Indigenous families - Children and young people

The latest material added to the Australian Institute of Family Studies library database is displayed, up to a maximum of 30 items. Where available online, a link to the document is provided. Many items can be borrowed from the Institute's library via the Interlibrary loan system.

See more resources on Indigenous families in the AIFS library catalogue

Inter-generational transmission of Indigenous culture and children's wellbeing : evidence from Australia.

Dockery M
International Journal of Intercultural Relations v. 74 Jan 2020: 80-93
Research suggests that a strong sense of cultural identity has a positive impact on a range of outcomes for Indigenous people. This article investigates the cultural engagement of Indigenous parents also has a positive impact on their young children's development. Using data from the Longitudinal Study of Indigenous Children (LSIC), it compares child health, wellbeing, and cultural experiences and the parent's views on what aspects of their culture they'd like to pass on to their child at 4 years of age. Overall, the findings add to the evidence that a strong sense of cultural identity promotes wellbeing and positive socio-emotional adjustment. The articles concludes by calling for Indigenous cultures and Indigenous Australians' identification with those cultures to be supported and celebrated.

Informing social work practice with theory : reflections on the protection of Aboriginal children in remote communities of Australia.

Nietz H
British Journal of Social Work v. 49 no. 8 Dec 2019: 2021-2041
This article discusses the issue of 'projective identification' for social workers working in child protection practice with Aboriginal families in remote communities of Australia. It highlights the role of reflective practice for social work and the challenge of child protection work in remote Aboriginal communities.

Experiences and wellbeing of children and young people in out-of-home care: first five years (Wave 1-3).

Hopkins J, Watson J, Paxman M, Zhou A, Butler M and Burke S
Ashfield, NSW : NSW Dept. of Family and Community Services, 2019.
This report looks into the circumstances, placement and development of children and young people in out of home in New South Wales. It summarises statistics from the first 3 waves of the Pathways of Care Longitudinal Study over about five years. POCLS is the first large scale prospective longitudinal study on out-of-home care (OOHC) in Australia and will follow 4,126 children aged 0-17 years old entering OOHC in the state. This report highlights findings on children's experience prior to entering care, reported parental issues, children's permanency trajectories, exits and re-entries, final orders, duration of care and number of distinct placements, developmental trajectories, physical health, socio-emotional wellbeing, change in behaviour problems by age at entry into care, change in behaviour problems by Aboriginality, and cognitive development. Approximately three-quarters of the children had less than four placement changes, with the number of placement changes and also exits and re-entries into care increasing with age at entry to care.

The prevalence and protective factors for resilience in adolescent Aboriginal Australians living in urban areas : a cross-sectional study.

Young C, Craig J, Clapham K, Banks S and Williamson A
Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health v. 43 no. 1 Feb 2019: 8-14
This article investigates resilience among Aboriginal young people living in urban settings in New South Wales. It examines levels of resilience and the factors that are associated with resilience during adolescence, drawing on data from 119 young people participating in the Study of Environment on Aboriginal Resilience and Child Health (SEARCH). The participants were assessed on social and emotional wellbeing, behaviour problems, and known protective factors such as knowledge of Aboriginal culture, family educational support, and satisfaction with recreation. The study found that most of these young people displayed resilience, and that resilience was associated with family encouragement to attend school, having someone to talk to about problems, and regular exercise or sport. However, 16% of the participants were at high risk of clinically significant behavioural and emotional problems.

Story of our children and young people: Northern Territory 2019.

Menzies School of Health Research, Northern Territory
Casuarina, NT : Menzies School of Health Research, 2019.
This biennial report series will profile the wellbeing of children in the Northern Territory, from the antenatal period to young adulthood. It presents statistics against the 48 indicators of The Nest framework of the Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth (ARACY), in the six domains of: being loved and safe; having material basics; health; learning; participation; and having a positive sense of identity and culture. Statistics are presented as total figures for all children, with regional profiles, and case studies and stories of young people and services are also included. This inaugural report presents the latest statistics to 2019.

