Too many children starting school at risk is now a national emergency

Professor Frank Oberklaid presented at the Caring for Country Kids conference in Alice Springs this week and has called for a rethink on the recent childcare productivity commission findings.

“The recent productivity commission report around childcare focussed on getting women back into the workforce and I don’t think that’s the main productivity agenda.

“The real productivity agenda is making sure that young children fulfill their potential, are literate and can hold down the sort of jobs that we need in this country to maintain international competitiveness.”

In an interview with the ABC, Professor Oberklaid also said Australia needed a vision of prevention.

“It requires a real vision for what’s possible. The research is screaming out at us that prevention is better than cure.”

Professor Oberklaid’s comments follow the recent release of the 2015 Australian Early Development Census results, revealing one in five children are starting school developmentally vulnerable in one or more domains.

Higher rates of vulnerability were observed for children living in rural and remote areas. Children living in very remote areas in Australia in 2015 were twice as likely as those living in major cities to be developmentally vulnerable on one or more domains, at 47 per cent and 21 per cent respectively. The data suggests that where children live can have an impact on their development.

Listen to the full ABC interview

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