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Trial registered on ANZCTR

Registration number
Ethics application status
Date submitted
Date registered
Date last updated
Type of registration
Retrospectively registered

Titles & IDs
Public title
Early Years Education Research Project
Scientific title
Vulnerable children aged 0-3 years, case managed by child protection or family services will attend 25 hours/week of enhanced attachment focussed childcare for at least three years and be compared with vulnerable children aged 0-3 years case managed by child protection or family services receiving case management only.
Secondary ID [1] 259870 0
Universal Trial Number (UTN)
Trial acronym
Linked study record

Health condition
Health condition(s) or problem(s) studied:
Attachment Disorders 265458 0
Developmental Delay 265459 0
Infant and Child Mental Health problems 265460 0
Condition category
Condition code
Mental Health 265615 265615 0 0
Learning disabilities
Public Health 265926 265926 0 0
Other public health

Study type
Description of intervention(s) / exposure
Children who participate in Early Years Education Program (EYEP) will receive at least 25 hours over five days of high-quality educational childcare from (age of entry 0-3 years old) for 3 years. Distinctive features of the EYEP include: high staff:child ratio (1:3 for children under 3, and 1:6 for 3 years and older when those children reach 3 years of age and older during their participation in the program); therapeutic interventions of attachment-focused care giving and high quality responsive care practices combined with intentional teaching strategies including the Abecedarian Project learning games, regular meetings incorporating parents and family support/child protection workers and the Early Years Educators to identify, with parents, the goals and aims they would like to achieve.
Intervention code [1] 264292 0
Treatment: Other
Intervention code [2] 264513 0
Other interventions
Comparator / control treatment
Children in control group will continue to receive community based family services (usual care). As this is usual care it is not being delivered by the research program and there are no requirements or prohibitions in respect to what services families decide to use. Families are free to use child care services and early years education services as they usually would.
Control group

Primary outcome [1] 262399 0
Successful transition into primary school as measured by the Woodcock Johnson Literacy and Numeracy Scales; the Devereaux Early Childhood Assessment.
Timepoint [1] 262399 0
6 Months post entry to Prep year at Primary School.
Secondary outcome [1] 273701 0
Socio-emotional development, cognitive and language developmental outcomes assessed using standardised developmental assessments and parent and teacher questionnaires.
Timepoint [1] 273701 0
1, 2, and 3 years post randomisation
Secondary outcome [2] 273702 0
Attachment security in children's relationships with their primary care givers as assessed by the laboratory-based Strange Situation Procedure at baseline, then Story Stem Attachment Porcedure at subsequent timepoints.
Timepoint [2] 273702 0
1, 2, and 3 years post randomisation
Secondary outcome [3] 273703 0
More sustained participation in early childhood care and education; assessed using parent and teacher questionnaires.
Timepoint [3] 273703 0
1, 2, and 3 years post randomisation
Secondary outcome [4] 273704 0
Physical and mental health; mental health assessed by standardised assessments with child and parent questionnaires; physical health by parent questionaire and child health questionnaire.
Timepoint [4] 273704 0
1, 2, and 3 years post randomisation
Secondary outcome [5] 273705 0
Attuned parental caregiving assessed by standardised assessment of parent-child interaction.
Timepoint [5] 273705 0
1, 2, and 3 years post randomisation
Secondary outcome [6] 273706 0
Cost-benefit analysis of the EYEP using outcome data and data on service usage, educational attainment, etc.
Timepoint [6] 273706 0
4 years post randomisation

Key inclusion criteria
Children eligible for participation will be aged 0 to 3 years, and assessed as having two or more risk factors (as identified in the Department of Human Services (DHS) Best Interest Practice Guidelines and may include factors such as teenage parents, parental substance abuse, parental mental health difficulties, presence of family violence). Referrals of potential participants will be made by Family Support Caseworkers from clients of child welfare services accessed through Child FIRST (Family Information Referral Support Team) and Child Protection (within Department of Human Services). Referrals will be from within the north-east catchment in Melbourne where CPS is located. Referring agencies will advise the family of the child being referred that there are a limited number of places available in EYEP and that allocation is being done by randomization.
Minimum age
0 Years
Maximum age
3 Years
Both males and females
Can healthy volunteers participate?
Key exclusion criteria
Age of entry into the study is 0-3 years and the dose of intervention is 3 years; therefore some children will be ages 3-6 during their participation in the program.

