The Paul Ramsay Foundation today launches the new season of the Life’s Lottery podcast, Life’s Lottery: Backing Kids, examining how Australian society values children and the ways government spending and policy reflect this as an investment for their future.

With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to affect children’s lives and wellbeing – and a federal budget and election looming – this is a critical moment for Australians to discuss how we could better back our kids and improve their odds in life’s lottery.

Just as the pandemic drastically changed the experience of childhood for Australian kids, the recovery phase can inspire new ways of supporting young Australians facing a future of intersecting natural and health crises.

Hosted by the Foundation’s chief executive Professor Glyn Davis AC and Chief Strategy Officer Dr Jeni Whalan, Life’s Lottery: Backing Kids features conversations with leading experts and advocates, young Australians and frontline organisations, looking at the research and programs that can help provide the jumping off point for future policy development in Australia.

“At least 774,000 children in Australia are living in poverty today – that’s more than 1 in 6 kids,” says Professor Davis. “After the success of the original podcast Life’s Lottery, we wanted to extend our discussion on new ways to break cycles of disadvantage – specifically in childhood, where there is enormous opportunity to make an impact with repercussions for future education, employment and health.

“Birth is a throw of the dice as poverty, much like prosperity, is handed down from generation to generation. This podcast is about investigating how our society values children, while generating discussion about long-term strategies for supporting kids against the odds.

”Released today, Episode One explores the role of Government and the importance of involving children in the policy-making process. The episode features National Children’s Commissioner Anne Hollonds and reflects on the unprecedented social spending on childcare, mental health, and income support during the pandemic – challenging the prevailing view that government does not have the financial means to directly lift children out of poverty and disadvantage.

“A child who experiences disadvantage will likely struggle to break free in adulthood,” Dr Whalan said. “Looking for ways to improve the lives of Australian children, their families and communities is crucial to breaking the cycles of disadvantage in this country.

”Over the course of six episodes, the podcast investigates some big and important questions: where do children and their diverse and distinct rights, needs and interests, sit in our public and political debate? Is this the right approach – or are we undervaluing and underinvesting in children? And what is our long-term plan to improve life for young Australians?

Backing Kids will also feature interviews with Director of the Centre for Community Child Health Prof. Sharon Goldfeld, Amanda Robbins and Dr Alicia Mollaun of Equity Economics, Thrive by Five CEO Jay Weatherill, and former Save the Children UK CEO Kevin Watkins.

The Life’s Lottery series has been produced by Impact Studios at UTS as part of a grant relationship with the Foundation.

Listen on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts or Spotify.