Evelyn Lee - Improving children’s life chances

  • Presenting author: Evelyn Lee (Macquarie University)

  • Authors: Evelyn Lee

  • Session: B03B - Population [3] - Tuesday 14:00-15:30 - Marietta-Blau Hall

Childhood is a critical and sensitive period in which health and development during the early years can set up a foundation for lifelong well-being or contribute to a burden of poor physical and emotional health and developmental challenges. Indeed, numerous studies have shown much of the burden of disease, social adversity and productivity in adulthood have their origins in early years of life. Poverty and low socioeconomic status are important factors that can affect different areas of social life, including access to education, the distribution of income, health status, and health care use. Therefore, children who experienced low socio-economic status were at higher risk for lifelong accumulative disadvantage than their peers from higher socioeconomic background. Although targeted intervention in early years can produce positive and sustained effects on children’s learning and development, data on how and which features of the interventions might be applicable for children from significantly disadvantaged backgrounds are sparse. Many studies have used single time point for analysis which may not reflect the full benefits as effectiveness of the intervention may not be fully realised until many years into the future. A modelling framework was developed to assess the impact of childhood policy and strategies aimed at improving outcomes of socially disadvantaged children in Australia. Microsimulation is a powerful technique that has the ability to capture the heterogeneity of children and families from lower socio-economic background. This modelling approach will enable a more effective assessment of the short and long-term outcomes of current interventions on the children, families, government and society. The evidence from this current research study will address key evidence gap and strengthen the economic case for better policy and strategies to improve life outcomes for an important but neglected group of children in our community.