The KidsMatter Early Childhood team has compiled a list of resources relevant to early childhood mental health.

These resources cover a broad range of interest areas and are updated regularly, consistent with current trends and research in the area.

The resources are suitable for families, parents and carers, early childhood staff, early childhood mental health professionals, and other interested people.

Further information is available about Australian and International organisations.

Australian Sites

Early Childhood Australia is the peak national, non-profit, non-government organisation that acts in the interests of young children. They provide a range of options and outcomes to support growth and development of young children.

beyondblue is a national, independent, not-for-profit organisation working to address issues associated with depression, anxiety and related substance-use disorders in Australia.

Children Of Parents with a Mental Illness provides information for family members across Australia who have a parent experiencing a mental illness, and for people who care for and work with them. The overall aim of the initiative is to promote better mental health outcomes for children (0-18 years) of parents experiencing a mental illness.

Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care (SNAICC) is the national non government peak body in Australia representing the interests of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families. SNAICC's work includes policy and advocacy and developing resources for services working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families. 

Australian Childhood Foundation is a national organisation aimed at protecting children and preventing abuse and violence. A range of useful resources for families including information in a range of languages is available.

Tasmanian Early Years Foundation was established by the Tasmanian Government and works in partnership with the Tasmanian community to support the wellbeing of children their families. The Foundation provides grants for evidence-based early childhood initiatives and promotes research in relation to the wellbeing, development and learning of children aged 0-6. They also have a range of resources and publications.

Australian Association for Infant Mental Health (AAIMHI) is a national organisation of professionals from a range of fields who work with infants and their families. The AAIMH is affiliated with the World Association for Infant Mental Health and recognises that the infancy is a critical time for development of social and emotional wellbeing. The AAIMH hold a national conference annually to enhance knowledge and skills about infancy and promote research, education, mutual support through networking, and advocacy for children’s mental health and wellbeing.

Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) has been developed collaboratively by the Australian and State and Territory Governments and describes the principles, practice and outcomes essential to support and enhance young children’s learning from birth to five years of age, and their transition to school. The EYLF is part of the Council of Australian Government’s (COAG) reform agenda for early childhood education and care and is a key component of the Australian Government’s National Quality Framework for early childhood education and care.

The Royal Children’s Hospital Centre for Community Child Health (CCCH) aims to support communities to improve the health, development and wellbeing of all children. The CCCH operates clinical services, research and programs. A particular focus of the work at the CCCH is to support and strengthen community-based professionals and organisations in their work with families, so as to bring about the best outcomes for children. The CCCH’s work focuses on five major themes:

  • Development, behaviour and mental health
  • Obesity
  • Language, learning and literacy
  • Hearing
  • Service development

The Centre is widely recognised for their clinical, teaching, research and advocacy programs.

Australian Child and Adolescent, Trauma, Loss and Grief Network focuses on providing knowledge, information and resources to a range of stakeholders, supporting local and national networking and linkages between people responsible for, or working with, children, adolescents and their families, and bringing together stakeholders in the areas of practice, policy and research related to children and adolescents with experiences of trauma, loss and grief.

Families NSW is a Government strategy to enhance the health and wellbeing of children up to 8 years and their families. It does this by helping parents to build their skills and confidence in parenting, supporting parents and carers so they can respond to problems early, building communities that support children and families and improving the way agencies work together to make sure families get the services they need.

Raising Children Network, funded under the Australian Government’s Stronger Families and Communities Strategy, is a national website aimed at helping families care for their children.

Kidscount, developed by the Australian Childhood Foundation, is a website for parents and carers providing useful information about children’s development. Available in a range of languages.

Family Relationships Online provides families with access to a range of information regarding family relationship issues, such as building relationships, family separation, parenting, and effective communication. A range of brochures, tip sheets and relevant community service details are available.

Australian Institute of Family Studies is an Australian Government statutory agency with the role of conducting research and communicating family wellbeing information to policy makers, service providers and the broader community.

Mental Health and Wellbeing in Australia provides information on the Australian Government’s role and contributions to mental health reform activities in Australia. The site is maintained by the Australian Government agencies with responsibility for implementing these reforms.

Response Ability is a national initiative that aims to improve the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people. The Response Ability project team works with tertiary educators to assist them in the professional preparation of teachers and early childhood educators in supporting children's mental health and wellbeing. Guides and factsheets are some of the many resources available on this website.

International Sites

The Technical Assistance Center on Social Emotional Intervention for Young Children (TACSEI) promotes evidence based practices that improve the social-emotional outcomes for young children with additional needs and develops free resources to support ECEC services, schools, families, community services and policy makers apply these best practices in the work that they do.

The Backpack Connection Series was developed by TACSEI support families and educators to work together in promoting children’s social emotional skill development and responding to children who may be experiencing difficulties. Each Backpack Connection handout informs families about what their child is learning and specific ideas on how to use the strategy or skill at home. The series was developed in collaboration with Pyramid Plus: The Colorado Center for Social Emotional Competence and Inclusion and Bal Swan Children's Center in Broomfield, Colorado.

Circle of Security aims to help parents, carers and families raise their children with love, warmth and emotional intelligence. The work is based on an interface of attachment theory, object relations theory and family systems theory. The researchers at Circle of Security have designed a parenting approach involving helping parents and carers to connect with infants and toddlers in ways to make new constructive and healthy relationship patterns. The Circle of Security website includes details of their training programs that often include Australian venues. 

Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning is designed to strengthen the capacity of child care programs to improve the social and emotional wellbeing of young children. The Center has developed training materials and resources reflecting evidence-based practices for promoting children's social and emotional development and preventing challenging behaviours. Resources available on the website include tools for families and staff and training modules.

Child Trauma Academy (CTA) works to improve the lives of high-risk children through direct service, research and education. CTA is located in Texas and is a not-for-profit organisation. A key focus of the CTA is to explore and integrate findings about the human brain and child development into practical implications for the education, protection and nurturing of children. CTA also works to create collaborative working relationships between organisations and individuals to most effectively promote postive change for children.

Zero to Three is a national organisation promoting the health and development of infants and toddlers. Zero to Three focuses on bringing together the knowledge and ideas from many fields showing that all domains of development - social, emotional, intellectual, language and physical - are interdependent and work together to promote a child's overall health and well-being in the context of his family and culture.

Head Start is an American Government program that promotes the health and wellbeing of children ages birth to five from low-income families by enhancing their cognitive, social, and emotional development. The Head Start website has a range of resources related to early childhood development, health and wellbeing which are appropriate for educators and families.

Early Headstart Paper No. 15: The heart of individualizing responsive careThis paper provides a detailed overview of how observing children can support the development of warm trusting relationships. The resource offers information on observation and strategies to support and strengthen this practice in early childhood education and care settings.