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EDI Newsletter Summer 2013 Edition
Welcome to the second issue of the EDI On The Go!..., the Newsletter showcasing EDI projects in Canada and across the world.  Starting with this issue, we will be including short profiles of Canadian and International EDI sites.  We are delighted to have British Columbia and Australia as our inaugural features. It is only fitting to profile these sites first as BC was the first province outside Ontario to use the EDI and Australia was the very first site to implement the EDI outside Canada -  the EDI was piloted, then rolled out to the whole  Perth North Metropolitan Health Region, in West Australia in 2003. 
 
The body of peer-reviewed articles on EDI research from outside Canada is growing.  You will find references to several 2013 papers at the end of this Newsletter. At the same time, we are gathering evidence on the pathways from EDI data to action. The Offord Centre for Child Studies, in collaboration with HELP and the pan-Canadian EDI Network has produced a report entitled EDI – From Results to Action (link at the end of the Newsletter).  You will also find a recently updated map of EDI implementations worldwide in this issue.
 
Representatives from EDI research groups at the Offord Centre for Child Studies and HELP in Canada, and the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research met in April 2013 at the biannual meeting of the Society for Research on Child Development in Seattle, Washington, to present a joint symposium on Exploring change in children’s developmental outcomes over time: community, state/province, and international stability.  We dedicated our symposium to Dr. Clyde Hertzman, who died suddenly in February.  In this Newsletter, we also pay homage to his incredible contributions to the international science of child development.
 

The EDI in British Columbia, Canada –
A catalyst for social change.
 
The Human Early Learning Partnership (HELP) at UBC has been administering the EDI in B.C. for twelve years.  Through the financial support of the provincial government, we are now completing our fifth wave of provincial data collection allowing us to have a robust understanding of child development challenges and trends locally, regionally and provincially. The EDI is deeply embedded in all levels of the child development system in B.C. Early childhood coalitions and school representatives use EDI data to inform their work with children and young families by identifying strengths and needs within their communities. A number of provincial ministries, including the Ministries of Children and Family Development, Education and Health, use EDI maps and data to plan early childhood investment, policy and programs. Since the inception of the EDI, B.C. has implemented universal full day kindergarten and Strong Start Family Resource Centres in most schools. As well, researchers at HELP use EDI data to address important questions about the genetic, biological, and social determinants of children's health and development.
 
It is in the communities throughout B.C., however, that we really see the EDI at work. Through the efforts of over 140 intersectoral coalitions, there have been more than 700 initiatives put in place to improve the state of children’s development in BC. These initiatives initiatives range from identifying placement for new libraries; early literacy programs; neighborhood drop in centres; parenting education programs; new vision and hearing screening programs; allocating resources to target vulnerable children; increasing capacity in arts outreach programs; expanding recreational facilities; community gardens; mobilizing communities around early learning events and much more. Here are just a couple of stories to share.
 
DAWSON CREEK
In Dawson Creek, early child development stakeholders Gloria Cleve and Heidy Kux-Kardos used EDI data and local resources to educate the municipal government on the need to create an indoor play space for young children to use throughout the long northern B.C. winters.
 
NORTH VANCOUVER
In North Vancouver, EDI results allowed community early child development stakeholders, like Fran Jones, to show that even in B.C.’s most affluent neighbourhoods there were a number of vulnerable children. Because of this recognition, the North Shore was able to provide increased services and supports for vulnerable and hard to reach families with young children. The WHEELS Outreach Project is one of several successful such projects.
 
For more information on the EDI in B.C. go to the HELP website at earlylearning.ubc.ca



Australian Early Development Index:
2012 Data Collection Released
 

On 4 April 2013, the Hon Peter Garrett (Australian Government Minister for School Education, Early Childhood and Youth) released the results of the second Australian national implementation of the Australian Early Development Index (AEDI) collected in 2012. The AEDI is an adaptation of the Canadian Early Development Instrument developed by the Offord Centre.

The 2012 AEDI results show that the majority of Australian children are doing better in 2012 than in 2009 when the first national implementation was conducted. There has been a significant improvement in the proportion of children vulnerable on one or more AEDI domains of 1.6 percentage points.

The 2012 AEDI results - being the second snapshot of early childhood outcomes in Australia - mean it is far too early to draw firm conclusions about emerging trends.  However, the 2012 results are very encouraging and it appears Australia has made a really good start with its early childhood reform agenda.  The Australian Government’s record investment of more than $25 billion over the next four years into early childhood education and care has the potential to drive even further improvements.

Interestingly, the 2012 AEDI data shows the greatest level of national improvement has been recorded in the ‘language and cognitive skills’ domain (or key early development areas) with 8.9 per cent of children reported as developmentally vulnerable in 2009 compared to 6.8 per cent in 2012. That is, there were more than 225,000 Australian children starting school in 2012 who had acquired the basic skills needed for literacy and numeracy in later life.

