This paper argues that there is more to a successful start to school than the characteristics of an individual child. Readiness for learning and development in the school years depends on a partnership comprising the child, their family, the school, the community and the services provided by and in the community forming a solid foundation. To build a solid foundation ongoing, integrated programs from a variety of providers that address cognitive, physical, social, emotional and behavioural issues need to be accessible to young children, their families, schools and communities. The Communities for Children Initiative (CfC) is one such program. The CfC Initiative is one of four strands in the Stronger Families and Communities Strategy 2004 – 2009 that came about as a result of Australia's National Agenda for Early Childhood. Forty-five communities have been targeted by the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA), to achieve better outcomes for children from birth to five years and their families. Targets include better school readiness, through a collaborative approach to early child and maternal health; early learning and care; child-friendly communities; supporting families and parents; and working together in partnerships. Partners in these collaborations include: three tiers of government; non-government organizations; service providers; and most importantly, families and children. Supported by researchers and academics, partners work and interact collaboratively to ensure school readiness. Other initiatives of the Stronger Families and Communities Strategy that are directed at children are Invest to Grow, Local Answers and Choice and Flexibility in Child Care. In addition FaHCSIA supports a number of other programs some of which are specifically for indigenous children and families e.g. Responding Early Assisting Children (REACh), Child Care Links and Indigenous Children's Programs.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/reesasorin/13/