Zali Steggall MP writes to the Early Childhood Education Minister regarding Dalwood

10 April 2024 

Dear Minister,

I am writing to address the pressing challenges currently faced by the Dalwood Spilstead Service, a highly successful early childhood intervention centre. In my previous
correspondence dated 15 May 2023 (see attached), I introduced you to the Dalwood Spilstead service and its exemplary health care model, underscoring its significance in our community. Since then, the NSW Department of Community and Justice has terminated its funding agreement with Dalwood, leaving the future of the service uncertain. As the Minister for Early Childhood Education, I believe your intervention is crucial to ensuring the continuity of this highly successful service.

Dalwood Spilstead Service has demonstrated remarkable success in providing multidisciplinary health, education, and support services to vulnerable families in Warringah.NSW government data from 2019-2020 found that providers of the Brighter Futures program had, on average, 63% engagement with the program, with 33% of goals achieved for those referred. In comparison to the state average, Dalwood achieved a 96% engagement with the program, with 83% of goals achieved for those referred. Their integrated and evidence-based model of care has yielded significant and long-term benefits for the community, making Dalwood an indispensable resource for families in need.

Despite its success, Dalwood now faces imminent threats due to recent budgetary challenges. Previously, the center received funding from the Department of Communities and Justice, the Northern Sydney Local Health District, and philanthropic contributions. However, the termination of the funding agreement between the Northern Sydney Local Health District and
the NSW Department of Community and Justice last year has left Dalwood with a significant financial shortfall. Although temporary funding has been provided by the NSLHD, this
support is due to expire in December 2024, with no indication from the NSW government regarding reinstatement of funding.

In light of these circumstances, I request your assistance in securing federal support to ensure the continued operation of Dalwood Spilstead Service. I kindly request a meeting with you to discuss this issue in greater detail.

Thank you for your attention to this matter and I look forward to your response.


Yours sincerely,

Zali Steggall OAM, MP
Federal Member for Warringah