Attending a high quality early childhood services makes a significant difference in a child’s life, especially for those in out-of-home care (OOHC).
The Early Childhood Agreement for Children in Out-of-Home Care (the Agreement) has been refreshed to make sure these children have rewarding experiences that pave the way for success at school and beyond.
With around 2,000 newborn to five year olds living in OOHC in Victoria at any one time, the Agreement highlights the need to improve access and participation rates in early childhood services for these children.
In response to an independent review and significant policy and legislative changes since the Agreement was implemented in 2014, some key changes have been made, including:
- a stronger focus on supporting Aboriginal children in OOHC
- a commitment to improving information sharing arrangements as well as data collection, monitoring and reporting
- updated and more detailed roles and responsibilities for all signatories
- a greater focus on the importance of transition into and between early childhood services and into primary school
- a commitment to assess, document and share (as appropriate) the learning and development of children in OOHC
- greater recognition of the importance of carers of children in OOHC
- a greater focus on responding to the health needs of children in OOHC
- a commitment to a systemised, fortnightly provision of information to local government contacts about children entering OOHC in the relevant local government area.
The refreshed Agreement focuses on universal services, particularly Maternal and Child Health services and Victoria’s funded kindergarten program including Early Start Kindergarten for three year olds. These services are free for children in OOHC, and provide core foundations in health, development and learning.
The aim of the revised Agreement is for all partners and services to work together to make sure all Victorian children have access to high quality early childhood services, regardless of circumstance.
For more information on what you can do to support this important work, visit the DET website to find out more about the refreshed Early Childhood Agreement for Children in Out-of-Home Care.