In this section
Restacking the Odds (RSTO) is a project that aims to ensure that children and families can access a combination of high-quality, evidence-informed services where and when they need them.
Participation in quality early childhood services helps to set children on the right path to fulfill their potential. But when services are underused, unavailable or vary in quality, they can’t fully meet the needs of children or families.By focusing on the early years and supporting services to better meet the needs of children and families, RSTO helps to create the conditions that enable all children to thrive.
RSTO focuses on how to work differently to improve outcomes for children, families and communities. It aims to develop the skills and knowledge of RSTO partners for collecting, understanding and using evidence-based data to enable them to answer key questions including:
While there is no single simple solution to the complex challenges that some children and families experience, by focusing on service participation, quality and quantity, RSTO can amplify the impact of services and help optimise the benefits for children and families.
RSTO focuses on five services available in most communities. Together, they help to boost children’s health development and wellbeing:
Through RSTO, service providers and communities will be better placed to:
The RSTO project involves three main phases:
The project’s first phase completed research to develop and apply evidence-based lead indicators for the effective delivery of the five fundamental strategies. These indicators define how the strategies should be delivered across three dimensions: quality, quantity and participation.Working across seven communities these indicators were assembled to understand how the fundamental services were being delivered and accessed and whether the indicator data was of practical value.
This phase builds on the progress and lessons from the first phase. It aims to better understand the key barriers and enablers to collecting, analysing and using evidence-based data amongst service providers and communities and to co-design feasible prototype solutions to embed the routine use of the Restacking lead indicators in key settings. It will also focus on translation and advocacy to help build broad-based interest in the framework and its adoption.
This phase will focus on moving from prototypes in key settings to full scale adoption needed to accelerate system level change and make a real difference to children experiencing disadvantage across Australia. The work will expand into new communities across Australia and include a rigorous evaluation.
RSTO publications and resources aim to help you learn about the quality, quantity and participation indicators that are most impactful on children’s development and support you to put them into action. These indicators will help identify gaps and priorities in Australian communities.
The study aimed to help communities and policy makers better understand why families, particularly those experiencing disadvantage, are disengaged with certain services, as well as identify potential solutions or strategies to increase participation in early childhood education.
Access the research summary
RSTO investigated the barriers and facilitators to participating in community interventions. This study used a mixed methods research design with information collected via online surveys and interviews.
The communication summaries give an overview of system indicators. You can use the indicators to ‘test’ whether your organisation’s practices align with the sort of best practice likely to lead to better outcomes for children. You can also use the indicators to start developing a monitoring system for your organisation’s performance.
The technical reports supplement the communication summaries by way of providing a detailed account of the reviewed literature that informed the development of best practice indicators for antenatal care, early childhood education and care, and parenting programs. The technical reports for sustained nurse home visiting and the early years of school will be available in due course, in the meantime if you are interested please contact
Dr Carly Molloy
We welcome the opportunity to work with and learn from those who share our goal so together we can accelerate efforts to reduce inequity and maximise the opportunity of the early years. To partner with us, or find out more about RSTO, get in touch with Olivia Hilton, General Manager:
Restacking the Odds or RSTO is a collaboration between the
Murdoch Children’s Research Institute ,Bain & Company and
Social Ventures Australia . RSTO would like to acknowledge our project partners Paul Ramsay Foundation
and Steer Data
for their support of the project.
The Centre for Community Child Health is a department of The Royal Children’s Hospital and a research group of Murdoch Childrens Research Institute.