One of Australia’s greatest challenges is the elimination of the gap between the developmental outcomes of Indigenous and non-Indigenous children in the early years of life. Not only is eliminating inequality a fundamental moral responsibility, child development is a determinant of health, wellbeing and learning skills across the balance of the life-course and therefore critical for our nation’s progress.

A large body of research in developmental neuroscience and child development shows that ensuring all children have an equal chance to thrive and grow pays dividends through ‘a lifetime of productivity in the workplace and responsible citizenship in the community’ (NSCDC 2007). The ‘science of early childhood development’ or the social value return of investing in early childhood development has brought worldwide interest to this broad policy and program space (Knudsen et al. 2006).