In our own words: systemic inquiry into the lived experience of children and young people in the Victorian out-of-home care system

Victoria. Commission for Children and Young People
Melbourne, Vic. : Commission for Children and Young People, 2019.
This report presents the findings and recommendations of an inquiry into children and young people's experiences of out of home care in Victoria. It draws on consultations with 204 children and young people from across Victoria who were currently living in or had recently left out-of-home care, regarding what it is like to live and grow up in the out-of-home care system, what works well and what needs to change, supplemented with administrative data. Topics include: trends in the out of home care system, case file and incident data, the distinct issues facing Aboriginal children in care, participation in key decisions, the extent to which out of home care feels like home, personal safety while in care, contact with parents and family, building and maintaining friendships, and what makes good carers. The findings highlight the strain within the child protection system, the over-representation of Aboriginal children and young people in care, poor compliance with processes to support connection to culture, safety concerns in residential care, and the lack of involvement of children and young people in case planning and significant decisions.

Role of maternal age at birth in child development among Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australian children in their first school year : a population-based cohort study.

Hanly M, Falster K, Banks E, Lynch J, Chambers G and Brownell M
Lancet Child & Adolescent Health 19 Nov 2019: Advance online publication
This article examines the association between maternal age and early childhood development outcomes in Indigenous and non-Indigenous children in New South Wales. It draws on data from the Australian Early Development Census (AEDC) linked to administrative health, birth registration, and public school datasets. 166,278 children were included in the study. The study finds that both Indigenous and non-Indigenous children born to young mothers are developmentally vulnerable. This risk decreased with increasing maternal age in both populations, although to a significantly lesser extent in the Indigenous population - Indigenous children still had an increased risk of developmental vulnerability across the maternal age range relative to their non-Indigenous peers. A substantial proportion of this developmental inequality was attributable to socioeconomic factors. This article is part of the Seeding Success study.

'Every client has a trauma history': teaching respectful relationships to marginalised youth - an evaluation of NAPCAN's Respectful Relationships Program Northern Territory 2017-2018

Dobia B
Penrith, NSW : Western Sydney University, 2019.
NAPCAN has developed a trauma-informed respectful relationships education program in the Northern Territory for young people experiencing complex challenges. The program aimed to address a gap in the field of prevention education: young people with complex challenges are at high risk of abuse and yet have least access to educational experiences that can teach them to navigate relationships more effectively. The program provides training and resources to practitioners in the youth services sector and is adapted from its Love Bites school-based program to provide a more flexible-approach in informal settings. This report describes the development of the program and the evaluation findings. Drawing on consultations with practitioners from a variety of services, the development project investigated the specific needs of the youth sector, evaluated the perceived effectiveness of the program, assessed the program against current research literature, and reviewed the extent to which the program met the social and cultural needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community organisations. The report concludes with recommendations for further development.

Family Connections and Contact Study: final report

University of Sydney. Institute of Open Adoption Studies
Sydney, N.S.W. : Institute of Open Adoption Studies, University of Sydney, 2019.
Under previous out of home care policy, child welfare case workers would help manage children's contact arrangements with their birth families in New South Wales. However, guardianship and open adoption are now prioritised over long-term foster care, and there is now an expectation that carers manage these contact arrangements without any agency support. This report investigates the benefits and challenges of contact for carers, children, and birth parents, and what supports are needed to help carers and birth parents overcome difficulties and have constructive and collaborative relationships. It presents findings from interviews with 12 birth parents, 19 children and young people, and 26 carers, including legal guardians, kinship carers, adoptive parents, and foster carers. It also considers the views of Aboriginal children and how well the transition from agency-supervised to carer-facilitated contact is progressing. The report concludes with the implications for case work.

Children safe, family together: a model and implementation guide for Aboriginal family and kin care services in the Northern Territory

Tangentyere Council (Alice Springs, N.T.), Northern Territory. Territory Families
Darwin, N.T. : Territory Families, Northern Territory Government, 2019
This document presents a model to support Aboriginal organisations in the Northern Territory to identify, recruit and support Aboriginal kinship and foster carers so Aboriginal children can stay connected to family, culture and community. The model focuses on providing safe, stable and best possible placements for Aboriginal children in those instances where removal is a necessity and reunification, despite best efforts, has not yet been achievable. It is part of a broader strategy by the Northern Territory Government to transform out of home care for Aboriginal children, and is aimed at government-funded family and kin care services. The document details the development and rationale of the model, sets out its elements and phases, and explains how it addresses the key issues of the current approach to out of home care, which were identified through consultations with stakeholders and a review of the evidence. This review was published separately but is also included as an appendix. Guidelines on implementation are also included.

