Early childhood support for Ballarat’s First Nations children
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Early childhood support for Ballarat’s First Nations children

by Freya Lucas

June 21, 2024

The Victorian town of Ballarat will play host to a new Connected Beginnings site, providing support for approximately 350 First Nations children aged birth to five years of age, Federal Minister for Early Childhood Education Dr Anne Aly announced yesterday.


To be delivered in partnership with the Ballarat and District Aboriginal Cooperative (BADAC), the program connects First Nations children aged birth to five years of age with a range of early childhood health, education, and family support services – helping children meet the learning and development milestones necessary to achieve a positive transition to school.


“The program is delivering significant positive results for First Nations children, we’re already seeing an increase in the hours of early childhood education and care along with an increase in preschool enrolments,” Dr Aly said. 


“The structure of Connected Beginnings means that each community is empowered to design and deliver the program in a way which supports their individual needs and aspirations.”


The Federal Government is supporting the initiative with $1.8 million in funding, with national peak body SNAICC – National Voice for our Children, and the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) also providing support. 


Ballarat is one of 50 sites which are outlined as part of the Federal Government’s $81.8 million investment to expand the program.Once all 50 sites are established the program has the potential to support up to 20 per cent of all First Nations children aged zero to five.


Member for Ballarat Catherine King welcomed the announcement noting BADAC’s “proven track record of providing culturally sensitive and high-quality early education to children in our region.”


“Their early learning centres have been a great success and with BADAC now running the Connected Beginnings program locally, even more First Nations children will be supported and school ready,” she said.


Other Connected Beginnings sites in Victoria include Mildura, Shepparton and Whittlesea.


To learn more about Connected Beginnings please see here

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