The systems mapping process generated a range of complex, fascinating and thought-provoking findings – both about how things ‘are’ (the current state) and how they ‘could be’ (the future state).

We are pleased to be able to share the following three publications on the systems mapping work: the Systems Mapping Report (and Summary Report) and Rapid Review Report. We encourage you to explore and interrogate this work – including the causal loop maps that capture the current and desired future state of Australia’s early years system – and to consider its implications for the work of your own organisations, networks and collaborations. We welcome your feedback and reflections over the coming months as we engage widely to further explore possible leverage points for transformational change.

Note: Reports are best viewed in Adobe Acrobat.

Current State Map

The systems mapping process highlighted the inherent complexity of the many systems that influence early childhood development outcomes in Australia today. While there are many strengths in the current system(s), the current state map illustrates seven broad challenges (‘deep systemic forces’) that are maintaining unacceptably high levels of disadvantage in the early years. These relate to:

  • the frameworks underpinning the way our service systems (eg. health, NDIS) currently operate
  • the way we understand and value care, which is central to the health, wellbeing and development of young children
  • the powerful interests that benefit from maintaining the status quo of our systems
  • the failure of our current systems to effectively prevent or respond to the pervasive impact of entrenched disadvantage and intergenerational trauma on young children and their families.

Future State Map

Through the systems mapping process we have also heard the field’s aspirations for a distinctly different and better future early years system capable of supporting significantly more children and families to thrive. In particular, the field has called for an early years system that prioritises the lifelong wellbeing of all children in Australia and the strengthening of families, parents, carers and local communities so that every child has ‘the village’ they need around them. This is underpinned by accountable, high quality and proactive systems with government holding responsibility for the whole.


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