Findings from the 2017 Speak Out Against Racism (SOAR) student and staff surveys

Priest N, Chong S, Truong M, Sharif M, Dunn K, Paradies Y, Nelson J, Alam O, Ward A and Kavanagh A
Canberra, ACT : ANU Centre for Social Research & Methods, 2019.
This report investigates the extent of racism and racist bullying against children and young people - at school and in the community. It presents findings from a survey of 4,664 primary and secondary students from New South Wales and Victoria, as well as 202 of their teachers, on racism, racial discrimination, bullying, gender discrimination, religious discrimination, bystander responses, health and wellbeing, socioemotional development, sleep, the school climate, and school connectedness. Though the students reported a positive school racial climate and positive sentiments towards engaging with students from other backgrounds, one-third of the students experienced racial discrimination from their peers - including students from Anglo-Celtic backgrounds, albeit at lesser rates than those from Indigenous and overseas backgrounds. Nearly one-third of the students also experienced racial discrimination from wider society and many - including nearly 20% of students from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds - experienced racial discrimination from their teachers. The teachers themselves also reported being treated unfairly by students because of their race, ethnicity, culture or language. This survey constitutes part 1 of The Speak Out Against Racism (SOAR) project; part 2 will involve trialling a school-based bystander intervention program.

TeaH (Turn 'em around Healing) : a therapeutic model for working with traumatised children on Aboriginal communities.

Moss M and Lee A
Children Australia v. 44 no. 2 Jun 2019: 55-59
This article describes the Turn 'em around Healing (TeaH) therapeutic model of practice, which was developed for children experiencing trauma in remote Aboriginal communities. The model incorporates Aboriginal concepts of healing and spirit within a creative therapeutic framework, and is built upon community involvement and a recognition of the trans-generational trauma present within Aboriginal communities. This article explains the development of the model, outlines how it was implemented in one community, and highlights the key learnings so far.

Child Friendly Alice community profile: about the children and families of Alice Springs 2019.

Guenther J, Brittle S and Fleming J
Alice Springs, N.T. : Child Friendly Alice, 2019.
This report provides statistics on how the children of Alice Springs, in central Australia, are faring as well as their local conditions and living standards. Information is provided on family violence, neighbourhood safety, family relationships, child protection, housing, food security, health and health services, engagement in learning, family support for learning, community amenity, participation, and support for identity and culture. Data is drawn from official statistics and a community survey, and is presented using the Nest Framework developed by the Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth. This report can serve as a baseline to measure how the children in Alice Springs are faring over time, and identifies what gaps in the data need addressing. A technical report will be made available with more detailed information and analysis of the statistical data. This report is produced by Child Friendly Alice, a community initiative to enhance the wellbeing of children in Alice Springs.

Gift of Gallang: evaluation

Hand K
Sydney, N.S.W. : Mission Australia, 2019
The Gift of Gallang is a suicide prevention program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community children in Inala, Queensland. The program has two main components: ongoing community engagement via cultural nights and school-based prevention program targeting primary school aged children. This report evaluates the development and implementation of the program, with a particular focus on community engagement and ownership, program outcomes, and the role of establishing and strengthening genuine partnerships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community members and organisations. Given the potential age of children and the school-based context, it was decided that no reference to suicide or suicide ideation would be made: instead, the program was framed around a strengths-based approach, with a focus on healing mind, body and spirit through cultural connection and self-determination. Overall, the findings of the evaluation are promising and the report concludes with recommendations for revising and strengthening the program.

Australian Early Development Census national report 2018: a snapshot of early childhood development in Australia.

Australia. Dept. of Education and Training
Canberra, ACT : Dept. of Education and Training, 2019.
This report presents a snapshot of young children's health and development in Australia in 2018. It presents findings from the 2018 Australian Early Development Census (AEDC), previously known as the Australian Early Development Index (AEDI), which measures children's development in their first year of school to help schools, communities, and policy makers understand how children are developing before school, what is being done well, and what can be improved. Development is measured across five domains: physical health and wellbeing, social competence, emotional maturity, language and cognitive skills (school-based), and communication skills and general knowledge. For each domain, children receive a score between zero and ten, identifying the percentage of children who are considered to be 'developmentally on track', 'developmentally at risk', and 'developmentally vulnerable'. This report presents the findings and compares results by gender, region, socioeconomic status, Indigenous background, and English-speaking background. Trends since the previous 2009, 2012, and 2015 reports are also examined. The Census shows that the majority of children are developmentally on track, and the overall percentage of children developmentally vulnerable on multiple domains has decreased from 11.8% in 2009 to 11.0% in 2018. However, some groups at children are still at risk.

