Conceptualisation of social and emotional wellbeing for children and young people, and policy implications

13 Jul 2010

This report asks what is meant by social and emotional wellbeing for children and young people and identifies possible national indicators based on these constructs.

Why is there so little nationally and internationally comparable data on the social and emotional wellbeing of children and young people? 

How can Australia begin to benchmark the wellbeing of its own children and young people without such basic information?

With the support of the Fred P. Archer Trust, which is managed by the Trust Company, and in partnership with the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) and UNICEF Australia, ARACY commissioned two research papers to address what is meant by social and emotional wellbeing for children (those aged 0–12 years) and young people (those aged 13-25 years) and to identify possible key national measures / indicators based on these constructs. This work also considers the policy and practice implications of analysing and reporting on such data.

The Social Policy Research Centre (UNSW) was selected to undertake this research and chose to combine the two parts of this project into this extensive research report.

In mid-June AIHW and ARACY jointly hosted a workshop in Canberra. This workshop was one of a series of data development forums that AIHW has been conducting as part of its Headline Indicators for children’s health, development and wellbeing project. As a follow-up to the June workshop, ARACY hosted a 90 minute roundtable discussion on the issues concerning social and emotional wellbeing indicators for children and young people at the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) Conference in Melbourne, on 9th July.

The workshop also provided an opportunity to reflect on progress made on developing our understanding of this complex topic since a roundtable held at the International Society for Child Indicators (ISCI) Conference in November 2009.

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