NSW Government launches Brighter Beginnings initiative to support young children
A new initiative, designed to better support families as they navigate the first 2,000 days of their child’s life, was launched last Friday by New South Wales Minister for Education and Early Childhood Learning Sarah Mitchell.
The Brighter Beginnings whole of government initiative focuses on the crucial period from conception to age five years, across the breadth of government services, seeking to give NSW children “the best start in life”.
Crucial to achieving this goal, Ms Mitchell said, is simplifying and improving the way families access information and services, through a number of parenting life navigator tools and a whole of government webpage.
A “one stop shop” of resources for families when expecting a baby and throughout their child’s early life, the initiative will include tools and resources to keep track of health and development milestones, access financial support, find early childhood education and care (ECEC), start primary school, and return to work as well as emotional and legal support for parents.
“We know 90 per cent of a child’s brain development occurs before the age of five, and there is a wealth of research on how early experiences in the first 2000 days of life can have flow-on impacts in every decade of life,” Ms Mitchell said.
“We also know this is a challenging and often overwhelming time for new parents. Families have told us it can be difficult to access and navigate the support available, from pregnancy to school age and beyond, so we want to make this journey as simple as possible to ensure children are getting the best start in life.”
The initiative will work across agencies to improve information for families, connect universal services and provide targeted support for those facing complex disadvantage.
NSW Minister for Customer Service Victor Dominello said the first years of a child’s life are among the most special and memorable for parents but also the most stressful, which is why a “digital diary” is needed to help manage the important issues.
Brighter Beginnings: the first 2000 days of life initiative launched 30 October 2020 with a virtual conference that bought together government leaders, policy makers, leading experts and researchers. The event explored the importance of the first 2,000 days of life from health, wellbeing and education perspectives, and opportunities for governments and service providers to work together for improved citizen experiences and life outcomes.
To access further information about Brighter Beginnings, please see here.