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The Best Start program is a Victorian Department of Education and Training place-based prevention and early intervention initiative focused on strengthening early childhood services for Victorian children and families. Best Start aims to give every child the best start in life by improving their learning and
development; and encouraging agencies and services to work together to address challenges faced by families and communities.
Implementation of Best Start commenced in 2002 and the initiative exists in 30 sites across Victoria; with six run in partnership with local Aboriginal communities. The Centre for Community Child Health currently provides support and training to all 30 Best
Start sites. Recently the Best Start program sharpened its focus to those children and families experiencing vulnerability, and to increasing the participation of all Aboriginal children. This new targeted focus helps to ensure these children have the opportunity to participate in quality early childhood
experiences through; kindergarten, Supported Playgroups, and maternal and child health services.
that children who attend quality preschool programs are more likely to arrive
at school ready to take advantage of the learning opportunities available to
“Investment in initiatives like Best
Start will contribute to a more prosperous future for all Victorians.” Sue West, Associate Director - Centre for Community Child Heath.
The initiative uses a quality improvement approach to implementation, using rapid cycles to develop, test and measure small practice changes. As changes are shown to be successful, they are applied throughout a site. Since 2016 CCCH has provided training and coaching to Best Start facilitators to adopt this improvement approach.
This quality improvement approach also includes the use of evidence and data to more effectively identify and address barriers to participation in services, and to measure the results of the initiative. CCCH has co-designed an online portal which will produces community data dashboards customisable for each site.
This Best Start guide was developed by the Centre for Community Child Health on behalf of the Victorian Department of Education and Training to help you implement the Best Start improvement approach in local communities.
Access the Best Start guide here.
The Promising Practice in Best Start series captures what is being learnt through Best Start about how to use quality improvement to increase participation in early years services. The series draws on insights from Best Start facilitators and is produced by the Centre for Community Child Health.
Access all Promising Practice series papers:
This blog series shares insights from the Centre's work with early childhood services in system redesign in Australia as well as practical tips from international partners driving quality improvement overseas. You’ll get a better sense of how quality improvement has been implemented and adapted in practice, and you’ll also come away with tips and strategies to help you do this work well.
Access all blog posts:
The blog series is authored by Lauren Heery, Senior Coordinator in the Service System Innovation Team at the Centre for Community Child Health.
This webinar was part of the Thriving Children, Thriving Communities series by the Centre for Community Child Health. It was hosted by
Professor Sharon Goldfeld with panellists Lauren Heery, Rachel Mullin and Leah Taylor. The webinar explored how quality improvement is being used to build understanding of communities, share learnings and create partnerships for change.
Associate Professor Moira Inkelas is the Assistant Director of the Child and Family Health Program at UCLA Fielding School of Public Health and a critical friend and adviser to the CCCH Best Start team.
Dr Inkleas hosted a webinar in March 2018 for the Best Start Innovation sites: Casey, Hume, Latrobe, and Njernda.
The webinar discusses and explores ‘moving from testing change ideas to implementation and spreading practice change’ based on Dr Inkelas' experience and the experience and questions from the CCCH team and the Best Start Innovation site facilitators. We invite you to watch/listen to the webinar recording below.
In December 2016 Associate Professor Moira Inkelas hosted a webinar for Best Start site facilitators.
The webinar explores ‘measuring improvement’ based on Dr Inkelas' experience in using quality improvement methodologies on changing systems in the USA. We invite you to watch/listen to the webinar recording below and
view the slides.
Minister for Families and Children Jenny Mikakos officially launched the program in October 2016.
For more information on the Supporting Best Start – measurement and change program, contact
The Centre for Community Child Health is a department of The Royal Children’s Hospital and a research group of Murdoch Childrens Research Institute.