthcare Australasia

    Parent-Infant Research Institute

    The Front Project

    Families Australia

    Logan Together

    Goodstart Early Learning

    The Benevolent Society

    Every Child Campaign