GOVERNMENTS MUST UNITE TO SUPPORT CHILDREN WITH DISABILITY: NEW DECLARATION ISSUED AT THRIVE BY FIVE SYMPOSIUM
26 July 2023 – Early childhood and disability advocates from across Australia have released a joint communiqué at a symposium convened by Minderoo Foundation’s Thrive by Five campaign.
The Thrive by Five Early Learning and Disability Communiqué
All children deserve a high-quality, affordable early education and care system that is universally accessible.
But the current early education and care system is not working for children with disability and neurodiverse profiles.
That is why on 26 July 2023, 225 people including young people with disability, families, caregivers, educators, advocates, public servants, disability service providers, practitioners, researchers, experts and academics as well as 23 organisations came together and called for a truly inclusive, universally accessible early learning and childcare system that would set up these children to reach their full potential.
Together, we call on State, Territory and Federal Governments to deliver an early learning system that can support children with disability and development needs from birth and set them up for the rest of their lives, by:
The early education and care system urgently needs reform because the NDIS by itself cannot do all the work alone in terms of helping children with disability.
· Children and Young People with Disability Australia (CYDA)
· Connected Ed
· Telethon Kids Institute
· Down Syndrome Australia
· People with Disability Australia
· Royal Far West
· Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation
· The Parenthood
· Independent Education Union of Australia
· Global Access Partners
· Child Australia
· Centre for Research in Early Childhood Education
· Health and Social Care Unit, Monash University
· All Means All – The Australian Alliance for Inclusive Education
· Bourke & District Children’s Services – Yanmali
· Connected Beginnings – Yanmali
· Brotherhood of St. Laurence
· The Benevolent Society
· Life Without Barriers
· Hopscotch Foundation
· Community Connections Solutions Australia (Ltd) (CCSA)
· Monash University – Health and Social Care Unit
The communiqué was developed following the discussion and deliberations at Thrive by Five’s Early Learning and Disability Symposium, which brought together subject matter experts and key stakeholders to discuss how a robust, universally accessible and affordable early learning system can ensure children with disability are best supported to help them thrive.
Minderoo Foundation’s Jay Weatherill said: “This is the pathway for Australia to establish an early learning system that ensures all children, especially children with disability, have the support they require from the very beginning, to live up to their full potential.
“Today, hundreds of people, including young people with disability, families, caregivers, educators, advocates, public servants, disability service providers, practitioners, researchers, experts and academics came together and called for a truly inclusive, universally accessible early learning and childcare system that would set these children up to reach their full potential,” Mr Weatherill said.
Event host and disability rights advocate Elly Desmarchelier said that by developing a universally accessible, high-quality early learning system, Australia could ensure that all children with disability are set up for future success and help strengthen existing support systems for people with disability.
“The early education and care system urgently needs reform because the NDIS by itself cannot do all the heavy lifting for children with disability.”
“We must strive our hardest to provide children with disability the best chance at success in life,” Ms Desmarchelier said.