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The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) has joined the Thrive by Five campaign, supporting its suite of initiatives which seek to improve and reform Australia’s early childhood education system.

Formed by the philanthropic Minderoo Foundation, the Thrive by Five campaign draws attention to the fact that while 90% of the human brain’s growth occurs by the time a child is 5 years of age, 22% of children commence their school education “developmentally vulnerable”.

The campaign has identified that, the effects of poor childhood development affect not only children, but mothers who wish to participate to a greater extent within the workforce.

Subsequently the campaign has dedicated itself to a range of public, policy and research interventions to reform early childhood care and learning.

ANMF Federal Secretary Annie Butler said the organisation’s members clearly understood the importance of the campaign’s mission.

“We are so glad to be on board for such an important cause,” Ms Butler said.

“The current system is letting down parents and children in the years where they need the most support. It’s leaving mothers with no support and children without the crucial learnings and skills they need before they start school.

“Our nurses and midwives understand the importance of the early years and they are strong advocates of proper maternal and infant support. Many are also working long shifts or night shifts and are unable to access proper childcare. They need this reform as much as any other sector.”

CEO of Thrive by Five, former SA Premier Jay Weatherill, expressed his appreciation for Ms Butler and the union’s support.

“We’re excited to have the support of such an important union for essential workers who are key to the success of the campaign. Infant and maternal health is a critical part of the early childhood development system, which is in urgent need of reform,” Mr Weatherill said.

“Clearly this is becoming a significant cross-sectoral issue. It’s more than just workforce participation and sending kids away while their parents go to work. We need to make sure our future generations are not left developmentally vulnerable and that our economy recovers successfully from the pandemic.”

The campaign has involved itself in numerous projects, including the decade-long Light Years joint venture in partnership with the WA state government, while it has delivered eight policy recommendations for early childhood care and learning to the office of Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

Furthermore, it has produced more than a dozen evidence briefings and reports and engaged in more than 100 partnerships across the government, community, research and philanthropic sectors.

Other names that have thrown their weight behind the campaign include Professor Marcia Langton AO, Rosie Batty AO and Michele O’Neil, while numerous other union bodies, policy groups and health organisations have also supported the campaign.

More information on how to join the Thrive by Five campaign can be found at its website, while the Minderoo Foundation also contains extensive information about the campaign here.