Understanding the experience and outcomes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care during the twentieth century

Fernandez E, Lee J and McNamara P
Kensington : University of New South Wales, 2018.
The 2016 study, 'No child should grow up like this', investigated the long-term life experiences of people who had been in out-of-home care in Australia. This new report provides more detail on one of the groups that took part in that study: Stolen Generations survivors and other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who were forcibly removed from their families as children. Drawing on surveys, interviews, and focus groups, the report explores their entry into care, the care environment, experiences of maltreatment, contact with family, leaving care, education and employment outcomes, income, involvement with the justice system, relationships and parenting, social contact and community involvement, religion, physical and mental health, suicide, seeking help and support, barriers and access to services, dealing with authority figures, and public responses and formal apologies. Overall, this report presents an extremely grim picture of Aboriginal children's 'care' in the twentieth century. The multiple losses related to child removal and relentless neglect and abuse have resulted in untold damage. However, the Aboriginal participants in this study have showed remarkable resilience, courage, self-healing and activism. The report concludes with recommendations for supports for survivors and contemporary child welfare policy.

Aboriginal children in out-of-home care in NSW: developmental outcomes and cultural and family connections.

Delfabbro P
Ashfield, NSW : NSW Dept. of Family and Community Services, 2018.
The report investigates the outcomes of Aboriginal children placed into out-of-home care in New South Wales, using data from the Pathways of Care longitudinal study (POCLS). It examines the physical, socio-emotional and cognitive development of Aboriginal children in care, and how it varies over time compared to non-Indigenous children, and also investigates the nature and extent of contact between Aboriginal children and their families, the reasons underlying entry into care, the characteristics of Aboriginal carers and whether they face different or similar challenges to carers in general, and whether the Aboriginal Child Placement Principle is being applied. The findings are discussed in the context of other Australian studies on Indigenous children in care. Overall, the findings are encouraging, with most Aboriginal children in the study generally achieving good developmental outcomes with progress similar to that of other children in care. However, there are areas of concern, particularly about whether the children are maintaining appropriate cultural connections.

Service needs and uptake amongst children in out-of-home care and their carers

Walsh P, Eastman C, Katz I and McHugh M
Ashfield, NSW : NSW Dept. of Family and Community Services, 2018.
The report looks into the service needs of children and young people in out-of-home care and their carers in New South Wales, including use of health and behavioural services, changes over time, and barriers to service utilisation. The report draws on the first two waves of data from the Pathways of Care Longitudinal Study (POCLS) from New South Wales, supplemented with a review of the Australian and international literature on service engagement. It looks at use of specialist services such as paediatricians and speech pathologists, as well as universal services such as dentists and general practitioners, and formal and informal supports for carers. Overall, the findings indicate that the children in the POCLS study are faring relatively well, with their wellbeing improving over time and good access to services.

Literature review: factors influencing the outcomes of children and young people in out-of-home care.

Walsh P, McHugh M, Blunden H and Katz I
Ashfield, NSW : NSW Dept. of Family and Community Services, 2018.
The report investigates what is known about the factors that influence the outcomes of children and young people in out-of-home care. It reviews the Australian and international literature on pathways into and through care and characteristics such as child age and gender, Indigenous children and culturally appropriate placements or support, birth family characteristics and disadvantage, type of maltreatment, emotional and behavioural problems, placement stability and type, family reunification, adoption, carer characteristics, caseworker support, caseworker training, therapeutic approaches, and contact with birth family. It identifies which factors are known to influence positive or negative outcome, which factors have not been found to have an impact, and the factors where more evidence is needed. This study was conducted to inform the work of the Pathways of Care longitudinal study.

