Information about the NSW-CDS

What is the NSW Child Development Study?

The NSW Child Development Study (NSW-CDS) is a longitudinal study of child mental health and wellbeing in a cohort of children who were assessed using the Australian Early Development Census in 2009. The study aims to obtain good quality information about the development of this population cohort during early and middle childhood, in order to map patterns of resilience and vulnerability for later mental health, education, work, and other outcomes. The study is being led by researchers of the University of New South Wales, in collaboration with the Universities of Newcastle, Western Australia, Western Sydney, and Canterbury (NZ), and in partnership with Government organisations including the NSW Department of Education, NSW Ministry of Health, and the NSW Department of Family and Community Services (please see: Who We Are).

Why is the NSW Child Development Study important?

The NSW-CDS is intended to provide much needed information to improve the mental health and wellbeing of Australian children. Results from the study will be useful to schools, governments, and other organisations to help inform policy developments and influence community-based action to maximise resilience and build mental capacity during critical years of development. By assessing a population cohort, the study can provide unique information about the needs of all children; that is, it will be possible to identify targets for mental health promotion programs relevant to every child, as well as more targeted interventions for children who are vulnerable to particular adverse health or other (e.g., educational, social) outcomes. The primary aims of the study are therefore to provide resources that will support better mental health and wellbeing outcomes for all Australian children.

What are the components of the NSW Child Development Study?

There are two active components of the NSW-CDS:

How will the information be fed back to the community and policy makers?

The investigators and partner organisations of the NSW-CDS are committed to ensuring that the results of the study are communicated to relevant stakeholders and policy-makers, for maximum benefit to the community and future generations of Australians. Summaries of the results will be provided in a range of formats for the benefit of a diverse range of stakeholders who have an interest in the findings. This will include the production of scientific reports for publication, conference and community presentations, policy briefs, and website communications. Our close ties with Government partners also provide a mechanism for presenting findings directly to relevant government representatives and policy makers.  Please see the News & Data section of this website for publicly available reports, publications and policy briefs for the MCS and record linkage project.

Who is funding the research?

Support for the NSW-CDS is provided from multiple sources, each contributing to different parts of the research study. Commonwealth government funding has been provided by an Australian Research Council Linkage Project Grant, and a National Health and Medical Research Council Project Grant, with additional funding from an Australian Rotary Health Research Grant, an Australian Institute of Criminology Research Grant, and financial and/or in-kind support from the NSW Department of Education, Ministry of Health, and Department of Family and Community Services.