Early Years

Accessing Services

Navigating the early years system can be challenging, and families often report feeling overwhelmed with knowing which services are right for their children and when. The tables provided below can be used by professionals, parents and carers to guide which services and supports will be most suitable for a child based on their age.

Print out the professionals version and stick it on your desk or in your office as a quick reference point. The table for families can be printed and shared with parents and carers for use on their fridge or any place it would be helpful for them.

Use the Finder on the Early Years Hub to learn more about each service, subsidy or support.

Housing & Homelessness

Children and Homelessness Factsheet
A resource developed by the Statewide Children’s Resource Program.

Melbourne City Mission – Detour Frankston

Detour is an early intervention program that aims to work with young people before they are at crisis point, the program aims to divert young people from the homelessness sector. It does this by providing coaching and case management of to support young people achieve their goals. Detour works with young people aged 12-24 in the Frankston and Mornington Peninsula areas. If you have a young people who is displaying risk factors that could lead to homelessness, please give Detour a call on 1800 474 993 to discuss further.

General contact information:  Call 1800 474 993 or [email protected]

See, Listen, Respond

A guide to engaging with children experiencing homelessness and family violence

Children Accessing Specialist Homelessness Services: An induction for new practitioners (2022)

Resource providing guidance, support and practical tips on how to work with children accessing homelessness services. 

Statewide Children’s Resource Program

The Statewide Children’s Resource Program is funded by the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing to assist, support, and resource homelessness and other non government services to respond more effectively to the needs of children who have experienced homelessness and/or family violence.

Training Resources

Emerging Minds

Free online training is available from one to four hour modules covering a range of topics, including working with children.

Child Abuse & Neglect

The World Health Organisation defines child abuse and neglect as: All forms of physical and/or emotional ill-treatment, sexual abuse, neglect or negligent treatment or commercial or other exploitation, resulting in actual or potential harm to the child’s health, survival, development or dignity in the context of a relationship of responsibility, trust or power. Children can be subject to abuse in their living environment or in an organisational setting. 

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Australia is a signatory, establishes the rights of children to be safe from abuse in all forms. The Convention outlines the needs and rights of children in developed and developing countries to be cared for and protected by adults. Article 19 states that:
Children have the right to be protected from being hurt and mistreated, physically or mentally. Governments should ensure that children are properly cared for and protected from violence, abuse and neglect by their parents, or anyone else who looks after them. Download the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child

Resources on child abuse & neglect
Resources on Grooming

Resources for Practitioners

Young People who use Violence at Home

Young people with disability who use violence at home

In this webinar, Dr Georgina Sutherland, lead researcher of the ANROWS-funded project “Building a framework to prevent and respond to young people with disability who use violence at home“. The aim of this project is to build a better understanding of individual, relationship, community context and sociocultural factors relevant for understanding young people with disability who use violence at home.

Mental Health and Service Utilisation of Young People Using Violence in the Home Webinar regarding research and practitioners identifying violence and working holistically.

Reporting Obligations

Mandatory Reporting

Mandatory Reporting is a legislative requirement for certain professions to report suspected cases of child abuse and neglect to appropriate government authorities. Each jurisdiction across Australia has Mandatory Reporting, however there is variation in who has to report and what types of abuse should be reported. Mandatory Reporting legislation includes family, community and organisational child abuse, and works alongside Reportable Conduct Schemes in relevant jurisdictions. 

Information on the requirements across jurisdictions, can be found on the Australian Institute of Family Studies website 

Step by Step Guide on mandatory reporting

Reportable Conduct

Reportable Conduct Schemes operate alongside breaches to organisational Codes of Conduct. Reportable Conduct Schemes seek to improve organisations responses to allegations of child abuse and neglect by their workers and volunteers. Reportable Conduct Schemes operate alongside of breaches to organisational Codes of Conduct. Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, and Victoria all have Reportable Conduct Schemes in place.

Reporting child abuse
Find details on the DHHS website about reporting of child abuse.

Failure to Disclose
Find information about the offence for failure to disclose child sexual abuse, which was introduced in 2014.

Research, Data & Publications

Resources for Clients – Parents and Children

  • Love Control DVD and Love Control Resource Notes An innovative short film and accompanying resource that increases young women’s awareness of the early warning signs of abusive and controlling relationships.
  • What’s OK at Home (WOAH) A website for young people and their adult allies about family violence, why it happens, how to recognise it, and how to help others experiencing it.
  • Choosing Positive Paths This resource offers mothers, other protective parents and/or carers information on how to respond to children affected by family violence at different ages and stages. (Berry Street Family Violence Services and Women’s Health West)
  • Through My Eyes Booklet This Children’s Resource Program booklet provides children with helpful information and options for them to express their feelings and emotions.
  • KinderTick The Kinder Tick helps Victorian families find a funded kindergarten program for their children.  This is the same in both long day care and sessional or “standalone” kindergarten services.  No matter where a child attends a kindergarten program, they’ll be learning through play with an early childhood teacher. Research shows that play-based learning is the best way to help young children learn, develop well and prepare to thrive at school.  The KinderTick website provides information on Kindergarten programs in many different languages.
  • Healthy Behaviour Videos Resources to provide families with practical, evidence-informed tips on a range of health topics. The videos have been created in partnership with local health care professionals, education professionals and families.
  • ENVISAGE Families Program Free peer support program for parents and caregivers with a child and/or children with a disability or developmental concern aged birth to eight years. The program has been co-designed with parents, carers, service providers, health professionals and researchers from Australia and Canada, and includes a dedicated First People’s stream.
  • Reimagine Australia Provides support, resources, training and development for families and early childhood practitioners to best enable them in their work with families of children who have additional needs.
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