Annual Report 2007‚Äď2008

Minister's foreword

Foreword from the Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs

All Australian children deserve the best start in life.

They need to grow up in strong, resilient families and supportive communities.

To make sure we deliver targeted services to support families and communities, we need to take a strong, evidence-based approach to policy development.

Good social policy depends on solid research.

Research like that being undertaken in partnership by the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, the Australian Institute of Family Studies and child development experts, which is producing the comprehensive data we need.

Growing Up in Australia: The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children has been underway for four years.

Over that time, information has been collected on a range of issues including parenting, family relationships, childhood education, childcare and health.

This is vital to identify where early intervention programs and prevention strategies can be most effective.

The study also provides the data that researchers need to examine developmental pathways and to understand why children have different intellectual, social and health outcomes.

It helps us get a clearer picture of the different life experiences of Australian children. It also guides our thinking on what we need to do to give children the best opportunities to succeed.

And it demonstrates how partnerships between policy makers and researchers can yield data of high quality and significant policy relevance.

Of course, none of this research would be possible without the co-operation of all the children and their families who continue to participate in the study. I want to thank them, along with the research team, for their involvement in this important project.

Jenny Macklin
Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs

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