New report outlines ACT child wellbeing and ECEC sector attendance
A comprehensive whole-of-government report highlighting the progress of children and young people in the Australian Capital Territory against key indicators, including early childhood education and care (ECEC) attendance, has been released. The biennial report includes data and trend information critical to informing ACT Government services and initiatives.
A Picture of Children and Young People in the ACT 2018 (A Picture) provides an overview of national and local indicators relating to the health, wellbeing, learning and development of children and young people between the ages of 0–25 years in the ACT.
ACT Minister for Children, Youth and Families Rachel Stephen said “It is critical to monitor and analyse comparative data at regular intervals, so that we know how our children and young people are faring over time.”
Together, with other major national, state and territory reports including the Australian Early Development Census, Report on Government Services, Mission Australia Youth Survey and ACT School Census, the ACT report aims to:
- collectively inform families, educators, policy makers and the broader community on evolving needs of children and young people
- highlight the prevalent issues affecting children and young people
- emphasise and identify synergies for achieving key outcome areas for improvement.
Report results relevant to the early childhood sector
The report notes that in August 2017, a total of 7,064 children (including 235 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children) aged four or five years were enrolled in ECEC services in the year before full-time schooling, representing 124 per cent of the estimated preschool population. The proportion of children enrolled equates to greater than 100 per cent due to the population of children being an estimate, and due to enrolments of children living in New South Wales.
The number of children enrolled in ECEC services in 2017 has increased since 2016, and significantly increased since 2013 (5,765 children enrolled).
Other recorded report outcomes relevant to the ECEC sector include:
- More children fully immunised, with a significant rise for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, up from 89.1 per cent in 2016 to 96.8 per cent in 2017;
- From 2014 to 2017, there has been a small increase overall in the proportion of children whose parents report their child is experiencing raised social and emotional difficulties, with data indicating the ACT kindergarten boys at relative risk of social and emotional difficulties increasing;
- The number of children in out of home care has increased 7.3 per cent between 2016 and 2017, with results demonstrating an upward trend since 2010;
- And a variety of other health and wellbeing factors relating to children and young people, and results relating to families and children accessing family support services.
The ACT Government said that while A Picture highlights some great successes and improvements, it recognises that some children and young people in its community remain at risk of disadvantage and continue to face significant challenges, pledging to continue to work to address these and respond to the ever changing needs of children and young people in the ACT.
“A Picture supports an evidence-informed approach to providing services for children and young people and underpins our commitment to ensure every child and young person in the ACT is able to meet their full potential,” said an ACT Government spokesperson.
To view A Picture of Children and Young People in the ACT 2018, visit www.communityservices.act.gov.au