The development of a Commonwealth Early Years Strategy is a welcome opportunity to prioritise the wellbeing of children and early childhood development, according to The Parenthood.
Executive Director Georgie Dent says, “An integrated, holistic, whole-of-government strategy to ensure all children in Australia have the opportunity to thrive and realise their potential presents a profound opportunity to affect intergenerational change.
“Like many others, The Parenthood has long been advocating for an integrated strategic approach to policies impacting children and families. The Early Years Strategy and next year’s National Early Years Summit will help facilitate that.”
Dent is part of a 14-member expert Advisory Panel that has been established to inform the development of the Early Years Strategy. Federal Minister for Social Services Amanda Rishworth will lead the development of the Strategy in partnership with Federal Minister for Early Childhood Education and Youth Dr Anne Aly.
A National Early Years Summit will be held on 17 February 2023 and will bring together stakeholders across the early years sector, including industry experts, sector leaders, and the voices of families.
“The period from birth to five years old is richly formative and presents a crucial window of opportunity for setting children up for lifelong success,” Dent said.
“The foundations for a happy, healthy, and successful future are laid in the early years.
“One in five children in Australia start school developmentally vulnerable, which rises to two in five for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. We know that the mental health of children has been declining and we know too many children in Australia aren’t getting the support they need when they need it.
“The Early Years Strategy presents a unique opportunity to ensure all children in Australia get the best start in life.
“I am honoured to be on the Advisory Panel and will work with government, peers and other stakeholders to help ensure the strategy can deliver on the ambition of improving the lives of all children.
“There will be opportunities for families to help shape the Strategy through surveys, public submissions, roundtables, local engagement and consultation which we look forward to supporting.”