The Early Years Compact

​​​A ten year agreement between the Department of Education and Training (DET), the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and local government – represented by the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV).

About the Early Years Compact

The compact:

  • establishes, for the first time, a commitment between state and local governments to work together to improve outcomes for young children and their families
  • clarifies the roles and responsibilities for each of the three parties—recognising the key role local government plays in supporting and responding to the needs of children and families at the local level
  • provides a common set of principles to support how the parties will work together
    improves coordination, collaboration, information sharing and accountability across the early years system
  • sets strategic priorities for joint effort.

This is a significant commitment because it is the first time parties will work together at the local level to integrate planning, coordination and information sharing across the early years sector in Victoria. To read the Compact in full and associated communiques, see:

Objectives and outcomes

There are five outcomes. All are measurable and link to the government’s broader reform agenda for young children and their families:

  1. All young children are engaged, confident and creative learners.
  2. All children are safe, cared for and experience optimal health and development.
  3. Families feel well supported by high quality, inclusive services for children and families in the early years.
  4. Vulnerability, location and disadvantage do not determine outcomes for young children.
  5. Families are connected to culture, actively participate in community life and can access help when and where they need it.

Strategic priorities

The three parties have committed to six strategic priorities:

  • driving better outcomes
  • a more coherent and empowering early childhood system
  • stronger place-based governance and planning
  • promoting early childhood
  • supporting service quality
  • more inclusive services.

State-wide priorities


The compact board has agreed on three state-wide priorities, focused on supporting vulnerable children and families, for the first year:

  1. Increase the participation of children in out of home care and children known to child protection in early years services – improve sharing of data and information about children.
  2. Increase participation of Aboriginal families in early years services, with a focus on maternal and child health and kindergarten services.
  3. Improve the identification and referral of children and families at risk of family violence, including implementing the maternal and child health family violence consultation visit.

Implementation arrangements

The compact will be implemented through place-based local governance arrangements across the 17 DET-DHHS areas. These arrangements will vary from place to place and will build on existing area- based partnerships/networks that are operating successfully.

Phase 1: Initial compact area-based meetings  – by end December 2017

The initial meetings bring DET, DHHS and LG senior leaders together to discuss the compact, agree on 2017–18 priorities and identify the most suitable local governance arrangements.

Phase 2: Compact area-based governance – initial four sites  – by end April 2018

The initial sites will test materials and approaches that best support local areas to have informed discussions and make evidence based decisions. These sites are:

  • Brimbank-Melton
  • Southern Melbourne
  • Ovens Murray
  • Loddon-Campaspe.
Phase 3: Compact area-based governance - full roll out by end December 2018

Learnings from phases one and two will inform the full roll-out in 2018.


If you have questions about the compact, please contact:

DET staff

Alison Williams
Manager, Early Childhood Implementation

DHHS staff

Janice Robertson
Manager, Parenting Support, Children and Families Policy

Council staff

Wendy Allan
MAV Early Years Policy Adviser