The best opportunities in life: background document - Northern Territory Child and Adolescent Health and Wellbeing Strategic Plan 2018-2028

Northern Territory. Dept. of Health
Darwin, N.T. : Dept. of Health, 2018.
This document sets out some of the evidence used to develop the 'Northern Territory Child and Adolescent Health and Wellbeing Strategic Plan 2018-2028'. It includes: statistics on children, adolescents and young people; a summary analysis of consultations with children and youth; a table detailing the input received from partner organisations; examples of programs that work that are evidence based and consistent with the plan's principles, particularly those around place based design and local involvement or co-design; a detailed timeline on implementation and monitoring; a potential Monitoring Report using a KPI traffic light matrix; and a discussion on data governance and data sovereignty - the key to Aboriginal data sharing.

The best opportunities in life: Northern Territory Child and Adolescent Health and Wellbeing Strategic Plan 2018-2028

Northern Territory. Dept. of Health
Darwin, N.T. : Dept. of Health, 2018.
This document sets out a 10 year plan of how the Northern Territory government will improve the health and wellbeing of children and young people aged 0-24 years old. It outlines the framework and priority actions that will guide stakeholders, decision makers, and health and social services towards collective action on improving the health and wellbeing of all children and young people who live in the Territory, with a particular focus on those most in need. The actions are grouped into 5 key themes: children and young people are provided the best opportunities in life; there are healthy, safe and sustainable communities and places; health and wellbeing are improving; health equity for Aboriginal children and young people is increasing; and children and young people receive high quality support when and where they need it. The plan is supported by a background document setting out the evidence used to develop the plan, including statistics on target populations, the findings of consultations with children and youth, examples of evidence-based programs, and a detailed timeline on implementation and monitoring.

How big is the gap in wellbeing between marginalised and non-marginalised young people as they approach adolescence? Evidence from a national survey of 9-14 year old Australians.

Redmond G, Huynh J and Maurici V
Child Indicators Research v. 11 no. 2 Apr 2018: 459-485
This article investigates how wellbeing varies among disadvantaged young people. It compares the wellbeing of non-marginalised young people and young people from five marginalised groups: young people with disability, young carers, materially disadvantaged young people, young people from non-English speaking background, and Indigenous young people. Data is taken from the Australian Child Wellbeing Project, for 5,440 children and young people aged from 9-14 years old. The findings indicate that young carers, the materially disadvantaged, and young people with a disability are at particular risk of experiencing low wellbeing, in particular for 13-14 year olds than 9-12 year olds. However, half of the young people reporting the lowest levels of wellbeing were not in any of the marginalised groups studied here, indicating that health promotion efforts can be directed at all young people rather than targeting specific groups.

The 'invisible homeless' - challenges faced by families bringing up their children in a remote Australian Aboriginal community.

Lowell A, Maypilama L, Fasoli L, Guyula Y, Guyula A, Yunupingu M, Godwin-Thompson J, Gundjarranbuy R, Armstrong E, Garrutju J and McEldowney R
BMC Public Health v. 18 18 Dec 2018: Article 1382
This article explores the challenges for families living in poor and overcrowded housing in one remote Aboriginal community and its impact on children's health and wellbeing. Longitudinal case studies were conducted with six Yolngu families in the Northern Territory, highlighting in particular the issue of insufficient housing stock and being forced to rely on extended family in overcrowded conditions. Running out of food, sharing diseases, poor role modelling for children, and family conflict were also raised. This study is part of the broader Growing up children in two worlds project.

Out-of-home care in Australia: children and young people's views after 5 years of national standards

McDowall J
Parramatta, NSW : CREATE Foundation, 2018.
This report investigates children and young people's views on whether the introduction of the National Standards for Out-of-Home Care has led to improvements in care in Australia. The Standards were introduced in 2011 to foster a similar base level of support across the states and territories. The CREATE Foundation conducted an initial national survey of children and young people in 2012, followed by a government survey in 2015. This report presents findings from a new 2018 survey, and as such reviews the impact of the standards after 5 years of operation. 1,275 children and young people aged 10-17 years old were asked about their experiences of life in care, including placement stability, satisfaction with placement, interactions with care workers, sources of support, case planning, knowledge of family and case history, participation in decision making, connection to culture, leisure activities and the internet, contact with family and friends, health, service usage, education and educational planning and support, bullying, feedback and complaints, and transition to independence. Comparisons are included for type of care placement and jurisdiction. This report provides insights into the strengths and limitations of the out of home care system, as well as what children and young people in care value and need. The survey found that 81% of respondents felt quite happy in their current placement, and that 93% felt safe and secure. Particular issues identified include barriers to involvement in decision making, the lack of support available in residential placements, and the need for better preparation for the transition to independence.

