Family, youth and children’s services

Why is this important?

Local government delivers critical services for the early years of childhood and increasingly is working with young people to develop appropriate local initiatives. Supporting children and their families in the early years of development and learning is a central to ensuring successful future outcomes.

A key service delivered by all councils are maternal and child health services. Some councils provide an outreach program to build participation in maternal and child health services through local Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations.

Many councils also deliver preschool services, child care facilities, immunisation, before and after school and holiday programs, and programs for young people; promote sport and recreation; and foster community development. Ensuring that services are accessible by Aboriginal people is a key priority.

All councils develop Municipal Early Years Plans (MEYPs), which provide strategic direction for education, care and health programs, and activities that impact on children and their families. The Plans address infrastructure, planning, advocacy and community development. Engaging with the local Aboriginal community and organisations is important in ensuring the Plans respond to Aboriginal community needs.  


What can your council do?

Councils can:

  • promote engagement in early education and learning, through a range of measures in partnership with the local Aboriginal organisations
  • engage with local Aboriginal organisations and structures on council plans aimed at delivering family, youth and children’s services
  • strengthen links with local Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations, including through service delivery partnerships
  • undertake audits of their services to identify whether there are barriers for Aboriginal people using these, and take steps to make services more inclusive
  • employ Aboriginal people and other strategies to encourage participation in council services by Aboriginal families and youth.


The 2012 Victorian Local Government Aboriginal Engagement and Reconciliation Survey found that some councils were involved with Aboriginal families and young people including child care programs for Aboriginal people and specific consultative processes. 


Good Practice examples

Young people

Ballarat Council is working with several local organisations to deliver the Learning 2 Lead program, funded by Central Highlands Primary Care Partnership. This program engages a group of 15 young people to develop leadership skills and to connect with culture and identity, while strengthening local networks and friendships.

Children’s services

The City of Whittlesea, in partnership with the Aboriginal community, opened the Bubup Wilam for Early Learning Centre in February 2012 – the first Aboriginal-controlled organisation in Whittlesea. The Centre is licensed for 66 Aboriginal children and is already at capacity. The Centre has a unique design, blending cultural elements that support strong Aboriginal identity and provides a quality learning environment. This design is the new benchmark for early years facilities across Whittlesea. The joint project has achieved pathways to quality education for Aboriginal children as well as training and employment opportunities for Aboriginal people – approximately 10 people have been supported to access tertiary education and are now active employees at the Centre. The project was enabled by innovative partnerships including with State Government departments that supported doing business differently. The project represents a strong sustainable partnership between the council and the local Aboriginal community.

The Greater Geelong City Council has entered into a lease with Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-operative to run the Rosewall Kindergarten from Wathaurong’s Morgan St site.   The number of Aboriginal children attending the kindergarten program has increased since moving to this site, and this remains a true success story of two organisations working together to achieve real outcomes.

Last Updated: July 5, 2017 at 5:22 pm

Useful Links

Department of Education and Training – Aboriginal Early Years Support 

Victorian Government – Aboriginal Health 

Improving inclusion and access for Aboriginal people and communities

Narragunnawali – Reconciliation in Schools and Early Learning


Case Studies

The Meeting Place initiative, near Castlemaine, which brings together Aboriginal children and families for special activities aimed at teaching and celebrating their culture, is being hailed a great success.

The Meeting Place is a partnership of Mount Alexander LGA agencies who work to support and initiate activities for Aboriginal children and families. The partners include: Castlemaine District Community health, Castemaine Secondary College, Mount Alexander Shire Council, Lodden Mallee Murray Medicare Local and Castlemaine Health. The Central Victorian Health Alliance funded the group to provide a fortnightly program for Aboriginal children. The Council provides transport for children participating in the project.

The Meeting Place initiative commenced at the start of second term and is held on Mondays at Winters Flat Primary School. Aboriginal children from schools across the Mount Alexander district are transported to Winters Flat to participate in the special program. In third term, the students enjoyed cooking and hip hop dance. The activities included a hip hop singing session with DJ ‘Jasper’ of the Indigenous Hip Hop Project.  Read more



Whittlesea’s Koorie Choir

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