Study design
Purpose of the study
Allocation to intervention
Randomised controlled trial
Procedure for enrolling a subject and allocating the treatment (allocation concealment procedures)
All families whose child is referred will be informed that there is a research and evaluation project being conducted to measure the efficacy of this new service. A field-based researcher will then contact family to organize a time to meet to explain the study using the Plain Language Statement and invite them to consent to be involved.

Once families consent to taking part in the research, the field-based researcher contacts the off-site researcher who has the sealed opaque envelopes and is then informed of the allocation of tthat child into an EYEP participation group (treatment) or regular family support group (control). Families are then informed which group they have been assigned to.
Methods used to generate the sequence in which subjects will be randomised (sequence generation)
STATA block randomisation program with variable block size.
Masking / blinding
Open (masking not used)
Who is / are masked / blinded?

Intervention assignment
Other design features
Not Applicable
Type of endpoint(s)
Statistical methods / analysis

Recruitment status
Active, not recruiting
Date of first participant enrolment
Date of last participant enrolment
Date of last data collection
Sample size
Accrual to date
Recruitment in Australia
Recruitment state(s)

Funding & Sponsors
Funding source category [1] 264747 0
Name [1] 264747 0
Children's Protections Society
Address [1] 264747 0
70 Altona St
West Heidelberg
Vic 3081
Country [1] 264747 0
Funding source category [2] 264749 0
Name [2] 264749 0
Ian Potter Foundation
Address [2] 264749 0
Level 3, 111 Collins Street

Melbourne VIC 3000
Country [2] 264749 0
Funding source category [3] 264750 0
Name [3] 264750 0
Myer Family Foundation
Address [3] 264750 0
17 Bennetts Lane
Melbourne, Victoria 3000
Country [3] 264750 0
Funding source category [4] 264751 0
Name [4] 264751 0
Ross Trust
Address [4] 264751 0
7th Floor, 24 Albert Road,
South Melbourne,
Victoria, 3205
Country [4] 264751 0
Funding source category [5] 264752 0
Name [5] 264752 0
Pratt Foundation
Address [5] 264752 0
Pratt Foundation
PO Box 19464
Southbank VIC 3006
Country [5] 264752 0
Funding source category [6] 264754 0
Government body
Name [6] 264754 0
Address [6] 264754 0
Ground Floor
15?31 Pelham St (PO Box 154)
Carlton South VIC 3053
Country [6] 264754 0
Primary sponsor type
Children's Protection Society
70 Altona St
West Heidelberg
Vic 3081
Secondary sponsor category [1] 263873 0
Name [1] 263873 0
University of Melbourne, Faculty of Economics
Address [1] 263873 0
Victoria 3010
Country [1] 263873 0
Secondary sponsor category [2] 264095 0
Name [2] 264095 0
University of Melbourne, Department of Paediatrics
Address [2] 264095 0
Royal Children's Hospital, Parkville
Victoria 3052
Country [2] 264095 0
Secondary sponsor category [3] 264096 0
Name [3] 264096 0
Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research
Address [3] 264096 0
Victoria 3010
Country [3] 264096 0
Other collaborator category [1] 251902 0
Name [1] 251902 0
Dr Anne Kennedy
Address [1] 251902 0
Charles Sturt University
399 Lonsdale Street Melbourne VIC 3000
Country [1] 251902 0

Ethics approval
Ethics application status
Ethics committee name [1] 266733 0
Behavioural and Social Sciences Human Ethics Sub-Committee University of Melbournee
Ethics committee address [1] 266733 0
University of Melbourne
Parkville 3010
Ethics committee country [1] 266733 0
Date submitted for ethics approval [1] 266733 0
Approval date [1] 266733 0
Ethics approval number [1] 266733 0

Brief summary
This project will undertake a randomised evaluation of an intervention for socially disadvantaged children, the Early Years Education Program (EYEP). EYEP is a new program being offered by the Children’s Protection Society (CPS). The project will examine effects of program participation on outcomes such as children’s cognitive, speech, language and emotional development, their health and school readiness, and on the parent-child relationship, and parents’ health and community participation.

