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Inner Gippsland

First 1000 Days Symposium in Inner Gippsland shines light on the future of local children

Woman and child in a forest

The Inner Gippsland Area Partnership is working to ensure the local kids get the best start by focusing on their first 1000 days of life.

The first 1000 days, from conception to age two, is a critical period of development for children. It is a unique window of opportunity to shape successful outcomes for children; and while Inner Gippsland is a great place to raise children, some don’t have the opportunity to get the best start.

The Area Partnership facilitated four local co-design teams from the Bass Coast, Baw Baw, Latrobe and South Gippsland areas to design solutions for Inner Gippsland’s children, setting the agenda for their bright futures.

Presenting to leaders from government, local government, community services, community and local business at the Inner Gippsland First 1000 Days Symposium, teams were joined by industry experts to discuss opportunities for children at the event.

Delving deeper, co-design teams examined what happens to those children who have been denied critical advantages in their earliest days – examining the evidence, listening to the voice of families, carers and service providers and engaging with communities to seek out the opportunities to achieve change for their local children and families.

Speaking at the Symposium, Member for Eastern Victoria, Harriet Shing said that by working together and working differently, the community has the opportunity to achieve transformational change for their local children and families.

“With a collective focus, we can make a difference… and the first 1000 days co-design process and the symposium today are testament to this,” Ms Shing said.

“We enrich our understanding of the issues by bringing diverse stakeholders together, including young people, young mums, and elders with those who work in different parts of the system.”

“Together, we can identify better ways of working to achieve the shifts we need to improve the lives of all in our community.”

The four teams each presented their Problem, Opportunity and Solution to the Symposium which included:

Bass Coast

  • Problem: Young mums and their babies are more at risk of experiencing socioeconomic disadvantage and disconnection from their community.
  • Opportunity: How might we ensure young Wonthaggi women and their babies are empowered to thrive in their first 1000 days?
  • Solution: a Young Mums Facebook Group that connects young mums to community support services that presents them with opportunities, enrich their lives and celebrate instead of stigmatise their journey.

Baw Baw

  • Problem: Not all children in Baw Baw thrive in their first 1000 days, especially those impacted by family violence.
  • Opportunity: How might we support all children to thrive in their first 1000 days?
  • Solution: Implement a welcoming, visible and accessible BawBawKids Mobile Phone App connected to townships full of “Family Friendly Places”, which are agencies, services, businesses and other safe spaces offering a range of facilities, resources, supports and useful information for local families.


  • Problem: There are two key issues affecting the first 1000 days for Aboriginal children in our community, which are domestic violence and disconnection from culture.
  • Opportunity: How might we provide families with the support they need to overcome trauma and connect them to culture so that they can care for their children, so together, they can thrive?
  • Solution: The journey is made up of four components: support through pregnancy, establishing a “Family Tree”, a “Welcome Boorai* to Country” and “Connecting Elders to Boorai”.

South Gippsland

  • Problem: There is a lack of understanding or knowledge of relevant services for families in Korumburra.
  • Opportunity: How might we ensure all families in Korumburra feel welcomed and are confident in their neighbourhood and community?
  • Solution: The “Hop about, Jump about, Learn about Burra” resource that comes in both digital and hard copy format with the use of QR codes linked to a range of essential services and programs.

Each team received feedback and commitment from Symposium attendees to help further develop their ideas and bring them to fruition.

“Together, you’re shining a spotlight on the importance of the early years and committing to action, demonstrating that it is possible to make a big difference,” Ms Shing said.

For more information on how you can contribute to this work, contact Rowena Cann, Principal Advisor, Inner Gippsland Children and Youth Area Partnership on 0429 368 397 or email

Watch the Inner Gippsland Children and Youth Area Partnership's First 1000 Days video:

Inner Gippsland CYAP - First 1000 Days

PLEASE NOTE: this video is currently in the process of being transcribed for accessibility purposes.