Papua New Guinea's Community Development Minister, Dame Carol Kidu, says there should be a greater reliance on proven Melanesian practices as the country strives to improve the quality of early childhood care.
PNG is holding its first ever Forum on Early Childhood Care and Development with academics, civil society groups, agencies such as UNICEF and the Government focussing on how best to provide age relevant support, care and protection.
Dame Carol says it's an opportunity to promote child welfare legislation passed earlier this year and also focus on health and education issues.
And she says to improve child welfare many traditional practices should be encouraged.
"Some of those customs from the past, they have to be declared illegal, but the majority of early childhood customs from the past should be encouraged. Things like having multiple mothers and multiple fathers - it's very different from the Western child. My children grew up with six mothers and six fathers, who they would actually address as mother and father. That is part of the custom."