Connect Up

The Connect Up program is an early intervention program that provides support to vulnerable families with young children.

Program details

  • Priority area: Wellbeing (social and emotional)
  • Primary audience: Educators, parents/carers
  • Delivery mode: Professional services
  • Strength of evidence: Level 6 – Supported by expert opinion
  • AEDC sub-domains: Social competence – responsibility and respect
  • Item cost: High (>$2,000 per person/item)

Program description

The Connect Up is a place-based program in which Connect Up Workers work with educators at the kindergarten to provide an accessible and integrated support service for families in a familiar and safe environment. This early intervention program was developed to identify and support under resourced and isolated families with young children (2 to 6 years), providing families with individual early assistance to build confidence and skills to manage parenting challenges. Connect Up Workers engage with identified vulnerable families, concerns are addressed and connections made to services as needed.

While the model works directly with children and families, it is also designed to build educator capacity to support the engagement of all vulnerable children at the service. The program champions collaborative partnerships and respectful relationships, to build the capacity of educators to positively impact the lives of families attending their kindergartens and ultimately improve the educational and growth outcomes for children.

Connect Up is implemented in kindergartens for a minimum of 2 terms (time fraction to be negotiated with kindergarten). Connect Up Workers works with educators to assist families to reduce their vulnerabilities, thus improving children’s development through supporting their wellbeing, access and inclusion into kindergartens.

Support provided by the Connect Up Worker may include:

  • family wellbeing consultations with educators
  • individual outreach home visiting
  • family support and intervention
  • supported playgroup connections to complement kindergarten participation and skill development
  • facilitation of parenting group work programs
  • transitional support.

The Connect Up program involves 3 phases:

  • Phase 1 Step Up – Initial establishment & engagement with educators and parents
  • Phase 2 Service Engagement – Engagement and tailored intervention of all components as identified per site
  • Phase 3 Step Down – Closure and review processes.

The Connect Up program can be delivered across the following areas:

  • Borough of Queenscliff
  • Colac Otway Shire
  • Golden Plains Shire
  • Greater Geelong City
  • Surf Coast Shire
  • Warrnambool City.

Detailed cost

  • Total cost (budgeted for 30 business days service provision): $30,031 (excluding GST)
  • This cost is made up of 3 phases:
    • Phase 1 Step Up – Initial establishment & engagement with educators and parents (one day/week for 3 weeks): $3,003 (excluding GST)
    • Phase 2 Service Engagement – Engagement and tailored intervention of all components as identified per site (2 days/week for 12 weeks): $24,025 (excluding GST)
    • Phase 3 Step Down – Closure and review processes: $3,003 (excluding GST).

Implementation considerations

  • Target population: Educators.
  • Program/practice descriptions and details: Connect Up Workers have relevant tertiary qualification in Early Years, Social Work, Psychology, or other related degrees.
  • Staffing: Services should consider the cost of backfill when determining the cost of accessing this resource.
  • Supervision/coaching: Connect Up Worker work closely with educators and frequently consult and/or debrief regarding wellbeing concerns for children and potential referrals. From this process, Connect Up workers facilitate informal learning and mentoring opportunities that support educators in their role.

VEYLDF alignment

Item uses these practice principles

Partnerships with families.

Item responds to these sub-outcomes

Children become strong in their social, emotional and spiritual wellbeing.