This latest report in the Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre’s Focus on Western Australia series, the thirteenth in this series, looks to add to our understanding of the lives of young children in Australia, the environment within which they live and learn, and the services provided to families to enable their children to thrive.

The importance of the early years in influencing outcomes in later life has been well considered. What happens to a child in their first five years of life, their physical health, the connections they form, the resources they have access to and the early education and care they receive can have lasting impacts on their future outcomes. Despite this children are still entering the world and growing up in circumstances where they face significant disadvantage.

The report’s findings offer a deeper understanding of the breadth, depth and drivers of disadvantage in the early years of a child’s life, the impact of disadvantage on child outcomes, and the reinforcing effects of inequities in access to financial, developmental and learning resources, with a new BCEC Early Learning Disadvantage Index highlighting the extent of inequality of early learning opportunities across Western Australia and Australia.

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Focus on Western Australia Report Series No.13