Jurisdictional change over time in the AEDC

Dr Sally Brinkman1

1Director, Fraser Mustard Centre, Associate Professor, Telethon Kids Institute, University of Western Australia, Associate Professor, University of Adelaide.

Australia is the only developed country to consistently undertake a developmental census of its children nationwide. The repeated collection of the Australian Early Development Census (AEDC) has provided an unprecedented opportunity to examine the prevalence of developmental vulnerability across Australia’s states and territories, the socio-economic distribution of developmental vulnerability across jurisdictions, and how these distributions might have changed over time. This study compared differences in inequality across jurisdictions and changes over time within jurisdictions. The results of this study found reductions in developmental vulnerability over time in Western Australia (26% to 20%) and Queensland (30% to 25%), with an increase observed in the Australian Capital Territory (27% to 30%). Analysis also indicated an increase in socio- economic inequalities over time in the Northern Territory (+12%), the Australian Capital Territory (+6%) and Tasmania (+4%). Sensitivity analysis found these effects to be robust with an alternative measure of socio-economic position. There is considerable variation in the prevalence and socio-economic inequalities in developmental vulnerability across Australia’s jurisdictions. The presentation will discuss potential changes in policies and practices across jurisdictions that may help to shed light on the results of this study.

Sally is a social epidemiologist with the majority of her research focusing on societies’ impact on child development and life course trajectories. Sally is the Director of the Fraser Mustard Centre, an innovative initiative between the Telethon Kids Institute and the South Australia Department for Education aimed to improve research translation. Sally is well known for spearheading the use of the Early Development Instrument (EDI) in Australia, being the first to pilot the instrument outside of Canada. Sally continues to work across the country to help facilitate the use of the AEDC data in both research and strategic support roles, working with communities, service providers and governments. Sally brings locally, nationally and internationally recognised epidemiological skills particularly in relation to population monitoring of child development and education.  She has a commitment to practical, pragmatic and translatable research.