The right support at the right time can be the difference between a country child thriving or falling behind.
Every Australian child has the right to access quality health, education and developmental services. Where you live should not be a barrier to access services or a cause for disadvantage. But the reality is that kids living in rural and remote communities are more likely to start school developmentally vulnerable compared to kids growing up in the city.
‘Developmentally vulnerable’ means a child is in the lowest 10 per cent in at least one of five developmental domains: social, emotional, physical, cognitive and language.
This vulnerability is compounded in rural and remote areas by limited access to services and less chance of early intervention.
Country children need our support
The Australian early development census (AEDC) is a population-based measure of how children in Australia have developed by the time they start their first year of full-time school.
The 2018 AEDC figures show that:
- One in five kids in rural and remote areas are developmentally vulnerable in two or more domains, compared to one in ten kids in metropolitan areas
- Children living in rural and remote areas of Australia are twice as likely to start school developmentally vulnerable than city kids
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are twice as likely as non-Indigenous children to be developmentally vulnerable.
Giving voice to the needs of country kids
The Invisible Children
The vulnerability gap between urban and rural children is growing. This Report details the complexity and challenges facing country children and highlights a way forward.
Stories of the Invisible Children
Learn what it is like to be a country child with a developmental vulnerability, and the experiences of the teachers and communities supporting them.
After the Disaster – Recovery for Australia’s Children
More needs to be done to protect children and young people against long-term negative impacts of natural disasters.