Connecting Community for Kids was founded by The Partnership Forum and subsequently The Partnership Forum Early Years Working Group. Comprised of leaders from State Government agencies and the not-for-profit sector, The Partnership Forum identified the early years as one of its four priority areas and formed the Working Group to focus on this area.
The early years (defined as occurring from pre-birth to eight years) are critical in the physical, emotional, psychological and social development of children and are considered by The World Health Organisation (WHO) to be the most important developmental phase in life.
The Working Group identified the benefits of implementing a collective impact initiative in Western Australia and in September 2014, endorsed an early years, place-based initiative in the Cities of Cockburn and Kwinana using a collective impact approach. The two Cities committed to participate in the initiative, and senior representatives from both local governments joined the Working Group.
The decision to develop this initiative in Cockburn and Kwinana was based on; the Australian Early Development Census (AEDC) results for both communities; the high proportion of children aged zero to eight in the two localities; projected population growth in both areas; the locations as a trial area for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS); the current investment in early years across multiple government agencies; and the commitment to the early years demonstrated by the Cockburn and Kwinana Local Governments.
Community engagement was undertaken in 2015 to raise awareness, harness support and identify readiness for the notion of social change and collective working. It also assisted in building community capacity and encouraged ongoing active community representation, participation, engagement and commitment to improve outcomes for children pre-birth to eight in Cockburn and Kwinana.
After gaining financial support through the Woodside Development Fund, The Partnership Forum Early Years Working Group transitioned to the Joint Commissioning Committee (JCC) and the Joint Leadership Team (JLT) was formed to include service providers directly working in the communities of Cockburn and Kwinana.
In 2016, the Collective Team was established to provide the backbone of the Initiative. Our team of five is consistently working to build relationships with parents, carers and service providers and has been working closely with our established Reference Groups and Workshop participants in providing a voice for the community.