Maranguka justice reinvestment project: impact assessment

KPMG (Australia), Just Reinvest NSW Inc.
N.S.W. : Just Reinvest NSW, 2018.
The Maranguka Justice Reinvestment project was developed in response to the number of Aboriginal families experiencing high levels of social disadvantage and rising crime in the small remote town of Bourke in New South Wales. This place-based, Aboriginal-led model redirects funds away from crisis responses and prison and detention and instead towards preventative, diversionary, and community development initiatives that address the underlying causes of crime. This report assesses the project's impact after 5 years, now that local initiatives and processes have had time to embed and develop. It reviews progress towards building leadership, collaboration, new program design, and procedural change, as well as changes from 2016 to 2017 in rates of domestic violence, school attendance and completion, bail breaches, juvenile charges, time in custody, and obtaining drivers licences. The report highlights the financial and social cost savings of the justice reinvestment approach.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adolescent and youth health and wellbeing 2018: in brief

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
Canberra, ACT : Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2018.
This paper presents key findings from the forthcoming report 'Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adolescent and youth health and wellbeing 2018'. It collates data on wellbeing, health, social and economic determinants of health, health risk factors, and health service use, for Indigenous people aged 10-24 years old. Here, the concept of wellbeing includes connection to culture, having a say, stressors, and racism. Demographic data on population distribution and young motherhood are also included, as well as comparisons with the non-Indigenous population on selected health and wellbeing indicators.

'We live and breathe through culture' : conceptualising cultural connection for indigenous Australian children in out-of-home care.

Krakouer J, Wise S and Connolly M
Australian Social Work v. 71 no. 3 2018: 265-276
This article provides a brief overview of historic and current legislative approaches to Indigenous child protection in Australia and in particular in Victoria. Though placement in out of home care is designed to make children safe, it threatens the cultural connections that are essential to identity and wellbeing. Indeed, this article argues that family relationships need to be recognised as critical as placement stability

Ngaga-dji (hear me): young voices creating change for justice.

Koorie Youth Council
Melbourne, Vic. : Koorie Youth Council, 2018
'Ngaga-dji' is a plan to enable Aboriginal children in Victoria to thrive, in response to the systemic issues that lead to young people harming themselves and others and exposure to the youth justice system. It incorporates solutions that aim to provide effective services, keep children safe and strong in their culture, families, and communities, provide community designed and led youth support solutions, and create just and equitable systems. Ngaga-dji translates as 'hear me' in the Woiwurrung language, and the plan is based on consultation with 42 children and young people who were currently or previously under youth justice supervision. This report sets out the elements of the plan and presents several of the young people's stories, with illustrations, to capture their voices and highlight not only how systems can cause harm and entrench trauma and disadvantage, but also how strong families and communities and culturally-based services can change pathways.

Children's headline indicators

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
Canberra : Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2018.
This website collates the latest information on how Australia's children are faring, presented as interactive graphs and tables. Children's welfare is measured against the Children's Headline Indicators - 19 priority measures of: smoking during pregnancy, infant mortality, birthweight, breastfeeding, immunisation, overweight and obesity, dental health, social and emotional wellbeing, injuries, attending early childhood education programs, transition to primary school in terms of developmental vulnerability, attendance at primary school, literacy and numeracy, teenage births, family economic situation, shelter, child abuse and neglect, social and emotional wellbeing, and family social network.

Sense of belonging at school

De Bortoli L
Camberwell, Vic. : Australian Council for Educational Research, 2018.
This paper explores young people's sense of belonging at school in Australia, including ability to make friends and feeling excluded, awkward, or lonely. Data is taken from the 2015 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), an international comparative study of student achievement and preparedness among 15-year-olds. The paper compares sense of belonging across nations and Australian jurisdictions, and by gender, socioeconomic status, geographic location, Indigenous background, and migrant or first-generation background. Comparisons are also made across the 2003, 2012, and 2015 PISA results. It finds that Australian students, on average, reported having a significantly poorer sense of belonging at school compared to students across the OECD, with a significant decline between PISA 2003 and 2015. However, significantly higher proportions of Australian students reported that they made friends easily at school and that other students liked them.
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