Accept Difference. Support Connections. Formerly known as the Early Childhood Intervention Program - Coffs Harbour

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Who We Are

Established in 1983, the Special Needs Support Group Inc was known throughout the community as “The Early Childhood Intervention Program” or ECIP. In 2016, we conducted an organisational change and formed a Network Alliance with four other similar organisations on the Mid-North Coast. We are now called Early Connections – Coffs Coast.

Early Connections – Coffs Coast
is a not-for-profit community based organisation. We are a Children’s Charity with DGR status. Our Program delivers Early Childhood Early Intervention, Early Childhood Education and Therapy Supports to children with a diagnosed disability or a developmental delay and their families.

To ensure the best outcomes for children and families, the Program’s priority is family-centered practice. This means our team of Key Workers acknowledge the importance of the family in children’s lives and commit to partnering with all families to support each child to learn, grow and thrive.

Our Program focuses on supporting the child in their natural environments and in their everyday experiences and activities. We aim to work collaboratively with our partners and the wider community  to ensure  difference is accepted and celebrated.

Click Here to view a copy of our latest Annual Report.

Mission Statement


Life changing early childhood intervention through education, therapy and support.


We believe all children and families can learn, play and connect with the community.


We will adopt a family centred approach to ensure the best outcomes for families and children. Our team will acknowledge the centrality of family in children’s lives and commit to partnering with all families to support each individual child to learn, grow and thrive.

Our Values

We listen to families and value different experiences.

We promote the inclusion of children in their community.

We are led by families and adjust our service delivery to their individual needs.

Respect and Acceptance
We respect and accept the diversity of individual values, culture and knowledge.

We are consistent in being honest and transparent in our actions and activities.

Our History

In 1983 Coffs Harbour Early Childhood Intervention Program began after several years of lobbying by the Special Needs Awareness Group, a small group of dedicated parents. Government funding was secured to employ a teacher. Twelve families received services for their children with disability / developmental delay. In 1987 the Program moved to its first real home, a cottage in Moonee Street.

The following year the group became incorporated and became the Special Needs Support Group Inc. Planning began to make the dream of a purpose-built centre a reality. In 1990 Joy Leach was appointed as Director with 35 families being supported. In 1994 the building of the new centre in Kane Crescent began and the following year saw the Program move into its beautiful purpose-built, Commonwealth-funded Centre.

Over the next decade the Program expanded to include more teaching hours, a Speech Pathologist, Occupational Therapist and Physiotherapist. In 2013 the Program celebrated its 30 year anniversary.

In 2016 the Program was re-named Early Connections – Coffs Coast. The new name and brand was developed through a collaborative partnership with 4 similar organisations on the mid North Coast. Being a member of the new Early Connections Alliance Network will make the organisation stronger and more sustainable into the future.

In 2017, Early Connections – Coffs Coast provides education and therapy supports to over 120 families at any one time. The organisation employs 15 staff members including Special Education Teachers and Educators, Speech Pathologists, Occupational Therapists, a Family Support Worker and a Physiotherapist.

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