13/03/2018 - 14:48

$49m investment in early childhood project

13/03/2018 - 14:48

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A three-way partnership between the state government, Minderoo Foundation and Telethon Kids Institute will invest $49.3 million into a 10-year early childhood project aimed at improving outcomes for children up to four years old.

$49m investment in early childhood project
Nicola Forrest (left) with Mark McGowan, Community Services Minister Simone McGurk and Jonathan Carapetis.

A three-way partnership between the state government, Minderoo Foundation and Telethon Kids Institute will invest $49.3 million in a 10-year early childhood project aimed at improving outcomes for children up to four years old.

Through the initiative unveiled today, four communities across metropolitan, regional and remote Western Australia will trial evidence-based approaches to childhood development.

Researchers will work with communities and service providers to assess what works and then share evidence with stakeholders across the state to improve early childhood care.

According to research provided by the government, the developmental gap between children living in high and low socioeconomic areas has widened since 2009.

Minderoo and the government will each contribute $24.6 million to the project, which has been titled The Early Years Initiative.

Minderoo chief executive Nicola Forrest said the initiative was an opportunity to bring long-term strategy to an important social challenge.

“Research shows that the first five years of a child’s life create a platform for their future success; this is the time where there is expansive psychological growth, a blossoming of emotional intelligence, and rapid brain development,” she said

“The Early Years Initiative will concentrate on this critical period to arrest disadvantage and ensure we have a system that enables healthy, happy and thriving children who enter the schooling system with the highest potential.”

Premier Mark McGowan said the costs and resources of the project will be shared.

“This initiative is about listening to WA families who are best placed to understand the needs of the children and communities, and how services in their local area can be improved. I believe this will result in genuine change,” he said.

Telethon Kids director Jonathan Carapetis said the initiative would be one of the biggest early years approaches ever undertaken in Australia.

“We will work with communities to empower them to develop their own solutions to problems they see affecting the lives of their young children and families,” he said

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