Territory children are set for brighter future, with the NT rollout of the successful Connected Beginnings programme.
Country Liberals Senator for the Northern Territory, Nigel Scullion, congratulated Central Australian Aboriginal Congress Aboriginal Corporation in Alice Springs and Miwatj Health Aboriginal Corporation in Galiwinku on securing and delivering the community focussed programme, which links families’ and children’s wellbeing with a pathway to school.
“We know that healthy, happy kids who have the best start and their parents’ support to attend pre-school and school are on the road to longer and more fulfilling lives,” Senator Scullion said.
“Connected Beginnings is already helping many children and families across the nation and I applaud the Coalition Government for extending it to Alice Springs and Galiwinku.”
“The programme works by empowering and personally engaging families in a wide range of health and learning services.”
Connected Beginnings provides health checks for women, babies and children up to school age and can include referrals to specialist services such as paediatricians, ear and eye specialists, dentists, occupational and speech therapists and dieticians.
The programme also helps to integrate services to support families to better access early childhood education, encouraging greater participation and improving the school readiness of children.
Nationally, the Coalition Government has committed $12 million over three years to implement the health component of Connected Beginnings and approximately $10 million per year to implement the education component.
“Supporting the health and development of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in the first five years of life helps enable a positive transition to school and the achievement of a child’s potential,” Senator Scullion said.
Run jointly by the Department of Education and the Department of Health, Connected Beginnings is also underway in Tenant Creek, Ceduna, Port Augusta, Mildura, Doomadgee and Doonside, with a health-only programme in Canberra.
Opportunities are being investigated to establish the program in further locations this year, in Western Australia, New South Wales and Tasmania.