The Longitudinal Study of Indigenous Children (LSIC) or Footprints in Time is the first large-scale longitudinal survey in Australia to focus on the development of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (Indigenous) children.
The analysis presented in this paper is structured around six research questions using the LSIC:
- the size and composition of Indigenous children's families and households;
- how key measures of parental wellbeing are associated with family and household structure and how they change through time;
- the factors associated with different types of early childhood education attendance;
- how household characteristics vary across the sample and how they change through time;
- how self-reported measures of the quality of the community in which a person lives compare with other neighbourhood-level indicators; and
- how migration is related to self-reported measures of the community and other area-level characteristics.
The conclusions from the analysis in this paper are but a small subset of the insights that will emerge from analysis of the LSIC as more researchers make use of it and a greater number of waves and variables become available.
Ultimately, in addition to ethically conducted randomised controlled trials, longitudinal databases are arguably the most effective source of data for designing evidence-based policy. One of the greatest contributions of the LSIC (and this paper) may be to demonstrate the feasibility and desirability of having such evidence for all Indigenous Australians, not just children.