Indigenous families - Parenting

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

Maternal deaths in Australia 2015-2017

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
Canberra : Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2020.
This report provides a summary of statistics on maternal mortality in Australia, to better inform safety and quality of maternity care. Although maternal deaths are rare in Australia, they are catastrophic events when they do occur and require monitoring and investigation. The report includes information about the women, pregnancy, and cause of death, as well as good practice guidance points for clinicians. In the 2015-2017 period, the maternal mortality rate in Australia was 6.4 deaths per 100,000 women giving birth, which is among the lowest rates in the world. The most common causes of maternal death were suicide and cardiovascular disease, with Indigenous women more than 3 times at risk than non-Indigenous women.

Raising strong, solid Koolunga : values and beliefs about early child development among Perth's Aboriginal community.

Scrine C, Farrant B, Michie C, Shepherd C and Wright M
Children Australia v. 45 no. 1 Mar 2020: 40-47
This article explores conceptions of child rearing and development among urban dwelling Nyoongar/Aboriginal people in Perth, Western Australia. It presents findings from the Ngulluk Koolunga Ngulluk Koort (Our Children Our Heart) project, which aims to identify priorities and values associated with early childhood development for children under 6 years of age, incorporating an Aboriginal worldview and knowledge framework. 138 parents, grandparents and family members of Aboriginal children have participated in community forums and focus groups, and nine Aboriginal Elders are co-researchers in the project. The project has identified a number of common attitudes, values and beliefs about the things that are deemed important in raising healthy, confident and proud Aboriginal children, as well as the things that might get in the way of Aboriginal kids growing up solid. The findings highlight differences in beliefs from those of mainstream western society in Australia and challenge assumptions underpinning a range of early childhood development policies.

Australia's mothers and babies 2018 - in brief

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
Canberra : Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2020.
This report presents a selection of key statistics on births in Australia in 2018, drawn from the National Perinatal Data Collection. Information and infographics are presented for trends since 2006, pregnancy, child birth, and maternal and infant health, including antenatal care, smoking during pregnancy, onset of labour, method of birth, multiple pregnancies, gestational age, birthweight, presentation, Apgar scores, resuscitation, hospital births and length of stay, perinatal deaths, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mothers and their babies. This publication is designed to accompany a perinatal dynamic data display available online. In 2018, around 298,600 women gave birth to more than 303,000 babies. Nearly three-quarters of these mothers received antenatal care in the first trimester, up from 63% in 2010. Note, this report is designed to accompany complementary online data visualisations.

A demographic profile of mothers and their children who are victims of family and domestic violence : using linked police and hospital admissions data.

Orr C, Fisher C, Glauert R, Preen D and O'Donnell M
Journal of Interpersonal Violence 5 May 2020: Advance online publication
This article adds to what is known about the characteristics of victims of family violence, to better inform identification efforts. It compares linked health and police data from Western Australia for mothers with children born 1987-2010, for cases where either the mother hospitalised or the male perpetrator was charged. The findings highlight that the characteristics of mothers differed between these two datasets: in the police data, mothers were more likely to be under 25 years of age and have children present, whereas mothers in the health data were more likely to be Aboriginal - though Indigenous women were over-represented in both sets. The findings underscore the need for multiple sources of data when investigating family and domestic violence.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and parenting : a scoping review.

Canuto K, Harfield S, Canuto K and Brown A
Australian Journal of Primary Health v. 26 no. 1 2020: 1-9
This article looks into parenting programs aimed at Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander fathers. It presents the findings of a scoping review, highlighting the limited evidence available on programs for male Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander parents. However, the findings also show positive outcomes and how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men are determined to be the best fathers they can be.

Observing the Strong Culture, Strong Families Program as an innovative Indigenous justice program and more

Howard-Wagner D and Evans D
Canberra : Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research, 2020.
'Strong Culture, Strong Families' is a prison-based program run for Aboriginal male detainees and their families in the Australian Capital Territory. It draws on culture to create a positive parenting experience for Aboriginal male detainees and their children, break the cycle of intergenerational offending, strengthen family relationships, and build the capacity of adults caring for Aboriginal children with incarcerated parents. This paper describes the program and how it operates, and presents insights from observations of two program sessions. 'Strong Culture, Strong Families is an innovative volunteer Indigenous justice program with great promise, but it needs further resourcing and evaluation.

