Published: October 7, 2021


Taylor, C. L., Christensen, D., Jose, K., & Zubrick, S. R. (2021). Universal child health and early education service use from birth through Kindergarten and developmental vulnerability in the Preparatory Year (age 5 years) in Tasmania, Australia. Australian Journal of Social Issues. https://doi.org/10.1002/ajs4.186

Authors:

Catherine L. Taylor, Daniel Christensen, Kim Jose, and Stephen R. Zubrick.


Abstract:

This study investigated patterns of universal health and education service use from birth through Kindergarten (age 4 years) and estimated associations between cumulative risk and service use patterns, and between service use patterns and children’s developmental vulnerability in the Preparatory Year (age 5 years). The study used population-wide linkage of health and education administrative data records for 5168 children who had a 2018 AEDC instrument collected in Tasmania and were born in Tasmania (2011–2013). Latent class analysis (LCA) identified three service use patterns: Regular (72.2 per cent of children; reference group), Low (15.6 per cent of children) and High service use (12.2 per cent of children). The patterns of Regular, Low and High service use were consistent across health and education services used at different ages and stages of child development. Membership of the Low and High service use groups was associated with higher cumulative risk and increased odds of developmental vulnerability, relative to the Regular service use group. This population-wide view of universal service use can be used by the health and education sectors to explore ways in which their specialist expertise, resources and referral processes can be further integrated within and across services to meet the developmental needs of children and families.