The Aboriginal Families Study is a partnership between the Healthy Mothers Healthy Families group and the Aboriginal Health Council of South Australia Ltd in collaboration with the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute and the University of Adelaide.
The project focuses on areas of health regarded as important by the study’s Aboriginal Advisory Group. These include:
- Maternal physical and mental health
- Use of cannabis, cigarettes, alcohol and other drugs
- Social health issues, such as housing problems and family violence
- Child ear health, speech and language development, and cognitive development
- School engagement
- Aboriginal ways of parenting and bringing up children.
In addition, the project has a strong focus on factors likely to promote resilience, healing and wellbeing. We are inviting families to tell us about:
- Family and community connections
- Connections to culture and language
- Engagement with culturally responsive services
- Other factors that enable mothers and children to stay strong and resilient.
In Stage 2 of the study, measures will include both: questionnaires (to be completed by mothers and carers) and activity based assessments of child cognitive, speech and language development. In addition, we are seeking consent to access data from health and administrative data sets such as Medicare, NAPLAN and the Australian Early Development Census. These data will be linked with information gathered in the study to provide a rich picture of the lives of Aboriginal families with children under 7.
The longitudinal nature of the study will enable us to answer questions about women’s and children’s health that will be helpful for informing health policy and services. In particular, the data will enable us to report on:
- how the health of mothers and children changes over time
- factors that increase the chances of poor child health and development.
- factors that promote health, wellbeing and resilience.