What happens in our first three years profoundly influences the rest of our lives.
Children who encounter extreme adversity in those early years – including prolonged exposure to physical or sexual abuse and living in a highly stressful family environment – are likely to suffer major impairments to their development that can lead to lower educational achievement and workforce participation, involvement in risky behaviours including criminal activity, and lifelong health problems.
These things are expensive, both to society and to governments.
It has long been established overseas through trials of programs implemented in the United States in the 1960s that targeted interventions that direct high-quality care and education to highly disadvantaged children can have big impacts.
- ^ implemented in the United States in the 1960s (abc.fpg.unc.edu)
- ^ Melbourne Institute (fbe.unimelb.edu.au)
- ^ Children’s Protection Society (www.kidsfirstaustralia.org.au)
- ^ EYEP (fbe.unimelb.edu.au)
- ^ the results of an evaluation (fbe.unimelb.edu.au)
- ^ two or more defined risk factors (fbe.unimelb.edu.au)
- ^ childhood diseases (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
Authors: Jeff Borland, Professor of Economics, University of Melbourne