Births, Australia 2018

Australian Bureau of Statistics
Canberra, ACT : Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2019.
This website presents detailed statistics on live births and fertility trends in Australia. Information is provided for 2018 on the total fertility rate, registered births, maternal age, multiple births, Indigenous parents, births in each state and territory, and births mapped against capital city areas. Information is taken from registered births and projections based on 2016 Census data. In 2018, there were 315,147 registered births with a total fertility rate of 1.74 births per woman. For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, total fertility rate was 2.37 births per woman. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women also tend to give birth at young ages: almost three-quarters of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander births registered were to women under 30 years of age, as compared to 40.1% of births of the general population.

Trends in mental health related contacts among mothers of Aboriginal children in Western Australia (1990-2013) : a linked data population-based cohort study of over 40,000 children.

Lima F, Shepherd C, Wong J, O'Donnell M and Marriott R
BMJ Open v. 9 no. 7 2019: Article e027733
This article investigates the maternal mental health burden faced by young Aboriginal children in Western Australia. It examines the prevalence of mental health issues among Aboriginal mothers, including trends over the last twenty years, timing in regards to pregnancy or childbirth, and association with socio-demographic factors. The article analysed linked administrative data for Aboriginal children born from 1990-2013 in Western Australia, for their mothers' contacts with health services about mental health concerns, including with hospitals, community mental health centres, specialists, and private practitioners. The study found that 34% of these children were born to a mother who had at least one mental health related contact within the 5-years prior to birth or 1-year post birth.

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.

NSW child protection reports involving children with teenage parents in 2016-17

New South Wales. Dept. of Family and Community Services. Insights, Analysis and Research Unit
Ashfield, NSW : FACS Insights, Analysis and Research, NSW Department of Communities and Justice, 2019.
This report presents information on the number and characteristics of children in the protection system in New South Wales in 2016-2017 with a teenage parent and identified as being at risk of significant harm. Though only 1.4% of children met this criteria, these children were more likely to be assessed as unsafe, be reported at a younger age, to have received reports across most categories of abuse and neglect, and enter out-of-home care. Nine in ten of their parents themselves had child protection involvement as a child. Differences are also noted between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal teenage parents. Teenage parents are often subject to an intergenerational cycle of abuse and neglect, making their children a small but distinct and important sub-group requiring a targeted service response.

Children in out-of-home care with young parents

Hopkins J, Butler M, Shuttleworth L, Paxman M, Zhou A and Burke S
Ashfield, NSW : NSW Dept. of Family and Community Services, 2019.
This report looks into the number and circumstances of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal teenage parents with children in out of home care in New South Wales. Using data from the Pathways of Care longitudinal study (POCLS), it investigates the association of parent age with child protection history, type of abuse, entry into care, restoration attempts, contact with children, and relationship with child, comparing parents aged 15-19 years, 20-25 years, and 26 years and over. The study found that a small but significant number of children in out of home care were born to teenage parents. These parents also had high rates of child protection involvement themselves. Restorations were successful on the first attempt for 71.9% of children with Aboriginal teenage mothers and 78% of children with non-Aboriginal teenage mothers.

Stillbirths and neonatal deaths in Australia 2015 and 2016 - in brief

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
Canberra : Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2019.
This report presents a selection of key statistics on perinatal deaths in Australia - that is, stillbirths and neonatal deaths. It provides information on characteristics including gestational age, birthweight and plurality, maternal characteristics, timing, causes, and investigations following perinatal death, as well as comparisons with overseas trends. It also looks at perinatal deaths in two special cases: Indigenous mothers and near terms singleton pregnancies, where the baby did not have a major congenital anomaly. Australia is one of the safest places in the world for a baby to be born, yet death occurring within the perinatal period is not uncommon. Every day, six babies are stillborn and two die within 28 days of birth. Although these perinatal mortality rates have remained constant since 1997, there have been improvements among some groups, including births from 23 weeks gestation, births in the third trimester, and babies born to Indigenous mothers.

Australia's mothers and babies 2017 - in brief

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
Canberra : Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2019.
This report presents a selection of key statistics on births in Australia in 2017, drawn from the National Perinatal Data Collection. Information and infographics are presented for trends since 2006, pregnancy, child birth, and maternal and infant health, including antenatal care, smoking during pregnancy, onset of labour, method of birth, multiple pregnancies, gestational age, birthweight, presentation, Apgar scores, resuscitation, hospital births and length of stay, perinatal deaths, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mothers and their babies. This publication is designed to accompany a perinatal dynamic data display available online. In 2017, 301,095 women gave birth in Australia. Though the number of women giving birth has increased 4.0% in the last decade, the rate of women giving birth has decreased to 60 per 1,000 women of reproductive age - down from 66 per 1,000 women in 2007.

