Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research - Research Publications

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    Changing the Life Trajectories of Australia's Most Vulnerable Children - Report No. 2 The first twelve months in the Early Years Education Program: An initial assessment of the impact on children and their primary caregivers
    Tseng, Y ; Jordan, B ; Borland, J ; Coombs, N ; Cotter, K ; Hill, A ; Kennedy, A (Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, 2018)
    This report presents initial findings on the impact on children and their primary caregivers after twelve months of enrollment in the Early Years Education Program (EYEP). EYEP is a model of early years care and education targeted at the particular needs of children who are exposed to significant family stress and social disadvantage. Children who participate in EYEP are offered three years of care and education (50 weeks per year, five hours per day each week). Key features of EYEP are high staff/child ratios, qualified and experienced staff, an infant mental health consultant in the team and a rigorously developed curriculum. A relationship-based pedagogy is used to ensure that children are ready for learning. The ultimate objective of EYEP is to ensure that at-risk and vulnerable children realise their full potential and arrive at school developmentally and educationally equal to their peers. The impact of EYEP is being evaluated through a Randomised Controlled Trial (RCT) as part of the Early Years Education Research Program (EYERP); otherwise referred to in this report as the ‘EYEP trial’. Children for whom consent was given to participate in the EYEP trial were randomly assigned into either an intervention group who were enrolled in EYEP or to a control group. Estimates of the impact of EYEP on children and their primary caregivers are derived from comparisons of outcomes between the intervention group and the control group. Measurement of outcomes described in this report took place twelve months after entry to the trial.
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    Improving lifetime trajectories for vulnerable young children and families living with significant stress and social disadvantage: the early years education program randomised controlled trial
    Jordan, B ; Tseng, Y-P ; Coombs, N ; Kennedy, A ; Borland, J (BMC, 2014-09-17)
    BACKGROUND: Children who experience neglect and abuse are likely to have impaired brain development and entrenched learning deficiencies. Early years interventions such as intensive education and care for these children are known to have the potential to increase their human capital. The Early Years Education Program (EYEP) is a new program offered by the Children's Protection Society (CPS) in Melbourne, Australia. EYEP is targeted at the needs of children who have been or are at risk of being abused or neglected. It has the dual focus of seeking to address the consequences of abuse and neglect on children's brain development and redressing their learning deficiencies. Our objective is to determine whether EYEP can improve school readiness by conducting a randomised controlled trial (RCT) of its impacts. METHODS/DESIGN: The RCT is being conducted with 90 participants (45 intervention and 45 control). Eligible children must be aged under three years and assessed as having two or more risk factors as defined in the Department of Human Services Best Interest Case Practice Model. The intervention group participate for three years (or until school entry) in EYEP. The trial does not provide any early years education or care to the control group. Data are being collected on outcome measures for participants in EYEP and the control group at the baseline, at yearly intervals for three years, and six months after commencing the first year of school. Outcome measures encompass children's health and development, academic ability and emotional and behavioural regulation; and quality of parenting practices. The study will evaluate the impact of EYEP on these outcomes, and undertake a benefit-cost analysis of the program. DISCUSSION: Findings from the study have the potential to influence the quality of care and education for the large population of children in Australia who are at risk of abuse and neglect, as well as for children in mainstream childcare. The study will provide up-to-date evidence on the impact of an early years intervention relevant to an urban population in Australia; as well as (to our knowledge) being the first RCT of an early years education and care intervention in Australia. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ACTRN 12611000768998. Date 22nd July 2011.