Good Childhood Initiatives

Good Childhood Initiatives

The Berry Street Childhood Institute believes all children should have a good childhood. But our main concern is to ensure a better childhood for children and young people who are vulnerable because of poverty, abuse, neglect, family violence and/or homelessness.

There are many different ways of assisting vulnerable children to have a good childhood and the Berry Street Childhood Institute is committed to using insights from practice and research to achieve the very best outcomes for vulnerable children.

In the first instance, the Berry Street Childhood Institute will focus on sharing knowledge from initiatives linked to Berry Street’s services and practice. We have identified a number of areas of good and emerging practice which we are documenting and evaluating. Alongside the learning from our own work, we highlight the initiatives of our partners and collaborators and provide links to the research and thinking that is influencing the direction of Berry Street’s practice.


Berry Street believes all Aboriginal children should have a good childhood characterised by strong connections with family, Community and cultural identity. “Yarning up on Trauma” discusses the historical and present day trauma that has weakened these connections, as well as focusing on healing.


Neuroscience tells us that human brain development is most active between conception and age three: the brain is most malleable during infancy. We need to invest in early childhood services because “babies can’t wait”.



The Berry Street Education Model has been developed and successfully trialled in the Berry Street School. The Model combines the sciences of social-emotional wellbeing and neurodevelopment to achieve academic growth outcomes for disadvantaged students. Commencing with a pilot in 2015, we are implementing the Model in mainstream schools.

Find out more
Find out more


The experience of family violence has a devastating impact on children’s lives and development. The relationship between mothers and their children is often undermined and Berry Street’s Turtle program focuses on strengthening this bond. Boys who experience family violence may go on to perpetrate violence in their relationships so Berry Street is working with boys to break this cycle.


Berry Street provides residential, foster and kinship care for children and young people who cannot live safely at home with their families. We have a responsibility to ensure the children and young people in our care have the best possible opportunity to thrive, achieve and belong. We are exploring a range of initiatives aimed at enhancing the quality of our care.


Many young people enjoy the benefits of outdoor adventure programs every year. At Berry Street, we are interested in the impact of these initiatives on vulnerable young people. A review of the literature by Deakin University found there are positive outcomes for ‘at risk’ youth and the early findings from evaluations of our interventions are promising.


Children thrive in healthy communities. Place based initiatives like Berry Street’s Connect for Kids program suggest that outcomes for vulnerable children can be improved by taking a community strengthening approach.


Since its establishment in 2004, Berry Street’s Take Two program has developed an integrated approach to therapeutic intervention, with relationships central to all aspects of the program. Take Two includes action research and training components thus enabling the program to continuously engage in learning and dissemination of knowledge.

Berry Street was first established on the lands of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respect to their Elders, past and present, and to all the traditional custodians of land throughout Australia.