Kids In Communities Study (KiCS)

Project Details

The Kids in Communities Study (KiCS) is working to understand how different factors in our communities—physical environment, social environment, socio-economic factors, access to services, and governance—influence the way that children develop.

We know that the early childhood years have a profound and lasting impact on children’s health and developmental outcomes. We also know that there are different factors in our communities that play a major role in the healthy development of children, particularly the resources that families can access. We don’t know exactly which community factors impact child development, and how we can modify those factors to help all children to have the best start in life. The what and the how is what KiCS wants to answer.

The KiCS study will use a variety of research methods during its three phases, running from 2014 to 2018.

In Phase 1, we collected different types of data about child development and socio-economic status to find communities in VIC, NSW, QLD, SA, and the ACT where children are developing unexpectedly well or poorly when compared with the socio-economic status of their suburb. We will then compare these communities to other communities where children’s outcomes are in line with what the predicted outcomes would be based on their socio-economic status. This analysis will be based on data from the Australian Early Development Index Census (AEDC), which measures children’s outcomes in five areas of early childhood development, and is completed during a child’s first year of formal schooling.

In Phase 2, we worked with our KiCS partner investigators in each state and territory to collect data using community surveys, focus groups with parents and service providers, interviews with local stakeholders and experts, and mapping of neighbourhoods.

In Phase 3, we will analyse all the data that has been collected and use it to develop a detailed manual for communities and local governments to use in measuring and improving child development outcomes. We will also share the findings of the study in academic publications and research snapshots, as well as policy roundtables with our partner investigators.

Research Publications

Information sheet: About the KiCS Study can be found here.

Final report of the KiCS pilot study (2010) can be found here.

  • Goldfeld, S., G. Woolcock, I. Katz, R. Tanton, S. Brinkman, E. O’Connor, T. Mathews and B. Giles-Corti (2015). "Neighbourhood Effects Influencing Early Childhood Development: Conceptual Model and Trial Measurement Methodologies from the Kids in Communities Study." Social Indicators Research 120(1): 197-212.
  • Tanton, R., M. Dare, S. Brinkman, B.-G. Corti, I. Katz, G. Woolcock and S. Goldfeld (2015). "Identifying off-diagonal communities using the Australian Early Development Census results." Social Indicators Research: 1-16.
  • Goldfeld, S., K. Villanueva, R. Tanton, I. Katz, S. Brinkman, G. Woolcock and B. Giles-Corti (2017). "Kids in Communities Study (KiCS) study protocol: a cross-sectional mixed-methods approach to measuring community-level factors influencing early child development in Australia." BMJ Open 7(3).
  • Goldfeld, S. and K. Villanueva (2017). "The Kids in Communities Study: what is it about where you live that makes a difference to children's development?" Early Childhood Matters: Moving towards scale: advancing early childhood development (126): 100.

Research Group

Community Child Health Group

Faculty Research Themes

Child Health

School Research Themes

Child Health in Medicine

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact the research group leader.

Department / Centre


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