The Forrest Review: Creating Parity was completed by Minderoo Foundation chairman Andrew Forrest in 2014 at the request of the Prime Minister. The comprehensive review resulted in 27 recommendations that aim to create parity between Indigenous and other Australians, including a recommendation that the Commonwealth Government increase its investment in integrated service delivery models for children and families. In response, the Connected Beginnings initiative was born.
The program is based on a holistic approach to child development where social, emotional, education and health needs are met through seamless and integrated engagement with key service providers.
Connected Beginnings aims to support Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander children in areas of high need to be well prepared for school. It does this through the integration of services that support pregnant Indigenous women, and Indigenous children from birth to school age.
Each year, the federal government makes about $12 million available for the integration of early childhood, maternal and child health, and family support services with schools in a selected number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities experiencing disadvantage. Connected Beginnings sites facilitate greater integration of services to ensure children have the best chance to reach developmental milestones before school.