Integrated services in Australian early childhood education and care: what can we learn from our past?

Sandie Wong*, Frances Press

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Recent Australian interest in the integration of early childhood services is largely informed by international research and policy developments, particularly from the United Kingdom. Service integration is widely recognised as an effective means of holistically meeting the needs of children and families and ameliorating disadvantage. What is less well known is that Australia has a history of integrated early childhood services. This paper focuses on three points in 20th century Australia when advocacy for integrated early childhood service provision was evident: post-World War I when the first Mother and Baby Welfare Clinic was established; during the late 1930s to mid 1940s with the advent of the Lady Gowrie Centres; and in the 1970s when several reports recommended the integration and co-ordination of early years services. Attending to this history acknowledges this innovative Australian work, and provides potentially valuable, and somewhat cautionary, lessons for contemporary advocacy for integrated early childhood services.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)153-173
Number of pages21
JournalAustralian Journal of Social Issues
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • integrated services
  • early childhood education
  • history
  • policy


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