The Seeding Success Study

The Seeding Success data resource was established to conduct child health and health equity research in New South Wales (NSW), with a focus on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and scope to investigate multiple dimensions of disadvantage. Data are available for all children who were born in NSW, were enrolled in their first year of full-time school and had an Australian Early Development Census record in 2009 or 2012 (N=166,278). Health data on children's parents preceding the child's birth are also available (data on mothers for 163,590 children, data on fathers for 38,878 children). Probabilistic data linkage was used to combine individual and longitudinal administrative data with comprehensive population coverage from several sectors, including health, education and community services, enabling child health and development trajectories to be followed from birth to school age.

The use of multiple data sources linked at an individual level enables enhanced identification of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children who are usually under-enumerated in administrative data sources and frequently lost to follow-up in cohort or survey studies. The Seeding Success data resource is currently being analysed to investigate the relationships between child development outcomes and maternal age at childbirth, gestational age at birth, and school starting age (relative to NSW school enrolment policy), in Aboriginal and non- Aboriginal children.

The resource is also being used to examine emergency department visits and hospitalisations during early childhood, and child development at age 5 years, for children who came to the attention of child protection services in NSW during early childhood. The emerging research findings are relevant to those interested in using cross-sectoral population data to identify targeted intervention for children and families and to evaluate the impact of policies and programs on child outcomes.