Early childhood development


Collapse and recovery: how the COVID-19 pandemic eroded human capital and what to do about it

Other authors
Joana Silva, Andres Yi Chang
Worldwide, the COVID-19 pandemic has been an enormous shock to mortality, economies and daily life. This report estimates the impacts of the pandemic on the human capital of young children, school-age children and youth, and discusses the urgent actions needed to reverse the damage.
Briefing paper

Child and family hubs: an important ‘front door’ for equitable support for families across Australia

Other authors
Valsa Eapen, John Eastwood, Rebecca Goodhue, Caitlin Graham, Lauren Heery, Harriet Hiscock, Michael Hodgins, Anne Hollands, Kim Jose, Dana Newcomb, Grainne O'Loughlin, Katarina Ostojic, Emma Sydneham, Sarah Tayton, Sue Woolfenden, Sharon Goldfeld
In this paper, the authors explore what is meant by a child and family hub, and identify core components that underpin the delivery of these hubs that have emerged from Australian and international research.
Discussion paper

The Early Years Strategy: discussion paper

Developing the Early Years Strategy is an opportunity to have a national conversation about what Australians want for young children and their families, and where the government should direct their efforts to achieve these aspirations. This discussion paper supports the submission process and includes questions...
Discussion paper

Securing children’s future: Nordic-style investment needed in early years learning

Planned new funds from the national and two major state governments for early years learning have huge potential. This paper argues that Nordic-style measures to reduce privatised childcare – and now boost wages, job security and training support for children’s educators and carers – are...
Briefing paper

Starting now: the first steps to delivering the best early childhood system for Australia

This briefing paper sets out a roadmap to a universal, accessible and affordable early childhood system in Australia.
Discussion paper

Occasional Paper 8: The first decade of the NQF

This paper provides a high-level overview of the National Quality Framework (NQF), highlights a number of changes that have occurred over the last 10 years, and summarises a range of projects and strategies in place to ensure the NQF remains fit for purpose.

Reframing childhood: final report of the Childhood Policy Programme

This report sets out seven, evidence-informed principles for those working in the policy ecosystem. The authors hope that these principles, which are not set in stone, will prompt discussion and debate on childhood policy, including the way children are conceptualised in policy and the role...
Working paper

Starting unequal: how’s life for disadvantaged children?

Built using a series of key comparative indicators from the OECD 'Child Well being Dashboard', this paper examines how the wellbeing of children from disadvantaged backgrounds compares both across OECD countries and relative to their more advantaged peers.
Journal article

Access to and quality of neighbourhood public open space and children’s mental health outcomes: evidence from population linked data across eight Australian capital cities

This study examines access to and quality of public open space and young children’s mental health across eight Australian capital cities using a unique population linked dataset, the Australian Early Development Census—Built Environment.
Literature review

Comparing outcomes for maltreated children: out-of-home care versus remaining at home – a literature summary

This literature summary reviews key research studies that compare developmental, educational, health and wellbeing, and criminal justice outcomes for maltreated children who were placed in out-of-home care with those who remained with their birth families.

Supporting all children to thrive

In 2021, more than 63,000 children were assessed as developmentally vulnerable when they started school, according to the Australian Early Development Census (AEDC). This analysis highlights the circumstances of disadvantage experienced by many of these children, how inequity of access to high quality Early Education...
Position paper

Mitchell Institute election 2022 education policy brief: early childhood education and care

This position paper outlines a number of policy initiatives the Mitchell Institute would like to see the next Australian government take action on.

The NSW strategic plan for children and young people 2022-24

The content of this plan is primarily driven by direct consultation with children and young people. In this way, the Advocate for Children and Young People is not relying on what they assume children and young people need and want, but speaking to them directly...

Deserts and oases: how accessible is childcare in Australia?

The evidence is overwhelming on the impact of good quality early learning in fuelling children’s development and giving them a great start in life. This research reveals where in Australia the demand for space in early childhood education and care (ECEC) outpaces local capacity to...

NQF evaluation framework

The Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) has published this refreshed version of the NQF Evaluation Framework, developed in collaboration with the Australian and state and territory governments. The framework provides an agreed way of understanding how the National Quality Framework (NQF) is...

Supporting children with neurodiversity

Neurodiversity is an umbrella term that refers to the diversity in brain functioning associated with a range of developmental conditions and experiences. This paper provides an overview of principles and strategies that can help practitioners to support children with neurodiversity to engage in counselling and...

National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander early childhood strategy

The purpose of this strategy is to pave the way for governments, non‑government sectors and communities to collectively support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children to grow up healthy, engaged with education, connected to family and community, and strong in culture.

Sector strengthening plan: early childhood care and development

This plan takes a particular focus on building the community-controlled sectors that address: early childhood education and care and child protection and family support services.

Starting better: a guarantee for young children and families

This report proposes a Guarantee for Young Children and Families – a new pillar of Australia’s social deal. The guarantee is based on evidence of what has the greatest impact and what will work best for Australian children and families. It combines universal services to...
Research Summary

What is the relationship between childhood maltreatment and early educational outcomes?

This summary outlines key findings from the NSW Child Development Study looking at the relationship between maltreatment of children before entry to school and educational outcomes in primary school.

The national children’s mental health and wellbeing strategy

This strategy document uses four focus areas to outline the requirements for an effective system of care for children, and seeks to create a new, shared understanding of the roles of families, communities, services, and educators in promoting and supporting child mental health and wellbeing.

What works to improve young children’s social, emotional and behavioural wellbeing?

This rapid evidence review identifies national and international prevention and early intervention programs that are effective at improving the social, emotional and behavioural health of at-risk children under the age of five.
Briefing paper

From consumer to partner: rethinking the parent/practitioner relationship

Early childhood provides a critical opportunity for early intervention and prevention, but barriers to accessing services prevent children and families – often those with the greatest need – from gaining their benefit. This policy brief focuses on the nature and importance of partnerships between parents...

Proposed national early language and literacy strategy

Developed by the National Early Language and Literacy Coalition, this proposed strategy sets out the scale of the issue, describes what is happening on the ground in different communities, and puts forward a framework for action.
Working paper

A strong start for every Indigenous child

This paper has been developed to assist policy-makers, education and Indigenous leaders, as well as education practitioners, to better support Indigenous children’s early learning and well-being.