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This study will identify the key drivers of positive early childhood health and development in Indigenous children. It will identify the key features of local communities and early childhood service provision that make tangible differences to early childhood well-being.
The study of a large population-based cohort of children in New South Wales will be used to apply novel methods for linking population data to inform national program planning and evaluation. It will be used to advance theory, research and practice to plant 'seed success' for Indigenous children.
The study population will be identified via linkage of Australian Early Development Census data to perinatal and birth registration data sets. It will include an almost complete population of children who started their first year of full-time school in New South Wales (NSW), Australia, in 2009 and 2012. Early childhood health and development trajectories for these children will be constructed via linkage to a range of administrative data sets relating to birth outcomes, congenital conditions, hospital admissions, emergency department presentations, receipt of ambulatory mental healthcare services, use of general practitioner services, contact with child protection and out-of-home care services, receipt of income assistance and fact of death. Using multilevel modelling techniques, the study will quantify the contributions of individual-level and area-level factors to variation in early childhood development outcomes in Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal children.
Additionally, the study will evaluate the impact of two government programmes that aim to address early childhood disadvantage, the NSW Aboriginal Maternal and Infant Health Service and the Brighter futures Program. These evaluations will use propensity score matching methods and multilevel modelling.
The study is run by the School of Medicine at the University of West Sydney and funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council.
Abstract adapted from University of West Sydney
School of Medicine
University of Western Sydney
Locked Bag 1797
Penrith NSW 2751
Ph: (02) 9852 5222