Using the Australian Early Development Census to change children’s chances

Date 01 October 2015

Presenter: Associate Professor Sharon Goldfeld

The importance of early life for children’s later child health and development has become increasingly clear. Australia’s population statistics show substantial inequalities for children and young people across a range of health and developmental outcomes, even in young childhood.


The Australian Early Development Census (AEDC) is a population measure of early childhood development, completed by teachers during children’s first year of school. Data are collected every 3 years across Australia, and provide a unique and detailed insight into the health and development of children at school entry. The results reveal marked inequalities across sub population groups and geographic areas. These inequalities track forward into adulthood, with the challenge remaining as to how best to translate this knowledge into effective policies and practice likely to have the greatest impact. 

Based on the AEDC results since 2009, this presentation will outline the unequal impact of social change on children’s health and development and discuss a range of complex and challenging policy response strategies: the health/education interface, the importance of targeted and universal strategies, and the more equitable distribution of service and program delivery.

Associate Professor Sharon Goldfeld is a paediatrician and public health physician at the Royal Children’s Hospital’s Centre for Community Child Health (CCCH) and Co-Group leader of Child Health Policy, Equity and Translation at the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute. She has a decade of experience in state government as a senior policymaker in health and education including Principal Medical Advisor in the Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development. Her research focus of developing data and indicators, investigating community based systems change and implementing equity based community based intervention trials, has aligned with her substantial policy experience focussing on projects that keep child health on the policy and political agenda in Victoria and nationally.

Download the presentation » (PDF file, 6.4 MB)


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