Aboriginal mothers in prison in Australia : a study of social, emotional and physical wellbeing.

Sullivan E, Kendall S, Chang S, Baldry E, Zeki R, Gilles M, Wilson M, Butler T, Levy M, Wayland S, Cullen P, Jones J and Sherwood J
Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health v. 43 no. 3 Jun 2019: 241-247
This report looks at the social, emotional and physical wellbeing of Aboriginal mothers in prison, drawing on a survey of 161 women incarcerated in New South Wales or Western Australia. Participants provided information about social and emotional wellbeing and having a mental health condition, as well as their employment and education, alcohol and drug use, having a partner in prison, history of juvenile justice and imprisonment, number of biological children, pregnant or gave birth whilst in prison, offences committed, connection to culture, and separation from family. The findings support the link between childhood trauma, managing trauma through substance use, and the criminalisation of substance dependence as offending behaviour.

A large proportion of poor birth outcomes among Aboriginal Western Australians are attributable to smoking, alcohol and substance misuse, and assault.

Gibberd A, Simpson J, Jones J, Williams R, Stanley F and Eades S
BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth v. 19 2019: Article 110
This article investigates possible factors for why Aboriginal infants have poorer birth outcomes than non-Aboriginal infants in Western Australia. Using linked administrative data for Aboriginal infants born from 1998 to 2010 and their parents, the article examines the three negative birth outcomes of small for gestational age, preterm birth, and perinatal death. Factors such as maternal substance use, long-term health, assault during pregnancy, and infections during pregnancy were studied. The study found that 27% of the infants had at least one of the three negative birth outcomes, and 51% of the infants had been exposed to in utero exposure to maternal smoking, alcohol misuse, drug misuse, and assault against their mother. However, these are modifiable risk factors so great improvement in the health of Aboriginal infants is possible.

ParentsNext, including its trial and subsequent broader rollout

Siewert R
Canberra, ACT : Commonwealth of Australia, 2019.
This report presenting the findings and recommendations of an inquiry into the ParentsNext pre-employment program. ParentsNext aims to assist disadvantaged parents receiving Parenting Payment income support to plan and prepare for future study or work before their youngest child commences school. After a 26-month trial in 10 locations around Australia, the ParentsNext program was rolled out nationally on 1 July 2018. However, in late 2018, media reports started to emerge which questioned whether ParentsNext was meeting its stated aims, with stories highlighting the stresses experienced by single parents in particular. The inquiry investigated the aims of ParentsNext, whether the aims have regard to the interests of participating parents and their children, eligibility for compulsory and voluntary participation, the design and implementation of ParentsNext, contracted program providers, the Targeted Compliance Framework, and oversight of the program. The report recommends that the ParentsNext program should not continue in its current form, but instead should be reshaped into a more supportive program which meets the needs of parents and acknowledges and addresses the structural barriers to employment which they face.

Trends in hospital admissions for intimate partner violence in Australian mothers with children born from 1990 to 2009.

Orr C, Preen D, Fisher C, Sims S and O'Donnell M
Journal of Interpersonal Violence 27 Feb 2019: Advance online publication
This article looks at trends in mothers needing hospitalisation due to intimate partner violence. It uses linked data from Western Australia from 1990-2009 to examine the prevalence of hospitalisation among pregnant women, women who would soon be pregnant, and mothers of young children. The study finds that being Aboriginal, under 30, or from a lower socioeconomic status group were all associated with a higher likelihood of hospitalisation. The study finds increases in the overall prevalence of hospital admissions for mothers assaulted 12 months prior to their child's birth and 36 months after the birth. As the national Personal Safety Survey reported a decrease in women experiencing violence, this prevalence trend is possibly due in part to increased awareness and improved hospital coding.

Diabetes in pregnancy, 2014-2015

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
Canberra, ACT : Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2019.
This paper looks at the prevalence of diabetes during pregnancy and its association with pregnancy complications and negative mother, birth, and infant outcomes. It looks at both pre-existing diabetes and gestational diabetes, as well as specific issues for Indigenous families, families in remote areas, and families by socioeconomic status. Diabetes affects nearly 1 in 10 pregnancies: 8.9% of births involved gestational diabetes and 1.0% involved pre-existing diabetes. Mothers with diabetes had higher rates of caesarean section, induced labour, hypertension, and pre-eclampsia. Analyses are based on 2 years of combined data - from 1 January 2014 to 31 December 2015 - from the National Perinatal Data Collection, excluding Victoria.

