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Niklas, Frank ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3777-7388; Tayler, Collette and Gilley, Tim (2017): Vulnerable children in Australia: Multiple risk factor analyses to predict cognitive abilities and problem behaviour. In: Australian Journal of Education, Vol. 61, No. 2: pp. 105-123

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A critical challenge within early childhood policy is to increase the capacity of early childhood education and care systems to intervene effectively and sufficiently early to improve the learning and development outcomes of marginalised children. An initial step is to reliably identify young children at risk of poorer learning outcomes. This article presents findings from the Australian E4Kids study, a longitudinal study of 2654 children recruited at age 3–4 years within a random sample of early childhood programs. Sixteen different child-, family- and community-level risk factors which had been identified previously as potentially having an adverse impact on child outcomes were analysed in relation to evidence of the children’s cognitive abilities and problem behaviour. Fifteen risk factors were linked directly to either lower cognitive abilities, problem behaviour or both and poorer outcomes were found in children experiencing more risk factors. Risk groupings may be used to identify vulnerable children early and to provide evidence to support the development of appropriate service responses.

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