CFLCs focus on the early years of a child’s life, from pregnancy to age five, when they begin school (prep/compulsory education).

CFLCs use a collaborative partnership model where families, community and service partners work together to ensure the best outcomes for children and families.

The goals of CFLCs are to work in partnership to:

  • improve the health, wellbeing and learning outcomes for children in the early years
  • provide a range of integrated early years services in local communities to support the healthy development of children
  • build on the existing strengths of families and communities
  • respond to child and family needs in a seamless and holistic manner
  • increase participation and access to quality early learning and early years programs
  • support connections between families and schools, facilitating a child’s school readiness and successful transition to school
  • build community capacity by developing partnerships with parents, carers, services, and the community.

CFLCs are safe and welcoming places families can go to access a range of high-quality services in their local community that support children’s and families learning, health and wellbeing.

CFLCs provide innovative child-focused environments, specifically tailored to early childhood learning, where children, family and workers can learn, play and grow together. The purpose-built indoor and outdoor play spaces help families build connections and belonging within their local community.

CFLCs align with the ecological model of human development, which places the child at the centre and recognises the influence of relationships within the settings of the family and the community.

Figure 1: The Ecological Model – The theory suggests that a child’s development is affected by the different environments that they encounter during their life, including biological, interpersonal, societal, and cultural factors.

Graphic showing the Ecological Model - The theory suggests that a child's development is affected by the different environments that they encounter during their life, including biological, interpersonal, societal, and cultural factors.

Early years

The early years, the time from pregnancy until age five years, is a period of rapid development that has a direct impact on a child’s future health, education, social development, and readiness for school.

To get the best start in life, children need:

  • loving and secure relationships
  • healthy food and environments
  • positive and inclusive communities
  • a sense of belonging
  • access to services and support
  • opportunities for play and discovery.

By providing children and families with the opportunities and environments for healthy development, they will have the foundation for current and future physical, emotional, and social wellbeing.

Parents, caregivers, and families

Parents and caregivers are a child’s first and most important teachers.

Irrespective of their education, job or income, parents and caregivers have an important role in supporting their children to become confident and motivated life-long learners.

CFLCs play an important role engaging with and supporting parents, caregivers, and families, working together in partnership, to ensure that every parent and caregiver can play a positive role in their child’s learning, health and wellbeing, from pregnancy until they start school.

CFLCs run programs and services for parents, caregivers, and families to empower them and build their capacity to give children the best start in life.

Connected communities

It takes a village to raise a child.

CFLCs provide opportunities for children and families to engage and connect with other families and service providers in their community. Families build trusting relationships in connected communities, where everyone works together to enable young children to thrive.

When a child and their family is connected to their neighbourhood and community, they have:

  • a sense of belonging to a place and community
  • opportunities to learn
  • supportive relationships and role models
  • people to go to when they need help.

Family Partnership Model

CFLCs are underpinned by the Family Partnership Model (FPM), an innovative and evidence-based model of the helping process and an internationally recognised approach to partnership practice.

The model demonstrates how specific helper qualities and skills, when used in partnership, enable parents, families, and others to overcome their challenges, build strengths, resilience and enable their goals to be achieved effectively. Ultimately, it aims to achieve better outcomes for our children and their families.

Inclusion and diversity

CFLCs are underpinned by inclusive education principles and all CFLCs are committed to providing high quality inclusive learning environments for children and families.

Children and families from all social, cultural, community and family backgrounds and of all identities and abilities can access and participate in their local CFLC and learn in a safe and supportive environment, that is free from bullying, discrimination, or harassment.

Inclusive environments can help promote children’s learning, development, and engagement; ensure a sense of belonging; and foster positive social relationships.

Evidence shows that inclusive education leads to improved quality of education for all, and education which is more sensitive to children’s needs.

United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC)

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, or UNCRC, is a special agreement made by governments from all around the world (including Australia) to ensure every child, no matter who they are, where they live or what they believe, has rights. 

After listening and learning from the experts, most countries that make up the United Nations agreed on 42 different rights that every child under 18 should have to live a safe, healthy and happy life.

In 1989 they signed this agreement, which we now know as the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. All the rights are connected, equally important and cannot be taken away from children.