Intersecting identities : how race and age influence perceptions of mothers.

Sheeran N, Jones L and Perolini J
Australian Journal of Psychology 29 Jan 2019: Advance online publication
This article explores community stereotypes and attitudes towards motherhood, age, and race. Research suggests that though the public holds positive attitudes to adult mothers, they perceive adolescent mothers quite negatively, and this new study investigates how attitudes about Indigenous people affect these stereotypes. 323 adults were surveyed, regarding their views of Anglo?Australian adult and adolescent mothers and Indigenous?Australian adult and adolescent mothers. The findings highlight the widespread negative attitudes towards adolescent mothers, regardless of their race.

Trends in partnering and fertility among the Indigenous population

Venn D and Crawford H
Canberra, ACT : Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research, 2018.
This paper explores trends in family formation for Indigenous people in Australia over the last decade. Using Census data from 2006 to 2016, it examines the number and characteristics of Indigenous people having partners and having children, with particular focus on variations between Indigenous people living in remote and non-remote parts of Australia and by education level. Previous research has found that family formation patterns of Indigenous Australians differ from those of non-Indigenous Australians, with Indigenous people less likely to be living in a registered or de facto marriage and Indigenous women more likely to have children - and a greater number - than non-Indigenous women. However, educational levels and participation are known to affect these decisions, and Indigenous Australians have experienced rapidly increasing educational attainment in recent years. The findings of this paper in part reflect this trend. Teenage parenthood has reduced considerably, and an increasing proportion of Indigenous women are postponing childbirth from their teens into their 20s and 30s. However, there has been a very large reduction in partnering for 3 groups: people in remote areas, people with less than Year 12 education, and people in their 20s. Possible factors for these trends are briefly considered.

ParentsNext evaluation report

Henderson R, Mui S, Radcliffe J, Reinhard A, Schmidli P, Costanzo K, Jankovic C, Toohey M, Chan G, Mwesigye D, Ray D and Wu Y
Canberra, A.C.T. : Dept. of Job and Small Business, 2018
ParentsNext is a pre-employment program which connects parents of young children to services in their local community to help them plan and prepare for employment by the time their youngest child reaches school age. The program aims to reduce welfare dependency and child poverty, and to increase female employment participation. 31 ParentsNext programs were established in ten socio-economically disadvantaged areas across Australia in April 2016, with more sites added in a national expansion in July 2018. This report assesses the early impact of the program from April 2016 to 30 June 2017, in the original ten areas. It assesses client engagement and satisfaction and the program' efficiency, expenditure, and impact on client earnings from paid employment, welfare receipt levels, and income support status. The program involved both compulsory and voluntary participation streams and 95% of participants were female. Overall, the evaluation finds that the program was well received and had a positive impact on labour market attachment of parents with young children.

Births, Australia 2017

Australian Bureau of Statistics
Canberra, ACT : Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2018.
This website presents detailed statistics on live births and fertility trends in Australia. Information is provided for 2017 on the total fertility rate, registered births, maternal age, multiple births, Indigenous parents, births in each state and territory, and births mapped against capital city areas. Information is taken from registered births and projections based on 2016 Census data. In 2017, 309,142 births were registered, resulting in a total fertility rate of 1.74 babies per woman - the lowest rate since 2001. The fertility rate continues to rise for women aged 35 years and over but is falling in most other age groups: over the past 30 years, the fertility rate has more than doubled for women aged 35-39, tripled for women aged 40-44 years old, but nearly halved for teenage women.

Support for new parents and babies in New South Wales

Conolly K
Sydney, N.S.W. : Parliament of New South Wales, 2018.
This inquiry investigates current services and supports for parents of infants in New South Wales, and how they can be improved. Research highlights the benefits and cost-effectiveness of early intervention and support for parents during their children's early years, so this inquiry was established to examine the adequacy of current services and structures, especially for vulnerable parents, and consider the changes to current services and structures that could improve physical health, mental health and child protection outcomes, models of support provided in other jurisdictions, and the opportunities for new and emerging technology to enhance support. This report presents the findings and recommendations of the inquiry, beginning with the need for better coordinated and integrated universal child and family health services. Topics include home visiting services and services targeting fathers, perinatal mental health, parents with disability, Indigenous families, parents from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, and young homeless parents.

