Early Childhood Development and Learning Collaboration

collaboration header


The Collaboration is a hub to bring together internal expertise and external stakeholders to coordinate and prioritise activity, translate knowledge into practice and build relationships within the sector.

It will build a core capacity within the Institute to work with community, service providers and funders on a research, implementation and evaluation collaboration. By building the Institute's capacity, the Collaboration will allow Institute experts to be more responsive to community and government needs.

The Collaboration will bring together consumers, leading clinicians, educators and other practitioners and researchers to improve service delivery to meet the needs of vulnerable children, families, and communities. It will provide robust, practical evidence developed in a collaborative manner while maintaining high research integrity. The resulting research 'outcomes' will provide the evidence for quality policy and practice by governments, service providers and community. In addition, the Collaboration aims to integrate health, education, disability and mental health services, child protection and family support, and Aboriginal services in pursuit of its research translation aims.

The Early Childhood Development and Learning Collaboration has four overarching aims:

  • to conduct new and original research;
  • to interpret existing research findings in varying contexts;
  • to translate this research into practice through demonstration projects; and
  • to connect that translation to communities and the policy arena.

Research aims specifically include:

  • Research evidence to address gaps in understanding what is needed for cohesive early childhood service delivery
  • The elements of success associated with best-practice for integrated early childhood service delivery
  • New knowledge to inform and advocate for effective early childhood public policy and practice
  • Improved research and practice capacity in early childhood service delivery
Nicola Forrest     

Minderoo has always encouraged collaboration throughout the community, especially when supporting vulnerable children and families. There is much evidence that a child's life outcomes will be determined by the first few years of their life. This Collaboration is a representation of these realities and an opportunity to bring together research, service providers, communities and policy makers to work towards a common goal - ensuring early childhood is the foundation for lifelong success.

Nicola Forrest

Jonathan Carapetis

This is about how we can get the best evidence to the people who use it to care for and develop our children as well as learning from those same people what works best for them in real practice. Internally it brings together a diverse range of  very talented researcher groups to engage with stakeholders in a way that respects and gives value to the knowledge of all involved.

Jonathan Carapetis









The Early Childhood Development and Learning Collaboration will take a multi-disciplinary and multi-stakeholder approach. The Collaboration is borne out of a recognition that evidence, new knowledge and the translation of existing knowledge to policy and practice is critical in shifting the fragmented and short term approach Australia takes to early childhood development and learning as a nation. The Collaboration will maintain a research focus that delivers the "how to" as well as the "what" in early childhood service delivery. It is envisaged that participation in the Collaboration will grow over time.



The responsibility for governance, reporting and fiscal accountability will be housed within Telethon Kids. This structure will give partners and funders confidence of rigorous oversight, with the ultimate responsibility falling to the Institute's Board of Directors.

An independently chaired Advisory Committee, with cross-sectoral representation, will consider and make recommendations regarding the research agenda. The Advisory Committee will work closely with the Collaboration Director (yet to be appointed) who will be responsible for driving the strategy.

The Advisory Committee will help drive collaboration, ensure multi-disciplinary engagement, inform research decisions and have as its core members the Telethon Kids Institute and the Minderoo Foundation. Initial membership of the full committee will be determined by the core members. It is anticipated that members would meet quarterly.



Telethon Kids Institute

Telethon Kids logoThe Telethon Kids Institute has a strong background and track record in research, evaluation and implementation around improving outcomes in the early years of a child's development.

It was a key partner in the Early Development Index being adapted and piloted in Australia, and then was a key partner in its subsequent national roll out as the Australian Early Development Census.

Through its WA Child Health Survey and the seminal WA Aboriginal Child Health Survey, Telethon Kids has provided the evidence and recommendations for many child health initiatives. It also has a proud history of advocacy, having lobbied for services through education and health services, resulting in the various models of family, child and parent centres and visiting midwife schemes.

Telethon Kids has always worked closely with community and service providers in both framing the research approach and the translation of research findings into policy and practice. This approach is entrenched in the Institute's strategic plan: Working Together 2013-2017 and described in a number of programs in its IMPACT report.

The Minderoo Foundation

Minderoo logoThe Minderoo Foundation was founded by Andrew and Nicola Forrest in 2001, based on the mandate to give a hand up, not a hand out. Since inception, the Foundation has committed over AU$222 million to philanthropic causes and supported over 230 organisations in Australia and abroad.

We look to take a preventative approach through our philanthropy, which goes to the heart of Minderoo's efforts under the Thrive by Five initiative. Minderoo believes that by taking a long term and evidence-based approach to early childhood development as a nation, all children in Australia will thrive by the age of five. By starting school with the readiness to learn, a child is more likely to meet future health, education and emotional milestones.

Alongside ongoing investment in innovative models of service delivery and engagement with the Federal Government on the design of its AU$20 million commitment to integrated service delivery in the child care and education sectors; Minderoo is the proud Founding Partner of the Early Childhood Learning and Development Collaboration. Hosted by the Telethon Kids Institute, the Collaboration will accelerate the translation of research to practice and policy, to enhance outcomes for children across Australia.

Minderoo believes integrated approaches between governments, research and service providers at a community and policy level is the most effective way to support children and families. We invite you to join us in this important collaboration to enhance the lives of children across Australia.



Read our media release here.

Watch a video here.

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