Growing Up in Australia
Newsletter No. 5, March 2004

Published by the Australian Institute of Family Studies, ISSN 1448-9147 (Online)

The Launch of Growing Up In Australia

Growing Up in Australia was officially launched by Senator the Hon. Kay Patterson, Minister for Family and Community Services, on Sunday 8 February. Over 100 people, including about 50 children, turned out to witness the event on the Rooftop Garden at the Melbourne Museum. The launch received wide media coverage, including segments on most television news programs across Australia, as well as follow up radio interviews and newspaper articles. (Children, balloons and a hot February day contributed to the colouful event - see the launch web page.)

At the launch, Sevi Anagnostopolous, one of the mothers involved in the first stage of the study, spoke about her family's involvement. She reflected positively on the experience:

"For me, this study is the first step towards making a difference nationally - it gives families the opportunity to have their personal experiences heard and to actively participate in shaping the future of child and family services. I, for one, have found it gratifying to be part of a long-term study that will be taken into consideration in the future when planning infrastructure and other family services."

Main Data Collection Commences

The launch of the study coincided with the commencement of the main data collection period. The sample selection process to recruit 10,000 families (5,000 with infants and 5,000 with 4 year old children) is currently underway. The Health Insurance Commission began the selection process in January, which occurs in four phases which correspond to the four fieldwork periods.

Letters of invitation to take part in the study were sent to families in January and March, and more will be mailed out in April and May. Selected families may opt out of the study by reply-paid mail-back or by phoning a 1800 number.

The main data collection period has started this month, with interviewing occurring over the four periods. While it is still early days, there has been a very good response from families so far. Fieldwork is due to conclude in September.

Interviewer Training

Interviewer training for the first wave of data collection is currently underway. During February and March, four-day training workshops are being conducted across Australia - in Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane and Sydney. A total of 150 interviewers and supervisors will attend the comprehensive residential training courses, which include practice interviews with 'real' families, as well as specialised sessions with psychologists, health professionals and others on particular aspects of the data collection.

Findings from the First Stage of the Study

Some interesting findings from the first stage of the study, which involved approximately 500 families in Victoria, Queensland and New South Wales, have emerged. For example:

Data from the main study are due to be released to researchers and policy makers in April 2005.

We are also in the midst of preparing Discussion Paper No.3, which will outline data management issues, including recommendations on file structure, data security, data access and data release, and confidentialising of data. The report is due to be published in April.

Staffing

The Project Operations Team is very sorry to say goodbye to Christine Millward who has been the Design Manager for Growing Up in Australia over the last two years. Chris is returning to her previous role at the Institute in the area of family and society research, which has always been a keen area of interest for her. Chris has made a fantastic contribution to the study in overseeing the design of all the questionnaires and research instruments. We will miss her but wish her luck in returning to her previous position.

Contact Us

If you want further information on the Growing Up in Australia study, please visit our website at www.aifs.gov.au/growingup or contact us.

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