The Andrews Labor Government is pre-purchasing kinder spots and widening its outreach to Aboriginal families to help lift the number of Aboriginal children enrolled in kinder.
Aboriginal children are under-represented in Victorian preschools with 79.6 per cent participating in four-year-old kindergarten compared to 96.4 per cent of children state-wide – a 17 per cent gap.
This is despite Aboriginal families being able to access three and four year-old kindergarten for free.
Critical to making Victoria the Education State is engaging Aboriginal kids early on in education to lift their opportunities so they can get the jobs of tomorrow.
The Koorie Kids Shine at Kindergarten campaign, launched last year, will be broadened this year to reach more Aboriginal families and lift the number of kids enrolled in kinder.
A clear message of the campaign is that it is never too late to enrol their children and make sure they benefit from free, quality learning programs in the two years before school.
Kindergarten places across the state will also be pre-purchased in a pilot program to ensure Aboriginal children do not miss out if they enrol late.
Boosting kinder participation is crucial to keeping children engaged in education and tackling the over-representation of Aboriginal young people in Victoria’s child protection and youth justice system.
Aboriginal young people constitute only one per cent of Victorian teenagers aged 10-17, but make up about 13 per cent of young people under youth justice supervision. They are also significantly over-represented in the out-of-home care system.
The Labor Government is working to improve Victoria’s entire child protection and family services system through the Roadmap for Reform project which will examine and strengthen it from the ground up.
This is in addition to the record $257 million funding boost to child protection and family services in the 2015–16 Victorian Budget – a 17 per cent increase on the previous year.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Families and Children Jenny Mikakos
“Kindergarten places are available across the state for Aboriginal children at no cost – and I am working with local councils and services to boost enrolments.”
“Early learning is vital for brain development and giving children the best possible start in life – lifting Aboriginal participation in kindergarten is crucial to improving lives and outcomes down the track.”
“We are working in partnership with Aboriginal organisations and the community to tackle the underrepresentation of Aboriginal children in kindergarten and the overrepresentation in out-of-home care.”
Reviewed 19 August 2020