What is the ACWP about?

The Australian Child Wellbeing Project is a new child-centred study in which children’s perspectives are being used to design and conduct Australia’s first major nationally representative and internationally comparable survey of wellbeing among children aged 8-14 years.

The wellbeing of children in their middle years is important for their current quality of life, and for their future development. Wellbeing is broadly understood to be made up of a child's material and environmental circumstances, her/his relationships, and how she/he thinks about herself/himself in the context of those circumstances and relationships.

Little is known about Australian children’s wellbeing in their middle years, or how wellbeing varies among different groups of children. If policies to promote children’s wellbeing are to be implemented, then policymakers need to know how children in general, and disadvantaged children in particular, understand and rate their own wellbeing.

This study sets out to investigate child wellbeing in the middle years from children’s own perspectives. Particular attention is given to understanding the perspectives of six groups of children with specific experiences and needs that may have a bearing on their wellbeing: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, culturally and linguistically diverse children, children with disability, children in regional and remote Australia, economically disadvantaged children, and children in out-of-home care.

The first phase of the four-year study involved in-depth group work and interviews with 8-14 year olds. This included group activities and follow up interviews with small groups of children in each of the six groups identified above, and with children who did not fall into any of the above groups. This work was mostly conducted across several states between November 2012 and July 2013. A report on findings from this phase of the research will be posted to the website in September 2013.

In subsequent phases, children's perspectives will inform the design and implementation of a large nationally representative survey, to be conducted by the Australian Council for Educational Research. This will involve students in years 4, 6 and 8, drawn from a sample of over 300 primary and secondary schools in every State and Territory. Further in-depth interviews will then provide deeper insight on survey responses.

The survey will provide important information for policy makers, service providers, schools and researchers about child wellbeing in Australia and provide information that contributes to the design of effective services for children’s wellbeing and development.


Overview: The Australian Child Wellbeing Project
Gerry Redmond, Jen Skattebol and Peter Saunders, June 2013