The EYEP will provide enrolled children with at least 25 hours per week of enriched centre based child care and education for three years (or until school age). Children must be less than 3 years of age at the time of their initial enrolment into EYEP. Key features of this program are high staff:child ratios, qualified staff, therapeutic interventions with the child and family, integration with family support services, and a focus on building alliances with parents to sustain their child’s participation in child care.

Referrals of children eligible for enrolment in EYEP will be from clients of child welfare services including family casework services accessed through Child FIRST (Family Information Referral Support Team) and Child Protection. Children eligible for participation will be aged less than 3 years at referral, and assessed as having experienced at least two identified risk factors such as family violence, parental mental health problems, or parental drug and alcohol use.
The referred group of children who are eligible for participation in EYEP will be randomly assigned between a treatment group who will be enrolled in the EYEP and a control group who will receive ‘usual care’. The trial will involve data collection standardized questionnaires completed by parents and child care staff, interviews with parents, standardized assessments (for example, cognitive functioning), and observation of child behaviour in the early child care centre classroom and with parents. This will occur over a three year period – baseline and then at yearly intervals.
The importance of the project derives from its potential contribution to knowledge of how enhanced childcare might contribute to improved social and educational outcomes for children from highly disadvantaged backgrounds. Currently fewer than 16% of Child FIRST clients in the north eastern region attend child care or kindergarten despite early child care and education services being a potential resource for children at risk. To our knowledge this will be the first randomised trial of an early childhood intervention in Australia.
Trial website
Trial related presentations / publications
Borland, J., Clancy, T., Coombs, N., Cotter, K., Hill, A., Jordan, B., Kennedy, A. (2016 IN PRESS) Changing the Trajectory of Children’s Lives: Research and Advocacy. In J. Page & C. Tayler (Eds.) Teaching and Learning in the Early Years. Cambridge University Press.

Jordan, B., Tseng, Y., Coombs, N., Kennedy, A., & Borland, J (2014) Improving Life Trajectories for Vulnerable Young Children and Families Living with Significant Stress and Social Disadvantage: the early years education program randomised controlled trial. BMC Public Health 2014, 14:965.

Hill, A., Jordan, B., Coombs, N., Williams-Smith, J., Borland, J. (2011) Changing life trajectories: the early years education research project. Insights, Melbourne Business and Economics Vol. 10 pp 19-25

WA Early Childhood Education & Care Conference October 2013. Oral Paper Presentation Early Years Education Research Project; A Randomised Controlled Trial
Public notes

Principal investigator
Name 32398 0
A/Prof Brigid Jordan
Address 32398 0
University of Melbourne
Professor Jeff Borland, FBE Building (Former ICT), Parkville
Country 32398 0
Phone 32398 0
+61 408 899 271
Fax 32398 0
Email 32398 0
Contact person for public queries
Name 15645 0
Miss Nichola Coombs
Address 15645 0
70 Altona St
West Heidelberg
Victoria, 3081
Country 15645 0
Phone 15645 0
+61 0438395506
Fax 15645 0
+61 3 9459 8885
Email 15645 0
Contact person for scientific queries
Name 6573 0
A/Prof Associate Professor Brigid Jordan
Address 6573 0
University of Melbourne, Department of Paediatrics
Royal Children's Hospital, Parkville
Victoria 3052
Country 6573 0
Phone 6573 0
+61 9345 4144
Fax 6573 0
Email 6573 0

No information has been provided regarding IPD availability
Summary results
Have study results been published in a peer-reviewed journal?
Other publications
Have study results been made publicly available in another format?
Results – basic reporting
Results – plain English summary