The Royal Commission was established 16 October 2022.

Terms of reference

The Royal Commission inquired into:

  1. The extent to which South Australian families are supported in the first 1000 days of a child’s life, focused on opportunities to further leverage early childhood education and care to enable equitable and improved outcomes for South Australian children.
  2. How universal quality preschool programs for three and four year olds can be delivered in South Australia, including addressing considerations of accessibility, affordability, quality and how to achieve universality for both age cohorts. Consideration of universal three-year old preschool should be undertaken with a view to achieving this commencing in 2026.
  3. How all families can have access to out of school hours care at both preschool and primary school ages, including considerations of accessibility in all parts of the state, affordability and quality in public and private settings.

In conducting its inquiry, the Royal Commission was tasked to hear the voice of parents and caregivers from diverse backgrounds, experts in early childhood development, service providers in the first 1000 days, leaders of early childhood education and care services, relevant unions, and providers of Out of School Hours Care.

How was this Royal Commission different?

In recent years in South Australia, Royal Commissions have taken place to inquire into a problem or look at when something has gone wrong.

This wasn't the case for the Royal Commission into Early Childhood Education and Care - instead this was an opportunity to propose new solutions.

This Royal Commission did not look back at the problems of the past but heard expert evidence and the experiences and views of families to provide advice to the government on delivering a high-quality early years system that is fit for the future.

Were there public hearings?

The Commission held hearings to help define key issues through evidence delivered by experts. This included a hearing that  focused on the workforce issues critical to delivering early childhood education and care.

Taking its lead from more recent Royal Commissions with a forward-focused policy mandate (for example, into Victoria’s Mental Health System) the Royal Commission focused on gathering evidence in a way that supports open and constructive dialogue with people working in and on the system (for example, via facilitated roundtables and forums).

The Royal Commission may use the powers of the Royal Commissions Act 1917 to issue a document called a summons to collect relevant evidence to support the Commission's inquiries.