Early childhood reform

Outline of the Victorian Government’s vision and investment to deliver on our commitment to give every child the best start in life.

Supporting all children to learn and thrive

Making Victoria the Education State starts with the early years. Through a record $202.1 million investment, the Victorian Government is delivering on our commitment to give every child the best start in life.

More than any other time, early childhood shapes who children will become and what kind of life they will lead.

During these early years, as a child’s brain is developing, the foundations are laid for their cognitive, speech, language, social and emotional skills and long-term development.

Young children do not spend their days in a classroom, but they are always learning - as they explore their world, as they interact with adults and other children, and as they play.

That’s why, at this formative stage of a child’s development, the Victorian Government is taking the opportunity to help shape their life for the better.

We are investing $202.1 million to help every child to thrive.

Early Childhood Reform Plan

The Early Childhood Reform Plan outlines the Victorian Government’s vision for the early years. This plan will deliver systemic change, targeted at supporting the children who need it most.

Over the next 10 years, our ground-breaking Early Childhood Reform Plan will benefit all Victorian families and children by delivering world-class early childhood services.

Through the Victorian Budget 2017/18, we are spending a record amount on kinder, Maternal and Child Health (MCH) and parenting support to help get kids ready for kinder, ready for school, and ready for happy and successful lives.

These initiatives aim to create a higher quality, more equitable and inclusive early childhood system, helping Victorian families get their kids ready for kinder, ready for school and ready for their lives ahead.

The plan includes:

  • $81.1 million for more help for parents to handle the challenges of parenting and more time with skilled professionals like Maternal and Child Health nurses
  • $108.4 million to help kindergartens deliver high-quality and inclusive programs that make the most of every minute that our children are playing and learning
  • $7.2 million to support children with a disability and their families during the transition to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)
  • $5.4 million for more help for Koorie families to provide a strong foundation for their children’s learning and development.

This investment supports the Roadmap for Reform: Strong Families, Safe Children.


Development of the Early Childhood Reform Plan has been guided by research and valuable feedback from people in the early childhood sector who care passionately about getting this right.

It has its foundation in a consultation process held in late 2015.

Supporting parents

The biggest influence on a young child is their parents. Taking on this role can be daunting, and all parents need support at times. Like any skill, parenting can be learned and improved, which is why having access to the right support and information is so important.

More playgroups

We are providing $22.3 million to expand supported playgroups across the state, giving families who need extra support access to groups run by trained facilitators. We are also providing funding to help improve the connections between First Time Parent Groups and community playgroups.

More support for Koorie families and children

We are spending $5.4 million to support Koorie parents and children with culturally relevant services. We will fund new Koorie supported playgroups and the Koorie Families as First Educators program.

Further information

Better kinder for all children

We know that early learning lasts a lifetime. That is why we are improving quality and fairness in kinder, and ensuring that more children can benefit.

To help Victorian children get the best start in life, the Victorian Government is boosting funding for kindergartens to ensure that every Victorian child starts school ready to learn.

As part of the Victorian Budget 2017/18, we will invest $108.4 million to help kindergartens deliver high-quality programs that make the most of every minute that our children are playing and learning.

School readiness funding

In an Australian-first, we are giving extra resources to kindergartens so they can help children most in need. We will boost funding to kinders by $55.3 million, so they can provide additional support like language and literacy assistance, speech therapy, or more one‑on‑one learning time for children.

Supporting kindergartens to improve their quality

All kindergartens will receive increased support from the Department of Education and Training to deliver high quality education, and grants will enable access to intensive coaching, training and advice for kindergartens that need it most. To make sure every child is ready for school we are increasing the amount of support provided to kindergartens to improve their quality through a $22.8 million investment.

Building new kindergartens

We are providing $10 million to build new early childhood facilities at government primary school sites to make it easier for families to access early childhood facilities and to support improved transition from kinder to school.

In addition, we are also providing $1.1 million to reform kindergarten funding for non-government schools to encourage more to offer a kindergarten program, particularly those in low socioeconomic areas.

Meeting demand for Early Start Kindergarten

We are providing $6.3 million to meet growing demand for Early Start Kindergarten. This will help more Koorie children and children known to child protection access two years of kinder for free.

Helping more children access kinder places

We are setting aside kinder places so kids who need them most don’t miss out. The Government is providing $2.3 million to hold kinder places open for Koorie children, children known to child protection and refugees, even after enrolment deadlines have passed.

Helping families find a kinder place

To make it easier to find a spot at a local kinder, we are providing $5.5 million to local governments to expand the number that offer central enrolment - a single process for families to find a kinder place.

Helping more children with a disability to go to kinder

We are spending $5 million so that more children with a disability can attend and fully participate in kinder each year, including children with severe and complex disabilities who could not attend without support.

For more information, refer to: Kindergarten funding reform.

Strengthening maternal and child health services

More parenting supports and Enhanced Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Services will be available for Victorian parents and their children.

As part of Budget 2017/18, the Victorian Government will invest $81.1 million MCH and parenting supports to help families get their kids ready for kindergarten and beyond.

Better access to information

So parents can access accurate information and expert advice quickly and conveniently, we are spending $4.9 million to provide information when parents need it. This includes adding additional staff for our MCH phone line, so that parents can easily access support from our trained MCH nurses - 24 hours a day, every day of the year.

More Enhanced MCH Service support

We are providing $37.7 million to extend the Enhanced MCH Service to make support available to families with children up to three years of age.

Extra visit from MCH nurses for women and children at risk of family violence

We are spending $11 million so that MCH nurses are able to provide an additional visit to support women and children, and connect them to specialist support services.

Building our MCH workforce

We are providing $5.2 million in funding to attract and develop our MCH workforce, including training to support MCH nurses’ ongoing professional development.

Supporting children with a disability

Supporting families in the transition to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)

We are spending $7.2 million to reduce the number of children waiting for intervention and support until the introduction of the National Disability Insurance Agency Early Childhood Intervention model.