The Municipal Early Years Plan, Healthy, Active and Safe Children sets out a number of specific actions that aim to achieve the key objectives in a number of priority areas under the themes of Access and Participation, Community Connectedness, Health and Wellbeing and Leadership.
There is substantial evidence that the early years are crucial in setting the stage for later life. In developing an Early Years plan Council, in partnership with the community and providers of early childhood services, sought to identify:
- The current and potential future needs of children and families in Hepburn;
- Gaps and weaknesses in the provision and management of infrastructure and services, including childcare, to support children and families;
- Opportunities to improve and enhance the provision and management of infrastructure and services to support children and families;
- Key community priorities and actions for Council and other service providers.
The Hepburn Municipal Early Years Plan (2015-2017) Healthy, Active and Safe Children sets out the actions Council, in partnership with other agencies and the community, will undertake. Overseen by a Working Group of early years service providers, the Plan has been shaped by an analysis of data about children and families in Hepburn Shire and consultation.
Actions in the Plan are grouped under four key themes:
- Access and participation – including services for children and families, better integration of services, child friendly spaces and improved participation in Maternal Child Health and preschool.
- Community Connectedness – including connecting with other families and child and family friendly infrastructure. A key action in this area is to assess how well Council infrastructure meets the needs of children and families and develop an improvement plan.
- Health and wellbeing – including immunisation rates, breastfeeding, physical health and readiness for school. The Low Immunisation Coverage project was implemented in 2014, with involvement by Hepburn Shire Council, Hepburn Health Service, Springs Medical Centre, Creswick Medical Centre and Maternal Child Health Nurses.
Leadership – under this theme the priority is to enhance and improve Council’s leadership of the early years agenda at the local level.