Projects Aboriginal HealthEducation & Childhood Development

Evaluation of the Connected Beginnings program

Projects Aboriginal HealthEducation & Childhood Development

Evaluation of the Connected Beginnings program

Projects Aboriginal HealthEducation & Childhood Development

Evaluation of the Connected Beginnings program

  • Services

    Evaluation & Advisory

  • Status

    Complete

  • Client

    Australian Government Department of Health

  • Jurisdiction

    Australia

Connected Beginnings aims to support early childhood and health services to work together to better prepare Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children for school in selected communities. The overall aim is to decrease the disparities in school readiness and educational outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous children.

The Department of Health (Health) and the Department of Education and Training (Education) jointly funded the Connected Beginnings program from 2016-17 to 2018-19.

The Departments of Health and Education are worked together to implement Connected Beginnings to support the integration of early childhood services in up to 15 sites across Australia. Education funded selected ‘lead agencies’ and Health funded access to the health services. Funded services were co-located on, or adjacent to, school grounds and served the catchment area of the lead agency/school.

AHA’s program evaluation identified the factors contributing to the program’s success and how it benefitted individual communities. The evaluation was designed to inform the development of future education and health services and the future directions of the program.

Our approach to the evaluation:

  • Recognised that circumstances differ in each location and community
  • Emphasised good practice and encouraged models that are tailored to respond to the specific needs of each location
  • Used methods firmly grounded in recognition of the cultural sensitivities that apply when working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and in the particular considerations that underpin each community.

AHA’s evaluation team included both Indigenous and non-Indigenous personnel, who worked with and visited each site to understand the benefits of each model and its impact in the locality.

Our final report is available on the department’s website.

Connected Beginnings aims to decrease the disparities in school readiness and educational outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous children.