In this section
Inequities emerging in early childhood often continue into
adulthood, contributing to unequal rates of low educational
attainment, poor mental and physical health and low
income. In some cases, this experience is part of a persistent
cycle of intergenerational disadvantage. Inequities
constitute a significant and ongoing social problem and
– along with the substantial economic costs – have major
implications for public policy.
To redress inequities, research tells us that efforts should be
delivered during early childhood (pregnancy to eight years
of age) to deliver the greatest benefits.
Restacking the Odds focuses on five key evidence-based interventions/platforms in early childhood: antenatal care; sustained nurse home visiting; early childhood education and care; parenting programs; and the early years of school. These five strategies are only a subset of the possible interventions, but we have selected them carefully. They are notably longitudinal (across early childhood), ecological (targeting child and parent), evidence-based, already available in almost all communities, and able to be targeted to benefit the ‘bottom 25 per cent’. Our premise is that by ‘stacking’ these fundamental interventions (i.e. ensuring they are all applied for a given individual) there will be a cumulative effect - amplifying the impact and sustaining the benefit. For more information see the project information sheet (PDF).
Restacking the Odds has released four of five evidence summaries of system indicators. These are designed to help identify gaps and priorities in the equitable delivery of these service platforms and strategies in Australian communities. The summaries outline the findings from restricted reviews of the global evidence on the best practices in antenatal care, sustained nurse home visiting, early childhood education and care, and parenting programs.
What will I learn from this document?
You will learn about the quality factors that are most impactful on children’s development, who should be participating at what dose and what infrastructure/workforce is required to deliver these services and programs effectively
How can I use this information in my own practice/service?
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.
As part of this project, we
are interested in the reasons why some children and families who could benefit
from key early childhood services are not accessing them, and what can be done
to increase children and families’ participation in these services.
We are currently
conducting a study investigating these barriers and facilitators of
participation, focusing on two key evidence-based community health/education
services: early childhood education and care (ECEC), and parenting programs.
hearing the perspectives of service providers as well as
parents/guardians/carers, we hope to deepen understanding of the issues and
identify potential solutions.
This study currently involves
a series of 10 minutes surveys followed by an optional interview.
If you would like to participate, click on the survey links most relevant to you:
Our intent is to use a combination of data-driven, evidence-based and expert informed approaches to develop measurable
best practice indicators of quality, quantity and participation
for each of the five strategies:
Quality: Are the strategies delivered effectively, relative to
evidence-based performance standards? A strategy with
‘quality’ is one for which there is robust evidence showing it
delivers the desired outcomes. A large number of research
studies have explored aspects of this question (i.e. “what
works?”). Therefore, we pay particular attention to the quality
dimension in our work and analysis.
Quantity: Are the strategies available locally in sufficient
quantity for the target population? ‘Quantity’ helps us
determine the quantum of effort and infrastructure needed to
deliver the strategy adequately for a given population.
Participation: Do the appropriately targeted children and
families participate at the right dosage levels? ‘Participation’
shows us what portion of the relevant groups are exposed
to the strategy at the level required to generate the desired
benefit (e.g. attending the required number of antenatal
visits during pregnancy). Participation levels can be calculated
whether the strategy is universal (for everyone), or targeted
(intended to benefit a certain part of the population).
These indicators will help identify gaps and priorities in
Australian communities. We will test preliminary indicators
in 10 communities over the next three years to determine
which are pragmatic to collect, resonate with communities,
and provide robust measures to stimulate community and
Restacking the Odds is a collaboration between
three organisations, each with relevant and distinctive skills and resources:
Murdoch Children's Research Institute (MCRI) is an independent medical research institute. MCRI’s research covers
the breadth of health and medical research from basic science through to clinical sciences and population health.
MCRI is committed to giving all children the opportunity to have a happy and fulfilled life.
Company is one of the world’s leading management consulting firms. Bain works with executives and
organisations to help them make better decisions, convert those decisions into actions, and deliver sustainable
Social Ventures Australia (SVA) supports partners across sectors to increase their social impact. SVA helps business,
government and philanthropists to be more effective funders and social purpose organisations to be more effective at
Our collective aspiration is to create a new approach to tackling intergenerational disadvantage in Australia that
delivers ground-breaking results.
Restacking the Odds is funded by philanthropic grants.
The Centre for Community Child Health is a department of The Royal Children’s Hospital and a research group of Murdoch Childrens Research Institute.