This brief describes how findings from population-based research data, such as Australia's Early Development Census (AEDC), can fill gaps in our understanding about vulnerable populations and identify community strengths to help support children's development.
Measuring Up: Equity Lessons from Australia’s Early Childhood Development Census
Australia is the only country in the world that regularly collects comprehensive information about the holistic development of its students entering their first year of school. The data gathered by the Australian Early Development Census (AEDC) guides national and state policy. It also sparks community discussions about how to best support the early development of all students. Findings from population-based research, such as the information obtained through the AEDC, can help fill gaps in understanding about vulnerable populations. Over the past 12 years, AEDC data have shown progress in reaching the most vulnerable children. These types of measurements are useful for the United States because they can inform current discussions of equity in access to early childhood services.
With support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, six U.S.-based early childhood leaders traveled to Australia in 2018 to attend the AEDC National Conference in Melbourne. The group met with government officials, community-based organizations, and parents to draw lessons from Australia’s experience using the AEDC that can apply in the United States.