Kids in Communities (KiCS)

The origins of KiCS

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 the 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.

How will the KiCS study be conducted? 

The KiCS study will use a variety of research methods during its three phases, running from 2014 to 2016. In Phase 1, we collected different types of data about child development and socio-economic status to find communities in VIC, NSW, QLD, SA, and the ACT where children are developing unexpectedly well or poorly when compared with the socio-economic status of their suburb. We will then compare these communities 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 will be based on data from the Australian Early Development Index Census (AEDC), which measures children’s outcomes in five areas of early childhood development, and is completed during a child’s first year of formal schooling. 

In Phase 2, we worked with our KiCS partner investigators in each state and territory to collect data using community surveys, focus groups with parents and service providers, interviews with local stakeholders and experts, 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.