What factors contribute to positive early childhood health and development in Australian Aboriginal children? Protocol for a population-based cohort study using linked administrative data (The Seeding Success Study)
Introduction Australian Aboriginal children are more likely than non-Aboriginal children to have developmental vulnerability at school entry that tracks through to poorer literacy and numeracy outcomes and multiple social and health disadvantages in later life. Empirical evidence identifying the key drivers of positive early childhood development in Aboriginal children, and supportive features of local communities and early childhood service provision, are lacking. Methods and analysis 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, we 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, we 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. Ethics and dissemination Ethical approval has been obtained for this study. Dissemination mechanisms include engagement of stakeholders (including representatives from Aboriginal community controlled organisations, policy agencies, service providers) through a reference group, and writing of summary reports for policy and community audiences in parallel with scientific papers.
Institute for Positive Psychology and Education
Open Access Journal Article
Falster, K., Jorm, L., Eades, S., Lynch, J., Banks, E., Brownell, M., Craven, R., Einarsdottir, K. & Randall, D. (2015). What factors contribute to positive early childhood health and development in Australian Aboriginal children? Protocol for a population-based cohort study using linked administrative data (The Seeding Success Study). BMJ Open,5(5), 1-14. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2015-007898