There has also been a significant positive change nationally in the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children developmentally vulnerable on one or more domains of 4.2 percentage points between 2009 and 2012. Not only did Australia see a significant decrease in vulnerability for Indigenous children in one or more of the five AEDI domains, but it also recorded a positive change in the proportion of Indigenous children developmentally vulnerable on each of the five AEDI developmental domains, with the largest improvement in the ‘language and cognitive skills’ domain of 6.2 percentage points.

The 2012 AEDI data collection took place from 1 May 2012 to 17 August 2012 and collected data on more than 290,000 Australian children covering almost 7,500 schools and 16,500 teachers covering all states and territories across Australia. This is an excellent result and means that approximately 96 per cent of communities now have access to their 2012 results provided through a national report, summary report, online community maps and community profiles. More information is available at www.aedi.org.au.

The Australian Government has made a commitment to collect this important data every three years with the next collection occurring in 2015. The AEDI has already proved to be a powerful tool for use by key policy makers, communities and other organisations in program delivery and policy development. The AEDI has been endorsed by the Council of Australian Governments as a national progress measure of early childhood development and the AEDI is being used in a number of indicator frameworks at the national, state and territory and local government levels.

There are already a large number of initiatives and projects being delivered across Australia, some of which have been specifically designed to address developmental vulnerabilities identified in the AEDI results. There are also a number of data linkage activities underway which may help identify whether the AEDI has any predictive value in terms of children’s later progress at school and other longitudinal studies.

The Australian Government and State and Territory Governments are working in partnership with The Royal Children’s Hospital Centre for Community Child Health in Melbourne, the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research, Perth, to deliver the 2012 AEDI. The Social Research Centre, Melbourne manages the 2012 data.

 
For more information please visit the AEDI website at www.aedi.org.au.
In memory of Clyde Hertzman

It is with great sadness that we feel the need to include an in memoriam article in our second edition of the “EDI On the Go” Newsletter.  Clyde Hertzman died on February 8th, 2013.
 
All of you reading this newsletter would have met Clyde Hertzman either in person or through his many contributions to child development.  While his loss feels less raw now, several months later, it also feels more real.  As we go about our usual activities, we realize that he is no longer there to consult or ask, to commiserate or laugh with. 
 
Clyde has been an integral part of the distinguished group that advised, in the early days, on the directions the Early Development Instrument should take.  At that time, it was called the “School Readiness to Learn Tool” – rather a mouthful.  It was Clyde, in a meeting at the Founders’ Network office in Toronto, who came up with the idea of calling it the Early Development Instrument – A Population-Based Measure for Communities.  We never looked back.  This may have been a small contribution at the time, but in its importance it exemplifies the magnitude of Clyde’s presence in the EDI movement and progress.   His commitment to the cause – gathering the best possible information about all children in order to improve their outcomes – was unsurpassed. His energy seemed boundless and some lesser humans among us often felt tired simply by listening to Clyde recounting what he has done, where he has been, or what he was going to do.  He had an analytical, incisive mind, which cut across layers of confusion to recognize what mattered and what was the most important. He also had a huge heart – the one that failed him in the end – and it was a privilege to be among those he counted as friends and colleagues, even though these were legion.
 
Canada should consider herself lucky – we have had no less but three larger than life leaders in the clinical and epidemiological science of child development: Dan Offord, Fraser Mustard, Clyde Hertzman.  We shared them with the world. 
 
Clyde Hertzman touched many, many people, in Canada and around the world.  As we struggle with emotions to keep up with the work he either initiated, or was instrumental in, or because he simply used to cheer us on, we know that there is no alternative – we have to keep going. And that is a promise.

EDI to Action Survey Report
 
In the fall of 2011, a survey entitled EDI – From Results to Action was sent electronically to all provincial EDI contacts across Canada who were involved in the implementation and use of the EDI. The full report on this survey is now available on our website at:

http://www.offordcentre.com/readiness/pubs/EDI_to_to_Action_Survey_Report.pdf
Latest EDI publications
 
Please check out the latest publications from those working with the EDI around the world!

Brinkman, S.A., Gialamas, A., Rahman, A., Mittinty, M., Gregory, T., Zubrick, S.R., Carr, V., Silburn, S., Goldfeld, S., Janus, M., Hertzman, C., Lynch, J.W. (2012).  Jurisdictional, socio-economic, demographic and gender inequality in child health and development across Australia.  BMJ Open. 2012;2:e001075. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2012-001075

Brinkman, S.A, Gregory, T., Harris, J., Hart, B., Blackmore, S., & Janus, M. (2013) Associations between the early development instrument at age 5 and reading and numeracy skills at ages 8, 10 and 12: a prospective linked data study. Child Indicators Research. Online first DOI  10.1007/s12187-013-9189-3.

Curtin, M., Madden, J., Staines, A., Perry, I. (2013). Determinants of vulnerability in early childhood development in Ireland: a cross-sectional study. BMJ Open,3 e002387. doi:10.1136/ bmjopen-2012-002387
 
Hagquist, C., & Hellström, L. (2013). The psychometric properties of the early development instrument: a rasch analysis based on Swedish pilot data. Social Indicators Research. Doi: 10.1007/s11205-013-0344-5

For more information about the EDI, please see visit website:
http://www.offordcentre.com/readiness/