The Early Childhood Agreement (the agreement) for children in out-of-home care (OoHC) aims to increase the participation of young children placed in OoHC in high quality early childhood education and care (ECEC).
Aims of the agreement
The agreement focuses on meeting the health, learning and development, and cultural needs of children and engaging children with universal services particularly:
The agreement also works towards all children in kinship care and their carers engaging in Supported Playgroups or Koorie Supported Playgroups.
These services are free for children placed in OoHC, and provide core foundations in health, development and learning. All children, regardless of their circumstances, have the right to access these services.
The agreement aims to meet the following requirements:
- Increase three year old children placed in OoHC in Early Start Kindergarten (for 15 hours a week)
- Increase the participation of children placed in OoHC in the year before school in funded kindergarten
- Ensure children who enter OoHC are up-to-date with the immunisation schedule within six months of their initial assessment (excepting approved exemptions)
- Ensure children who have entered OoHC are referred to a health service for a comprehensive health assessment and ongoing care management for any physical, mental or oral health issues identified
- Ensure children placed in OoHC transitioning from kindergarten to prep have a
transition learning and development statement (TLDS)
- Ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children have a cultural plan completed
- Ensure individual learning plans are shared with carers and relevant professionals.
Read the full agreement
Early childhood agreement for children in out-of-home care
Roles and responsibilites for early childhood professionals
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Targets and measures
The following are the targets and measures that the partners to the agreement will be working towards in the next three years:
- Double the number of three-year-old children placed in OoHC in Early Start Kindergarten (for 15 hours a week), using 2018 data as the baseline.
- 95% participation of children placed in OoHC in the year before school in kindergarten.
- Participation refers both to enrolment and regular attendance, noting that at the time of the development of this agreement there is no systematic collection of attendance data for kindergarten.
- 100% of children who enter OoHC are up-to-date with the immunisation schedule within six months of their initial assessment (excepting approved exemptions).
- 100% of children who have entered OoHC are referred to a health service for a comprehensive health assessment and ongoing care management for any physical, mental or oral health issues identified. This information is documented in a health, wellbeing and safety plan that can be shared with other services involved in the care of the child.
- 100% of children placed in OoHC transitioning from kindergarten to prep have a TLDS. The central implementation group may agree during the duration of the agreement to identify other measures, noting the priority action above to improve the measurement of participation of children placed in OoHC in MCH and kindergarten.
Children covered under the agreement
The agreement covers:
- Children placed in OoHC who are subject to statutory orders or voluntary agreements
- Children placed on Permanent Care Orders (but who are no longer involved with the Department of Health and Human Services), with consent from their carers.
Refresh to the agreement in 2018 – the key changes
The agreement has been updated to ensure Victoria’s most vulnerable children are able to thrive. The updated agreement has new priorities, targets and measures, with continued particular focus on:
- Aboriginal children who are significantly over-represented in OoHC
- children with specific needs including those from:
- culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds
- those with a disability or developmental delay.
The agreement has also been broadened to include Aboriginal agencies, community service organisations and specialist health services.
Parties to the agreement
There are 11 parties to the refreshed agreement:
- Department of Education and Training (DET)
- Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)
- Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV)
- Early Learning Association Australia
- Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency
- Victorian Aboriginal Children and Young People’s Alliance
- Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare
- Community Child Care Association
- Vic Tas Primary Health Network Alliance
- Victorian Healthcare Association
- Victorian Aboriginal Education Association Incorporated.
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For any queries related to the agreement, contact