Establishing a Child Development Fund in Australia: A review of international models
Despite the great achievements being made in relation to the Millennium Development Goals for child health and wellbeing, over 200 million children globally under five years of age are at risk of not attaining their developmental potential, including some Australian children. In 2018, it was estimated that 739,000 children (17.3% of all children under the age of 15) were living in poverty in Australia (Davidson et al., 2018). Physical and mental health, educational and occupational attainment, family wellbeing, and the capacity for mutually rewarding social relationships all have their roots in early childhood (Daelmans et al., 2015). Extensive research is available on the consequences of childhood deprivation, including the long-term economic and societal ramifications. Adverse experiences in childhood during the early years of development (prenatal to the age of five years) increases the risk of poor social, cognitive and health outcomes, including economic dependency, violence, crime, substance misuse and adult onset of non communicable diseases (Daelmans et al., 2015). Without early intervention, these deficits are compounded and become increasingly difficult to reverse beyond early childhood (Shonkoff and Phillips, 2000). While there are many approaches to improving child wellbeing, Child Development Funds (CDFs) are one vehicle used to identifying priority areas and allocating resources and support for children and families who may be compromised due to a range of vulnerabilities and risk factors. The Benevolent Society wishes to conduct an international review of CDFs to inform further research and policy development on the potential for establishing a CDF within Australia. To this end, they issued a tender for this work to be carried out and selected the Social Policy Research Centre.
SOURCE: Hazel Blunden, and Ilan Katz. “Establishing a Child Development Fund in Australia: A review of international models.” The Benevolent Society, SPRC, March 2019.
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