Child and Family

Kids Early Years Network

By the time children begin school in Australia, their health and developmental outcomes have already been impacted by the circumstances they live in. The Kids Early Years Network (KEYS)
is a multi-agency program that targets the 20% of families in Western Sydney with children aged 0-5 years that are at risk of 
poor outcomes and aims to change the trajectory.

Our KEYS partners include the Department of Communities and Justice, Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network, Western Sydney Local Health District, and the Department of Education.

This year, we contracted the Western Sydney University Translational Research and Social Innovation (TReSI) group of the School of Nursing and Midwifery to undertake a comprehensive evaluation of KEYS. The evaluation demonstrated that KEYS is a healthy and effective collaboration that provides quality, client-centred, client-led care that assists providers in accessing services that improve the wellbeing of families and provide a significant lifetime return on investment.

Since September 2021

They [KEYS] provided support to a family who would have otherwise had none and done so much more for them than I would have been able to with the effectively limited resources. - Provider

St John of God

As part of our commitment to helping young families thrive, we commission St John of God Raphael Services perinatal program. The program offers free personalised counselling and group therapy for families going through the challenges of pregnancy, early parenthood and pregnancy loss.

Tala* was referred to Raphael services having been diagnosed with postnatal depression by her GP. She presented with symptoms such as irritability, flat moods, difficulty coping with daily activities and caring for her baby, insomnia and self-harm. It became clear that she had a traumatic upbringing which was adding to the emotions she was having as a new mum.

Speaking with a counsellor, Tala has gained more awareness of her triggers and trauma, while gradually exposing herself to diverse situations where she can practice developing her confidence as a mother. Tala has stopped self-harming and continues to make positive progress to strengthen her connection with her daughter.

Deadly Dreaming

The Mount Druitt Deadly Dreaming Project runs weekly programs for Aboriginal young people to build resilience and links to culture, country and community by connecting them to local First Nations workers and Elders. The program focuses on helping young people with poor school attendance, behavioural issues, drug and alcohol problems, or those who are disengaged from the community. The workshops cover topics such as art, music, dance, theatre, writing, life skills, technology and design, drug and alcohol support, mental health, and yarning.

Background: Laura* is 13 years old and was referred to Deadly Dreaming by her school’s Aboriginal Education Officer for cultural support and to increase her school attendance and engagement.

Support: Laura participated in weekly Deadly Dreaming workshops where she learnt about the importance of yarning circles, language and cultural Lore, cultural art, dreamtime stories, traditional practices, cooking and ceremonial dance. Laura identified the need for further community support and was also referred to the Aboriginal Case Management program.


We commission headspace centres across Western Sydney to help young people aged 12-25 years old access appropriate mental health support. As well as offering evidence-based treatment, the headspace teams aim to increase the mental health literacy of young people and support those with face-to-face sessions and telephone sessions.

* Name changed to protect the person's identity.