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Governance and support

The governance structure of Children and Youth Area Partnerships connects local priorities and learning to senior decision makers across government.  This enables the partnerships to influence system change and scale innovation across communities.

To support the initiative, the Victorian Government funds a central backbone team, the Vulnerable Children's Reform Unit, and a Principal Advisor for each Area Partnership. 


The Children's Services Coordination Board is the key sponsor of Children and Youth Area Partnerships and oversees the Area Partnerships initiative.

The Children's Services Coordination Board brings together key decision-makers across departments to lead coordination of activities impacting on children and young people. It is established under the Child Wellbeing and Safety Act 2005.

The Board comprises the Chief Commissioner for Police and the secretaries of the Departments of Premier and Cabinet, Treasury and Finance, Education and Training, Health and Human Services and Justice and Regulation.

The role of the Board is to sponsor and oversee coordination of effort across different Victorian government programs and policies where this is needed to improve outcomes for children and young people, particularly those vulnerable to harm, disadvantage or social exclusion.

The Children Services Coordination Board established the Victorian Children and Youth Implementation Group, to support the establishment and implementation of the Area Partnerships initiative. The Implementation Group comprises:

  • Deputy Secretaries from the Departments of Education and Training, Health and Human Services, and Justice and Regulation
  • Assistant Commissioner from Victoria Police
  • senior representatives of the Department of Premier and Cabinet, Municipal Association of Victoria, Victorian Council of Social Service
  • Commonwealth Government Departments of Human Services and Social Services.

The Vulnerable Children’s Reform Unit is a whole-of-government team that supports implementation of the Area Partnerships and connects local work with senior decision-makers across government and the Children’s Services Coordination Board. This includes access to data and data analysis, technical expertise, capability development, evaluation and shared measurement, sharing innovative approaches across the partnerships and government, communities of practice and reporting.

Each Area Partnership is led by a steering group of key local leaders from: 

  • Victorian, Commonwealth and local governments
  • community, health, justice and education services
  • Victoria Police
  • Aboriginal communities and community controlled organisations
  • business, philanthropy and the wider community.

They are supported by a Principal Advisor and the Departments of Health and Human Services and Education and Training who co-lead implementation at the local level. 

Area Partnerships focus on using existing resources more effectively, testing new approaches and seeding new activity. If project funding is needed it is sought through the partnership. They provide a platform to develop local capability for innovation, feedback, analysis and adaptation aimed at measureable improvements in outcomes.