The Healthy Start initiative

Healthy Start was developed in 2005 to build Australia’s capacity to support the healthy and happy development of children whose parents have learning difficulties. Service providers reported feeling challenged in supporting mothers and fathers with learning difficulties and they wanted strategies that work.

Parents with learning difficulties tend to have fewer social supports, so the service system can be a critical source of support for family functioning. Healthy Start was designed to be responsive to the needs of service providers supporting parents with learning difficulties.

The Healthy Start initiative has now extended to become a Practice Network, a strategy to make research evidence more available and responsive to the needs of service providers and foster exchange between professionals in health, education and welfare.

Management and funding

Healthy Start is a joint initiative between the Parenting Research Centre and the Australian Family and Disability Studies Research Collaboration, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Sydney. Read more about this collaboration.

Healthy Start was initially funded for three and a half years from 2005. This funding was extended in 2008 and 2009. Subsequently in 2011, the Australian Government confirmed funding for a further 3 years to December 2014.

As of 2015, Healthy Start has not been funded by the Australian Government, instead it has been an unfunded initiative exclusively providing consultation and support for organisations and practitioners.

The Parenting Research Centre acknowledges and respects the diverse Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of this country and the Elders of the past, present and future.