Connected Beginnings

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Connected Beginnings helps Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children prepare for school. The program contributes to objectives under Closing the Gap.

About the program

Connected Beginnings aims to improve the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children based on evidence of what works in community building and collaboration from Australia and overseas.

The program uses a collective impact approach, which brings people together in a structured way to achieve community-led social change.

The program works closely with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island communities to identify early childhood priorities for change.

A focus is ensuring that services, such as early childhood, maternal and child health, family support, pre-schools, councils and government agencies work together to provide Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families with support and timely access to services.

This then supports early learning, and addresses children’s health, attendance, and cultural safety. The program aims to help children to become school ready.

Program expansion

The Australian Government committed an additional $81.8 million in August 2021 to support the expansion of the Connected Beginnings program to 50 sites nationally by 2025.

This will benefit an extra 8,550 children in communities across Australia.

Almost $45 million will be delivered through the Department of Education, Skills and Employment, and $37 million through the Department of Health.

Sites will be gradually rolled out and site selection will be based on analysis of Australian Early Development Census (AEDC) data, population and socioeconomic data, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander stakeholder partnerships and local community engagement.

The expansion will benefit an additional 8,550 children in communities with the highest need to be safe, healthy and ready to thrive at school by aged five and contribute to reducing the difference in school readiness and education outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous children.

The expansion will ensure that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have a greater say in how the program is delivered to their people, in their own places and on their own country.

It will also support a strong community-controlled sector through capacity building and investment, including a dedicated Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workforce stream to employ local people.

Read about the expansion of the program.

Current projects

State

Location

NSW

Doonside

NSW

Mount Druitt

NSW

Taree

NSW

Bourke

NT

Alice Springs

NT

Galiwin’ku

NT

Tennant Creek

NT

Angurugu

QLD

Doomadgee (Mt Isa)

QLD

Rasmussen

QLD

Mareeba

SA

Ceduna

SA

Port Augusta

TAS

Bridgewater/Gagebrook

VIC

Mildura

VIC

Shepparton

WA

Kalgoorlie

WA

Derby

WA

Roebourne

WA

Armadale West

WA

Bidyadanga

WA

Central Great Southern (Katanning)

More information

For more information see the Connected Beginnings Program Guidelines.

If you are successful applying for a grant, you must enter into a grant agreement. View a sample grant agreement.

The program is jointly funded by us and the Department of Health.

Visit the Department of Health website for more information.

If you have more questions, email connectedbeginnings@dese.gov.au