The Thriving and On Track Program: A Collaborative, Place Based Initiative Responding to High Levels of Developmental Vulnerability

Ms Frances Bugden1, Ms Melissa Taylor Hansford2

1Brisbane South PHN, , Australia, 2Department of Education, , Australia

The early years of a child’s life provide a foundation for health and wellbeing across a lifetime. There is strong evidence that early identification of developmental issues and early access to intervention/support services leads to improved lifelong outcomes. The 2018 Australian Early Development Census, revealed that a number of locations in the Brisbane South area had higher than average levels of developmental vulnerability for children entering school.  In response to this data a cross-sector, collaborative committee was formed with key stakeholders in the child and family space (including health, education and community organisations).  This group co-designed and resourced the Thriving and On Track (TOTs) project.  The project aims to increase access to child development checks and early intervention services for children in the target age group (2.5-3.5 years).  The TOTs program developed a service delivery model based in Early Childhood Education (ECE) centres.  This involves educators, Child Health Nurses and allied health clinicians working with families in their ECE centre.  Additionally, a key focus of the program is capacity building and information sharing between early childhood education centres and early intervention services.  Early program data indicates this place-based model is improving access to early intervention services for families and building capacity in the targeted early childhood education areas.

Fran Bugden is the Project Manager for Thriving and On Track at Brisbane South PHN.  Fran is an experienced Speech Pathologist and has post-graduate qualifications in Early Childhood Education.

Melissa Taylor Hansford has worked for the Department of Education for over ten years.  Melissa is an early childhood professional with current child, family and community focus.