First 1000 Days Australia

Project Details

First 1000 Days Australia has already started to make headway through its advocacy and engagement strategies. These outcomes include a recommendation in the Australian Human Rights Commission’s Children’s Rights Report 2015 (Recommendation 14, p. 11) by the National Children’s Commissioner specifying the work of First 1000 Days Australia. Additionally, First 1000 Days Australia is now included in one of the three key action areas for the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children 2009–2020 — Third Action Plan 2015–2018.  Further, First 1000 Days Australia has been specifically cited within the 2016 Redfern Statement, 2016 .

( as part of a collective restatement for self-determination of First Peoples of Australia.

Project Full Title

An Indigenous people’s conceived of and led evidence based model to foster resilience, leadership and innovation through focusing on the period of time from (pre) conception to age 2.

Project Summary

First 1000 Days Australia – the Australian Model of the international First 1,000 Days movement – aims to provide a coordinated, comprehensive strategy to strengthen Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families so they can address their children’s needs from pre-conception to two years of age, thereby laying the best foundation for their future health and wellbeing. First 1000 Days Australia is premised on the family remaining the primary and preferred site for developing and protecting culture and identity in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. As such, the work is guided by a First 1000 Days Council made up of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders, researchers, community members, front- line workers and policy makers. The Council ensures First 1000 Days Australia endorsed work is led by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and employs Indigenous methods of knowledge generation.


Professor Kerry Arabena


Department of Social Services, 2016, $150.000

Start date: June 2014

End Date: Ongoing

Research Outcomes

Key publications:


Gunatillake, T., Bennett, J., Taylor, A., & Ritte, R. First 1000 days peer researcher-led household survey report: Moreton Bay and Townsville Regions, Queensland, (2019), First 1000 Days Australia and the University of Melbourne.


Arabena, K. (2014). The First 1000 Days: Catalysing equity outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. Medical Journal of Australia, 200(8), 442.

Journal articles

Arabena, K., Panozzo, S. and Ritte, R., (2016). 'What hope can look like':The First 1000 Days - Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and their families. Developing Practice (44), 26-36

Ritte, R., Panozzo, S., Johnston, L., Agerholm, J., Kvernmo, S., and Rowley K., & Arabena, K. (2016). An Australian model of the First 1000 Days: an Indigenous-led process to turn an international initiative into an early-life strategy benefiting Indigenous families. Global Health, Epidemiology and Genomics, 1(e11), 10+

Further information can be found:

Research Group

Faculty Research Themes

Child Health

School Research Themes

Disparities, disadvantage and effective health care

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact the research group leader.

Department / Centre

Centre for Health Equity

MDHS Research library
Explore by researcher, school, project or topic.