The Early Years Initiative is a commitment to work differently with communities to improve the development, health and learning of children from conception to four years and create lasting change.

It is an unprecedented 10-year partnership that will bring together community leaders, government, researchers, business and philanthropic organisations to achieve better outcomes for Western Australian children and families.

The Initiative will see the State Government join with Minderoo Foundation and Telethon Kids Institute (through CoLab) to work with four Western Australian partner communities.

One in five children aged four years and under in Western Australia is considered developmentally vulnerable, as measured by the Australian Early Development Census. This is in the crucial areas of health and well-being, social competence, language and cognitive skills, communication skills and general knowledge, and emotional maturity.

The Initiative will empower and support communities to assess the needs of children and families and identify what works best to help their children to thrive, based on evidence and research.

Community selection

The Initiative will work with four partner communities from metropolitan, remote and very remote Western Australia.

The Central Great Southern shires of Katanning, Broomehill-Tambellup, Kojonup and Gnowangerup is the first community to join the Initiative.

Find out more about the Central Great Southern’s selection in a media statement from the Early Years Initiative Board.

The remaining three partner communities will be announced in 2019.

Early Years Initiative Board

The Initiative Board is made up of representatives from the State Government, Minderoo Foundation and Telethon Kids Institute, with an independent chair and an independent deputy chair. Below is more information about the members.

  • Ms Sue Ash AO, Chairperson
  • Dr Sue Gordon,  Deputy Chairperson
  • Mr Colin Pettit, Commissioner for Children and Young People
  • Ms Nicola Forrest, Chief Executive Officer, Minderoo Foundation
  • Ms Tonya McCusker AM, Alternate Director, Minderoo Foundation
  • Mr Jeff Moffet, Chief Executive Officer, WA Country Health Service
  • Ms Michelle Andrews, Director General, Department of Communities
  • Emeritus Professor Bill Louden
  • Mr Stephen Baxter, Acting Deputy Director General Public Schools, Department of Education

Visit the Board Members page for short bios of each member.

How do I find out more?

More information about the Initiative is available through Frequently Asked Questions (PDF).