Kids in Communities (KiCS)

The KiCS project is being conducted by the The University of Melbourne, with the support of the Murdoch Children's Research Institute and non-government, government and Philanthropic organisations Australia-wide and overseas.

Study Aims

KiCS is about understanding the environments in which children grow and develop. Our aims are to understand more about how community-level factors, such as─ the physical environment, the social environment, socio-economic factors, access to services, and governance─ are influencing early child health and development. We are particularly looking for which factors are open to change, and that support and give children the best start to life. This knowledge will help to develop effective policies and early childhood intervention programs to improve the health and developmental outcomes of Australian kids in all communities. 

Mixed Methods

This study uses a mixed-methods approach conducted in three phases, running from 2014 to 2016.

In Phase 1, we used different types of data about child development and socio-economic status to find communities in VIC, NSW, QLD, SA, and ACT where children are developing unexpectedly well or poorly when compared with the socio-economic status of their suburb. These communities were compared to other communities where children’s outcomes are in line with what the predicted outcomes would be based on their socio-economic status. This analysis was developed using data from the Australian Early Development Index Census (AEDC), which measures children’s outcomes in five areas of early childhood development. 

Phase 2 involves working with our State and Territory Partners to collect data using a variety of methods, including community surveys, focus groups with parents and service providers, interviews with local stakeholders, and mapping of neighbourhoods.

In Phase 3, we will analyse all the data that has been collected and use it to develop a detailed manual for communities and local governments to use in measuring and improving child development outcomes. We will also share the findings of the study in academic publications and research snapshots, as well as policy roundtables with our partner investigators.

Community survey

Between March- June 2016, 25,000 people in 25 communities around Australia will been invited to participate in our Community Survey. We’ve invited residents to share what it’s like to live in these communities. We want to know what it is about communities that can give children the best start to life, and aim to use this information to help make communities even better for kids and families Australia-wide.

Fill out the KiCS Community Survey here
If you've received an invitation to fill out the KiCS Community Survey, you can access the survey by clicking this link:

Terms and conditions

If you’ve generously given your time to fill out our survey, and would like to be in the draw to win one of three Coles Vouchers – you can view the terms and conditions by PDF iconclicking here.