Saturday 19 September 2015


In the early years of a child's life the foundations are laid for health and well-being. Children are resilient, repair and renewal are of course possible, but don't we as a society want to give our children the best possible start in life? Furthermore, there are significant economic arguments for improved early years services. 

The Australian Research Alliance for Children and Young (ARACY) have recently published an extensive, evidenced based report Better Systems, Better Chances making this case. The report cites the work of James Heckman who is an economist and Nobel prize winning advocate for early intervention and support for families with young children. 

The ARACY report identifies antenatal health as particularly important saying "There is a strong and compelling case for the creation and systematization of a comprehensive and holistic universal child and family service platform". There is a need for increased support for parents, valuing their role as first teachers. 

Furthermore, submissions to the Victorian Royal Commission into Domestic Violence and the recently released Queensland report on DV have identified the early years services, maternal and child health, as areas for increased funding and improved services.

This quote from Parenting for a Peaceful World (2005) by Robin Grille, sets out a framework for health and prosperity:

"The ideal situation is one in which both parents long for the child from a position of emotional and material preparedness. Both parents are sufficiently emotionally fulfilled and ready to give and love, and are able to pleasurably meet the enormous demands of the helpless infant. Ideally, help is at hand from a supportive family and community – it takes a village – when the parents are otherwise occupied or feeling exhausted. It is essential that both parents feel loved and supported during pregnancy, by each other, their extended family and their community. The mother’s emotional well-being, her sense of being safe, supported and fulfilled, and her enjoyment of life’s pleasures, are all directly transmitted to the fetus."