Supporting the mental health of children: An online program for family day care

To help build the capability and capacity of educators to promote positive mental health and wellbeing for children, Everymind has developed a six-module, self-paced online program for those who work in the family day care setting.

Informed by Australian family day care educators, managers, coordinators and early childhood education experts, the online program outlines the knowledge, skills and practices that family day care educators need to support children’s wellbeing and provide early intervention. The program also encourages those who work in family day care to reflect on their mental health and wellbeing.

The online program for family day care educators is part of our Children in Mind suite of programs and resources supporting children and families.

Supporting the mental health of children online program

The short, self-paced program is free for educators to complete.


The Supporting the mental health of children online program for family day care educators, coordinators, and managers is kindly supported by Family Day Care Australia.

“Children who are supported in their mental health and wellbeing in early childhood are more likely to experience positive physical and mental health as an adult, and family day care educators are uniquely placed to provide this support for children in their care.”

Dr Sally Fitzpatrick - Everymind Program Manager

Program results

Over 400 family day care educators, managers and coordinators have participated in developing and evaluating the Children in Mind program thus far.

Read more

Why an online program?

Historically, there has been a lack of professional development resources available to support practising Australian early childhood educators in mental health, with even fewer tailored for the family day care context.

Adapted from Connections, a hard-copy evidence-based resource, the online program fills the gap in quality, training and development in the family day care sector. The online format also improves its accessibility and reach for educators. The program provides information, resources and skills suitable for educators, coordinators and managers whose collective aim is to support children's mental health and wellbeing.

Furthermore, evidence suggests skills learned from the program support maintained mental health for educators, which is vital in supporting the mental health and wellbeing of young children and others.

Family day care educators play an important role in the lives of children who attend their service, and educators must be supported to foster positive mental health and wellbeing.

The program has been developed specifically for Australian family day care educators. The flexible online format is designed to allow educators to complete the modules at a time and place convenient for them.

The program's six modules (plus a newly created supporting module for managers and coordinators) explore areas of early childhood education practice critical to achieving positive mental health outcomes for children, identified through research and expert opinion. Furthermore, it has been designed to closely align with the professional standards and principles of the National Quality Standard, Early Years Learning Framework for Australia and My Time, Our Place Framework. It will assist in working towards outcomes reviewed for assessment.

Each module includes information, practical tips, case studies and reflective questions, and each takes up to an hour to complete.

“You need a ‘full cup’ to help with self-care, and educators often run on empty anyway. You can’t give what you don’t have yourself, at the end of the day.”

Kylie, Educational Leader, Family Day Care (2021)

Evidence base

In 2019/2020, the program was trialled under Randomised Control Trial (RCT) conditions.

Results showed that educators who completed the online program within the study showed a significant increase in confidence and capacity to support the mental health and wellbeing of children within their care, compared to the control group. Furthermore, findings showed that the program may be protective against increased distress and maintain the wellbeing of educators.

Read the Impact Report below for further information.


For more information about the Supporting the mental health of children online program for family day care, please reach out to Everymind Project Lead, Dr Philippa Ditton-Phare.

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