Healthy Start: A national strategy for children of parents with learning difficulties (2005-2011)

McConnell, D., Dalziel, A., Llewellyn, G., Laidlaw, K., & Hindmarsh, G. (2009). Strengthening the social relationships of mothers with learning difficulties. British Journal of Learning Disabilities, 37(1), 66-75.

McConnell, D., Llewellyn, G., Matthews, J., Hindmarsh, G., Mildon, R., & Wade, C. (2006). Healthy Start: A national strategy for children of parents with learning difficulties. Developing Practice: The Child Youth and Family Work Journal, 16, 34-42.

McConnell, D., Matthews, J., Llewellyn, G., Mildon, R., & Hindmarsh, G. (2008). Healthy Start. A national strategy for children of parents with intellectual disabilities. Journal of Policy and Practice in Intellectual Disabilities, 5(3), 194-202.

Project team

The Australian Supported Parenting Consortium is a partnership between the Parenting Research Centre (PRC) and the University of Sydney (Australian Family & Disability Studies Research Collaboration)

Prof Gwynnyth Llewellyn
Gabrielle Hindmarsh
Professor David McConnell
Dr Rachel Mayes
Susan Collings


Healthy Start is a world first national strategy that aims to build capacity across human services by equipping practitioners with the skills and resources needed to promote a positive and healthy start to life for young children of parents with learning difficulties. This project is an Early Childhood – Invest to Grow initiative, funded by the Australian Government under the Stronger Families and Communities Strategy (2005-2011).


Healthy Start facilitates networking and leadership to build capacity among professionals. Professionals influence a range of settings in which parents with learning difficulties raise children and they can play a vital part in enhancing the level of support available to these families in the community. Healthy Start is a Practice Network that links together local, regional and national networks as well as individuals that share common interests, concerns or challenges related to families led by a parent with learning difficulties. The network promotes exchange and development of the shared knowledge and practices underpinning professional communities and encourages links and collaboration between practitioners in different fields, researchers, service managers and policy makers.

Anticipated outcomes

The Healthy Start Practice Network aims to improve our understanding of children of parents with learning difficulties, promote best practice and ensure the children of parents with learning difficulties have a healthy start to life.