1 Jun 2015

Urbis is pleased to note the online publication of its comprehensive evaluation of the National Partnership Agreement on Indigenous Early Childhood Development (NPA IECD).

In 2008, COAG agreed to a series of ambitious targets to address the disadvantage faced by Indigenous Australians in life expectancy, child mortality, education and employment. The NPA IECD involved significant investment by the Australian and state and territory governments in support of closing the gap on maternal child health, early years’ and young people’s sexual health outcomes.

The report was a collaboration between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal evaluators, led by Claire Grealy, Julian Thomas and Susan Rudland working closely with Karen Milward, Yorta Yorta woman, and Kerry Reed Gilbert, Wiradjuri woman.

Evaluation report cover

Please click here to download a copy of the report

 

The team consulted widely, drew together multiple data sources and engaged with providers and communities in all states and territories.

The following conclusions were reached:

  • Some gains are evident in the proportion of pregnant Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women with an antenatal contact in the first trimester of pregnancy, with a rise from 60 to 66 per cent between 2007 and 2010 across the three jurisdictions for whom data were available
  • Over the period 2000 to 2010, in NSW, Victoria, Queensland, WA, SA and the NT combined, there was a significant decline in the proportion of low birth weight babies born to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mothers (from 12 per cent to 11 per cent of live-born singleton babies), and a significant narrowing of the gap between low birth weight babies born to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous mothers
  • Over the period 2001 to 2011, in NSW, Queensland, WA, SA and the NT combined, there was a 55 per cent decline in the infant mortality rate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander infants
  • Hospitalisation rates for Indigenous 0–4 year olds significantly increased (by 12.5 per cent) between 2004–05 and 2010–11 in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory combined. It should be noted that changes in hospitalisation rates may be reflective of a number of different factors, including changes in access to, and demand for, hospital treatment. Improvements in the recording of Indigenous status in hospital records may also affect hospitalisation rates reported for Indigenous children over time
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children continue to be underrepresented in preschool enrolments and attendances.

 

The NPA IECD evaluation reflects the team’s capacity to engage in diverse data sets and sources, engage with communities to capture reflections and learning, and prepare evidence based advice to government to guide future activity.

Urbis made 11 recommendations for consideration by governments, including:

  • Key investment in longer term health, development and wellbeing outcomes for Torres Strait Islanders and other Australians
  • Cross-portfolio and localised investments in early childhood and family services, maternal and child health, and sexual and reproductive health programs
  • Continued investment into monitoring and data collection reporting frameworks
  • Effective workforce investment and prioritisation of professional development and training of Aboriginal staff, and
  • Encouraging and funding innovative early childhood development, maternal and child health, and sexual and reproductive health practices and programs.

The NPA IECD evaluation reflects the team’s capacity to engage in diverse data sets and sources, engage with communities to capture reflections and learning, and prepare evidence based advice to government to guide future activity.

 

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