Changing children's chances: Can Australia learn from Nordic countries?

Children Australia Europe


Australia has much higher rates of income poverty and inequalities among children than Sweden and the other main Nordic nations. The aim of this publication is to identify what Australia can learn from the Nordic nations’ policies to reduce inequalities, and increase wellbeing, among children. (The term ‘Scandinavia’ includes Sweden, Norway and Denmark while the term ‘Nordic’ includes those countries and also Finland. Thus the term ‘Nordic’ rather than ‘Scandinavian’ will be used in the text of this publication.)

The symposium from which this publication has developed brought together a Nordic expert, and a small number of Australian experts including university academics and professional practitioners from community organisations, to focus on four related policy areas. These were: early, regular monitoring of children’s health; enhanced quality and more equitable early childhood education and care (ECEC) through public provision (including the requisite workforce training and capacity); the provision of extensive paid parental leave and family-friendly working hours; and the provision of more employment to reduce joblessness among families with children so as to reduce child poverty.

The symposium was convened on 26 April 2012 by Deakin University’s School of Humanities and Social Sciences, and Centre for Citizenship and Globalisation, in collaboration with the Centre for Community Child Health at The Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne. This publication of the edited proceedings is now provided for policy makers and other interested persons.

Authors:Andrew Scott (ed.), Staffan Janson, Sharon Goldfeld, Deborah Brennan, Peter Whiteford. With Fiona Andrews, Rebecca Cassells, Michael Horn, Megan Leuenberger, Penny Markham, Rachel Robinson and Bonnie Yim

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