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The Australian Declaration for Young Children

Why do we need an Australian Declaration for Young Children?

Early childhood development and learning is a broad-ranging and complex field. It is therefore critical that we are all clear about what is known and can be trusted as good quality evidence to underpin policy and practice.

In 2017 more than 100 leading Australian early childhood researchers, policymakers and practitioners were invited to contribute to the development of a Declaration (of evidence) for Young Children. A specialised research technique called the Delphi Process was used by CoLab to engage these stakeholders in a consensus process to collate and consolidate key research findings and recommended actions. The outcome of this process is The Australian Declaration for Young Children which outlines the robust evidence expert researchers have repeatedly shown about early childhood, and the actions needed to improve children’s outcomes in the early years.

The Declaration pledges a long term commitment to significantly improve young children’s development and learning by jointly advancing the agenda for early childhood policy and practice, particularly for families experiencing adversity.

Of the 100 invited, 78 stakeholders contributed to the content of the Declaration. CoLab was able to establish broad agreement and expert validation on the key understandings and critical actions.

Organisations including ARACY,  Child Australia, the Commissioner for Children and Young People WA, Playgroup WA, the Mitchell Institute, the Murdoch Children's Research InstituteSpeech Pathology AustraliaValuing Children Initiative and WACOSS have pledged their support for the Declaration.

The Declaration will inform a report that CoLab is preparing that will describe the current gaps in early childhood research and what policy and practice areas need support. This will guide CoLab in its future work.


Read the Declaration and Evidence for Action in full.

  • David Ansell – CoLab Co-Director
  • Stephen Bartos – Australian Research Alliance for Children & Youth (ARACY) Chief Executive Officer
  • Fiona Beermier – Ngala Chief Executive Officer
  • Doreen Blyth – Consultant, Education and Care Leadership
  • Jennifer Brodie - Swan Alliance Executive Officer
  • Dr Rosemary Cahill ­– Department of Education Western Australia, Director, Office of Early Childhood Development and Learning
  • Hayley Cann - City of Wanneroo Early Childhood Officer
  • Professor Jonathan Carapetis ­– Telethon Kids Institute Director, Head, Group A Streptococcal and Rheumatic Heart Disease; Co-Director of RhEACH
  • Daniel Christensen – LCC Research Fellow
  • Associate Professor Hayley Christian – School of Population and Global Health & Telethon Kids Institute, The University of Western Australia
  • Professor Donna Cross – CoLab Director; Head, Health Promotion and Education Research Telethon Kids Institute
  • Jane Doyle – Senior Clinical Psychologist
  • Learne Durrington ­– WA Primary Health Alliance Chief Executive Officer
  • Professor Paul Flatau – Director Centre for Social Impact The University of Western Australia
  • Nicola Forrest –Minderoo Foundation Chief Executive Officer
  • Louise Giolitto – WA Council of Social Service Chief Executive Officer
  • Carmen Gregg – Investing In Our Youth CEO
  • Annette Harwood – KEYS (Kwinana Early Years Services) CEO
  • Garry Hewitt – Department of Education Western Australia, Executive Director, Office of Early Childhood Development and Learning
  • Tina Holtom - Child Australia Chief Executive Officer
  • Nicole Hunt – Connecting Community for Kids Community Facilitator
  • Lisa Laschon – Communities for Children, Mirrabooka Project manager
  • David Lawrence – Principal Research Fellow, Graduate School of Education, The University of Western Australia
  • Jane Leung - Project Coordinator National Raphael Services, St John of God Health Care
  • Jorgen Mackie – The Smith Family Community Development Manager WA
  • Hon Simone McGurk MLA – Western Australian Minister for Child Protection; Women’s Interests; Prevention of Family and Domestic Violence; Community Services
  • Francis Mitrou – Program Head, Mental Health and Youth, Telethon Kids
  • Gail Mulcair –Speech Pathology Australia Chief Executive Officer
  • National Early Language and Literacy Coalition
  • Dr Grace Oakley – Graduate School of Education, The University of Western Australia
  • Colin Pettit – Commissioner for Children and Young People WA
  • Helen Pickett-Gale - Local Government Community Development Officer
  • Linda Savage – Valuing Children Initiative Convenor
  • Dr Natalie Strobel – Research Fellow, CRE in Improving Health Services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, The University of Western Australia
  • Professor Cate Taylor - Senior Principal Research Fellow/Co-Head Human Capability Telethon Kids Institute
  • Ashleigh Thornton – Department of Paediatric Rehabilitation Research Manager
  • Jenna Thornton – AAIMHI WA Branch President
  • Kate Torii – Mitchell Institute Policy Analyst
  • Georgie Wynne – Fogarty EDvance Program Development Lead
  • David Zarb - Playgroup WA CEO