In this section
The Kids in Communities Study (KiCS) is working to understand how different factors in our communities—physical environment, social environment, socio-economic factors, access to services, and governance—influence the way that children develop. We know that the early childhood years have a profound and lasting impact on children’s health and developmental outcomes. We also know that there are different factors in our communities that play a major role in the healthy development of children, particularly the resources that families can access. We don’t know exactly which community factors impact child development, and how we can modify those factors to help all children to have the best start in life. The what and the how is what KiCS wants to answer.
KiCS was developed from the Australian Early Development Census (AEDC) findings. Formerly known as the Australian Early Development Index (AEDI), the AEDC is a population level measure of early childhood development that was conducted across Australia in 2009, 2012 and 2015. The AEDC measures outcomes across five domains of early child development (physical, social, emotional, language and cognitive, and communication and general knowledge) at a small area (suburb or small town) level. The first AEDC study in 2009 showed us that there were children who lived in areas of relative socio-economic disadvantage, but had better developmental outcomes than would have been predicted. The opposite was also true. There were children in relatively advantaged communities who did not have developmental outcomes that were as good as would be expected. This told us that good early childhood development was more complex than just how socio-economically advantaged your community is.This finding led a group of researchers to partner with other researchers, federal and state governments, and non-government organisations to learn more about what how communities influence child development. This was the start of KiCS. After completing a successful pilot study conducted in two local communities in Victoria in 2010, the KiCS study has expanded to 25 communities in five states and territories: VIC, NSW, QLD, SA, and ACT. The KiCS research team includes academic experts from six universities, and policymakers and child development professionals from 10 government and non-government partner organisations.
Ethics approval was granted by the Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC) #30016.
Other collaborating organisations: