From July 1, 2023:

The age of children supported under the early childhood approach will progressively change from 7 to include children younger than 9.

What the change means: Broadly, the change has been made to reflect international understandings of young children as those under 9 years of age. For some children the change will mean greater continuity of care in the first years of school as they remain with their Early Childhood Partner until age 9 rather than 7.

What the change doesn’t mean: Many professionals are aware that children under 7 can access the NDIS through the Early Childhood Approach without a formal diagnosis. There have been misunderstandings that the new age change will mean children may access the scheme in this way up until the age of 9. This is not the case. It is critical that children with no formal diagnosis are referred before their sixth birthday as they will not meet the NDIS developmental delay criteria beyond six years of age. There is no change to the NDIS eligibility requirements or the definition of developmental delay under the early intervention requirements (s25 of the NDIS Act).

For more information, visit the NDIS website or contact the Early Childhood Partner in your community.

Need help supporting a family through the NDIS process? Access an easy-to-read guide for professionals here.

Infants (<1 year old) are the age group in Australia with the highest rate of involvement with child protection. Many jurisdictions across Australia and internationally are implementing policies focused on prenatal planning and targeted support.

This study investigates Australian trends in prenatal and infant child protection notifications, substantiations and out-of-home care; and the extent of over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander infants. 

Read article here

Curtin University is conducting a research project to improve understandings of disability and family violence to enhance services available to mothers and their children with disability.

Practitioners who have worked with mothers of children with disability who have experiences of family violence are invited to participate in this survey, which seeks to understand how they are supported by family violence services and/or disability services, and what impact having a child with disability has on experiences of family violence.

The survey is online, anonymous and takes up to 30 minutes to complete.

Click here to access the survey

This rapid evidence review identified evidence-informed programs that help to reduce harm and maltreatment and improve outcomes for vulnerable children aged 0-5 years.

Of the 34 programs that were rated according to evidence of their effectiveness, 25 programs were found to contribute to reducing maltreatment and improving safety for vulnerable young children.

The majority of programs (22) identified in the review are designed to improve parenting competency and family functioning. Eighteen programs aim to prevent neglect and abuse, and reduce the incidence of contact with child protection services. A number of programs (14) target harsh and/or dysfunctional discipline and punishment. A small number of programs specifically address child health, child safety and domestic violence.

The review identified common core components of these effective programs, including: engagement, building supportive relationships and social networks, building parental capacity and case management.

The review highlights a need for more high-quality research examining the effectiveness of Australian programs and the implementation of international programs in diverse Australian contexts, particularly with Aboriginal and culturally and linguistically diverse families.

Click here to read full review

Victorian children can now access Three and Four Year Old Kinder programs under the Free Kinder reform.

Click here for more information

NEW RELEASE: First of its kind research in Australia has found that child protection, education and health services are failing to provide culturally safe responses to First Nations children experiencing domestic and family violence.

The new report by ANROWS, Queensland Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Child Protection Peak Ltd, Australian Catholic University found that First Nations voices have been side-lined from decision-making, with devastating effects.

The first of its kind in Australia, the research project engaged 8 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community research teams across regional and remote Queensland and was led by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander chief investigators, in a collaborative process to elevate First Nations voices and find community-led solutions for healing and recovery.

The community-led research project resulted in the creation of the Healing our children and young people framework; a culturally safe, place-based, trauma-aware, healing-informed, children-centred approach to engaging with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children experiencing family and domestic violence.

Click here to read full report

Kids are at the heart of many family law disputes.  The “best interests of the child” are enshrined in our family law legislation as the paramount consideration when making parenting arrangements.

Over the past decade, there’s been much debate about whether or not our family law system really listens to how children feel about arrangements that are made for their care. How well are children’s voices heard in family law matters that affect them?

And there’s consensus that reform is needed to how our family law system operates, in order to produce better outcomes for children.  The only real question now is: how will change be practically achieved?

When the recent spate of Government family law inquiries was completed, various recommendations and official responses were made on many different aspects of the family law system, including the subject of children’s participation.

Several recommendations on this were made for the Government to consider, and in turn, in its responses the Government flagged the intention to bring about reform in this area, but cited the need for more research to guide policy.

To read full article, click here

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