Early childhood reform: information for parents

Supporting all children to learn and thrive

More than any other time, early childhood shapes who children will become and what kind of life they will lead.

During these early years, as a child’s brain is developing, the foundations are laid for their cognitive, speech, language, social and emotional skills and long-term development.

Young children do not spend their days in a classroom, but they are always learning - as they explore their world, as they interact with adults and other children, and as they play.

That’s why, at this formative stage of a child’s development, the Victorian Government is taking the opportunity to help shape their life for the better.

We are investing $202.1 million to help every child to thrive.

Early Childhood Reform Plan

Over the next 10 years, our ground-breaking Early Childhood Reform Plan will benefit all Victorian families and children by delivering world-class early childhood services.

Through the Victorian Budget 2017/18 we are spending a record amount on kinder, Maternal and Child Health (MCH), and parenting support, to help get kids ready for kinder, ready for school and ready for happy and successful lives.

Supporting parents

The biggest influence on a young child is their parents. Taking on this role can be daunting, and all parents need support at times. Like any skill, parenting can be learned and improved, which is why having access to the right support and information is so important.

That is why we are strengthening our MCH Service and providing additional help to families who need it.

Better access to information

So you can access accurate information and expert advice quickly and conveniently, we are spending $4.9 million to provide information when you need it. This includes adding additional staff for our MCH phone line, so that you can easily access support from our trained MCH nurses - 24 hours a day, every day of the year

More Enhanced MCH support

We are providing $37.7 million to extend the Enhanced MCH Service to make support available to families with children up to three years of age

Extra visit from MCH nurses for women and children at risk of family violence 

We are spending $11 million so that MCH nurses are able to provide an additional visit to support women and children, and connect them to specialist support services

Supporting our MCH workforce

We are providing $5.2 million in funding to attract and develop our MCH workforce, including training to support MCH nurses’ ongoing professional development

More playgroups

We are providing $22.3 million to expand supported playgroups across the state, giving families who need extra support access to groups run by trained facilitators. We are also providing funding to help improve the connections between First Time Parent Groups and community playgroups

More support for Koorie families and children

We are spending $5.4 million to support Koorie parents and children with culturally relevant services. We will fund new Koorie supported playgroups and the Koorie Families as First Educators program.

Better kinder for all children and more help for those who need it

We know that early learning lasts a lifetime. That is why we are improving quality and fairness in kinder, and ensuring that more children can benefit.

School readiness funding

In an Australian-first, we are giving extra resources to kindergartens so they can help children most in need. We will boost funding to kinders by $55.3 million, so they can provide additional support like language and literacy assistance, speech therapy, or more one‑on‑one learning time for children.

Supporting kindergartens to improve their quality

All kindergartens will receive increased support from the Department of Education and Training to deliver high quality education, and grants will enable access to intensive coaching, training and advice for kindergartens that need it most. To make sure every child is ready for school we are increasing the amount of support provided to kindergartens to improve their quality through a $22.8 million investment.

Building new kindergartens

We are providing $10 million to build new early childhood facilities at government primary school sites to make it easier for families to access early childhood facilities and to support improved transition from kinder to school. In addition, we are also providing $1.1 million to reform kindergarten funding for non-government schools to encourage more to offer a kindergarten program, particularly those in low socioeconomic areas.

Meeting demand for Early Start Kindergarten

We are providing $6.3 million to meet growing demand for Early Start Kindergarten. This will help more Koorie children and children known to child protection access two years of kinder for free.

Helping more children access kinder places

We are setting aside kinder places so kids who need them most don’t miss out. The Government is providing $2.3 million to hold kinder places open for Koorie children, children known to child protection and refugees, even after enrolment deadlines have passed.

Helping families find a kinder place

To make it easier to find a spot at a local kinder, we are providing $5.5 million to local governments to expand the number that offer central enrolment - a single process for families to find a kinder place.

Helping more children with a disability to go to kinder

We are spending $5 million so that more children with a disability can attend and fully participate in kinder each year, including children with severe and complex disabilities who could not attend without support.

Supporting children with a disability

Supporting families in the transition to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)

We are spending $7.2 million to reduce the number of children waiting for intervention and support until the introduction of the National Disability Insurance Agency Early Childhood Intervention model.

Further information