Record Linkage in the NSW-CDS

NSW-CDS Record Linkage 1

The first record linkage (Record Linkage 1) for the NSW Child Development Study was intended to provide information about the early childhood years (from birth to 5 years) for children who were assessed using the Australian Early Development Census as they started school (aged 5-6 years). The record linkage brought together information about physical and mental health, education, child protection and criminal justice system contacts, for the children and their parents, in a way that protects the anonymity of all people involved.

This linkage was conducted during 2013-2014, and statistical analysis and dissemination activities are currently underway.

Record Linkage 1 was funded by an Australian Research Council Linkage Grant, for which the NSW Ministry of Health, NSW Department of Education, and NSW Department of Family and Community Services are contributing partners, an Australian Rotary Mental Health Research Grant, and an Australian Institute of Criminology Research Grant.


NSW-CDS Record Linkage 2

The second record linkage (Record Linkage 2) for the NSW Child Development Study is due for completion in 2016, and is intended to provide information about the same cohort of children from birth to 11 years of age. This second linkage will be supplemented by the inclusion of additional data collections including the Middle Childhood Survey, alongside other information about physical health, mental health and education, child protection and criminal justice system contacts, for the children and their parents. Again, no identifying information is available to researchers so that information remains anonymous, and the privacy of all participants is protected. 

Record Linkage 2 is funded by an Australian Research Council Linkage Grant, for which the NSW Ministry of Health, NSW Department of Education, and NSW Department of Family and Community Services are contributing partners, a Project grant from the National Health and Medical Research Council, as well as an Australian Institute of Criminology Research Grant.


NSW-CDS Record Linkage 3

A third record linkage (Record Linkage 3) for the NSW Child Development Study is proposed for completion in early 2018, to provide information about the same cohort of children from birth to 14 years of age. In addition to expanding the longitudinal data by two years, this linkage will comprise the same record sets as have been brought together in previous record linkages, with the addition of Commonwealth data sets (e.g., Medicare records for GP visits) to increase the level information obtained about physical and mental health contacts. For example, many common ailments will not be included in hospital contact data that has been used in previous record linkages to ascertain more serious health and medical conditions.

Funding opportunities to conduct this phase of the study are currently being pursued. Ethics and departmental approvals for Record Linkage 3 are in preparation.