Improving the early life outcomes of Indigenous children

Implementing early childhood development at the local level


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Content type
Practice guide

December 2013


Promoting healthy Indigenous early childhood development is complex. It requires multiple responses and multi-stakeholder interaction to promote physical, social-emotional and language-cognitive domains of development and to tackle the longstanding 'upstream' family and community challenges that contribute to disparities in early life outcomes.

Localised early childhood development aims to address this complexity and achieve a community-wide shift in early life outcomes. Locally based early childhood development initiatives comprise multiple programs and services that are responsive to local context, culture, priorities, needs and strengths and build on the core expertise and capacity of different organisations.

This issues paper reviews the research on why localised early childhood development is an effective means to close the gap in Indigenous early childhood development. It outlines what works, what doesn't, and what further research is needed.

This report was produced for the Closing the Gap Clearinghouse. The Clearinghouse was a Council of Australian Governments’ initiative jointly funded by all Australian Governments. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare in collaboration with the Australian Institute of Family Studies was funded from 2009 to 2014 to deliver the Clearinghouse.

Improving the early life outcomes of Indigenous children: implementing early childhood development at the local level (PDF 751 KB)