Connected Beginnings program to support hundreds of Tasmanian children
Aboriginal children and families in Tasmania are set to benefit from a newly announced partnership between the Federal and Tasmanian Governments, which will bring the Connected Beginnings program to two new sites in the Burnie and George Town regions.
The program will support families to access the full range of health and education services that children need to thrive and be ready for school, Federal Minister for Education and Youth Alan Tudge said.
“Connected Beginnings is a proven program that has been shown to lift preschool attendance rates and school readiness, as well as vaccination rates and maternal health,” he said, outlining the role that the joint $1.4 million investment will have in supporting more than 250 children.
“To close the gap, we need to start at the beginning and that means giving Indigenous kids the best possible start in life,” the Minister added.
Roger Jaensch, Tasmanian Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, said the Tasmanian Government was proud to partner with the Commonwealth to deliver the important program.
“Connected Beginnings ensures children are engaged with services such as child care, preschool, playgroups and have regular developmental health checks to ensure they are ready to start school,” he explained.
Tasmania’s contribution is in addition to existing Closing the Gap funding, and Minister Jaensch hopes that the partnership will achieve outcomes for Tasmania’s Aboriginal children and families that are align with the State’s implementation plan to Close the Gap, as well as outcomes outlined the State’s first Child and Youth Wellbeing strategy, which has a particular focus on the first thousand days of a child’s life.
Connected Beginnings has enjoyed success in Hobart already, and Federal Member for Braddon, Gavin Pearce, said the two new sites would see even more Aboriginal children in Tasmania supported by the important program.
“This funding will give kids in Burnie and surrounding areas who need extra assistance the best possible start in life and help them make the most of their early school years,” Mr Pearce said.
“The existing Connected Beginnings site (in Hobart) has already made a significant impact for kids in that area and I am pleased local kids will be able to access the same opportunities,” he added.
Connected Beginnings has been progressively rolled out since 2016 and targets some of the most vulnerable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities around Australia. The Federal Government is expanding the program in pursuit of a continued effort to close the gap.
The new sites in Burnie and George Town will bring the Connected Beginnings program footprint to 24 sites nationally. The Federal Government is investing an additional $82 million under the Closing the Gap Implementation plan that will see the Connected Beginnings program expand up to 50 sites by 2024-25.
More information about Connected Beginnings is available here.