Kids Matter Overview

What is Kids Matter? 

Kids Matter is an Australian mental health and well-being initiative set in primary schools, early childhood education and care services (like preschools, kindergartens and day care centres). Kids Matter aims to improve the mental health and wellbeing of children, reduce mental health problems amongst children, and achieve greater support for children experiencing mental health difficulties, and their families.


Kids Matter was developed by mental health professionals and education and childcare staff in response to the high rates of school-age children with mental health difficulties (currently 1 in 4 children) and the problems they face in getting help. It is a partnership between education and health sectors and is funded by the Australian Government and beyondblue.


It’s a fact that children can be taught how to cope with their emotions, to bounce back from problems, and to develop positive relationships – this is called ‘social and emotional learning’

It’s also a fact that a child’s family is the first and biggest influence on their mental health. Basically, families can teach children these social and emotional skills as early as possible in life – even from when they’re babies!


At Footscray North Primary we adopted the Kids Matter Primary Framework in 2011 and after 5 years of implementing this framework we are now an Accredited Kids Matter School.


Kids Matter has been proven to make a positive difference in the lives of Australian Children by providing the methods, tools and support to help schools promote and improve mental health in children.

 A comprehensive evaluation of Kids Matter Primary in 101 schools across Australia was conducted by Flinders University of South Australia. The findings show Kids Matter Primary had a positive impact on schools, children, parents and carers.

Key findings include:

  • Improved student mental health and wellbeing such as optimism and coping skills       
  • Reduced mental health difficulties such as emotional symptoms, hyperactivity, conduct and peer problems
  • Improvements in students’ school-work
  • Improved teacher capacity to identify students experiencing mental health difficulties
  • Improved teacher knowledge on how to improve students’ social and emotional skills


Kids Matter also draws from the World Health Organization's (WHO) Health Promotion School’s Framework. This advocates a whole-school model of promotion, prevention and early intervention to support children’s mental health and wellbeing. This focuses on 3 core areas of operation in schools:

  • ethos and environment
  • curriculum teaching and learning 
  • partnerships and services.

Kids Matter captures these core areas within its framework but explicitly includes the influence and involvement of parents and carers at each level of intervention. 


As Kids Matter Primary is a flexible whole-school approach we at Footscray North Primary have tailored Kids Matter to suit our school’s needs and context while still working within the core framework of Kids Matter. This framework is underpinned by four components


  1. A positive school community that promotes belonging and inclusion for everyone
  2. Explicitly teaching a Social and Emotional Learning curriculum  
  3. Working authentically with parents’ and carers’ to support students
  4. Helping and supporting children who are experiencing mental health difficulties


Our aim at Footscray North Primary is to link everything we do back to these components and this Kids Matter Framework to ensure we are working towards our mission statement of graduating empowered students who are high achieving, socially and emotionally intelligent, globally aware and active citizens in the community.


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