How do young Aboriginal fathers in Australia 'stay on track'? - perspectives on the support networks of Aboriginal fathers.

Faulkner D, Hammond C, Nisbet L and Fletcher R
Journal of Family Studies 25 Oct 2018: Advance online publication
This article explores the strengths and challenges for young Aboriginal fathers from regional and urban New South Wales and their sources of support. The findings highlight how these young men are doing well in their new role and the support provided by extended, close-knit families and Aboriginal communities.

Australia's mothers and babies 2016 - in brief

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
Canberra : Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2018.
This report presents a selection of key statistics on births in Australia in 2016, drawn from the National Perinatal Data Collection. Information and infographics are presented for trends since 2006, pregnancy, child birth, and maternal and infant health, including antenatal care, smoking during pregnancy, onset of labour, method of birth, multiple pregnancies, gestational age, birthweight, presentation, Apgar scores, resuscitation, hospital births and length of stay, perinatal deaths, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mothers and their babies. This publication is designed to accompany a perinatal dynamic data display available online. In 2016, 310,247 women gave birth in Australia. Though the overall rate of women of reproductive age giving birth has fluctuated over the last decade, the average age of all women who gave birth continues to rise.

Aboriginal kids - a healthy start to life: report of the Chief Health Officer 2018.

New South Wales. Office of the Chief Health Officer, Centre for Epidemiology and Evidence (N.S.W.), Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council
North Sydney, NSW : Centre for Epidemiology and Evidence, NSW Ministry of Health, 2018.
This paper highlights key improvements in the health of Aboriginal infants and young children in New South Wales in recent years and profiles some of the services and programs that are helping to close the gap in Indigenous and non-Indigenous child health. It looks at smoking rates during pregnancy, teenage motherhood, uptake of antenatal care, infant mortality, birth weight, breastfeeding rates, acute gastroenteritis, immunisation rates, rates of vaccine preventable diseases, uptake of child health assessments, vulnerability against the Australian Early Development Census (AEDC), middle ear infections, mortality of children under 5, and childhood overweight and obesity. Though this report highlights some important improvements in the health of Aboriginal children, there is still much to do, particularly in regard to the social determinants of health.

Perinatal deaths in Australia 2013-2014

Australian Bureau of Statistics
Canberra : Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2018.
This report provides information on perinatal mortality rates and causes in Australia. Drawing on jurisdictional perinatal data collections and state and territory perinatal mortality review committees, it provides an overview of perinatal mortality, identifies trends in perinatal mortality to inform practice and policy, provides information about known risk factors to assist families, and identifies areas requiring improvement in data quality. This report follows on from the first paper in this series, which provide a review of statistics and trends from 1993 to 2012. The perinatal mortality rate in Australia in 2013-2014 was low, at 9.7 deaths per 1,000 births. However, perinatal mortality rates increased with low birthweight for gestational age, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ethnicity, and a number of other demographic factors.

Implementing the Baby One Program : a qualitative evaluation of family-centred child health promotion in remote Australian Aboriginal communities.

Campbell S, McCalman J, Redman-MacLaren M, Canuto K, Vine K, Sewter J and McDonald M
BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth v. 18 24 Mar 2018: Article 73
The Baby One Program (BOP) is a home-visiting model of care that aims to promote family health to give Indigenous children the best start to life. It was developed by the Apunipima Cape York Health Council and is delivered in remote communities in the Cape York region of Queensland in teams led by Indigenous healthworkers. This article describes the development and implementation of the program and explores the views of participants, community members, and health workers. In particular, it considers key features and challenges of the program's initial implementation and how health providers connect with families and respond to practical family and cultural issues associated with pregnancy and early childhood.

Teenage mothers in Australia 2015

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
Canberra : Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2018.
This fact sheet provides information on the characteristics of teenage mothers in Australia, and how their maternity outcomes compare to that of 20-24 year old mothers. Topics include: demographic and socioeconomic characteristics, geographic location, socioeconomic disadvantage, trends in teenage motherhood since 2005, antenatal risk factors, smoking rates, diabetes, labour and birth complications, infant health outcomes, and the overrepresentation of Indigenous women. In 2015, 2.7% of all births were to teenage mothers - 24% of these teenage mothers were of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander background. Data is taken from the AIHW National Perinatal Data Collection (NPDC) for 2015.

Child and maternal health in 2013-2015

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
Canberra : Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2018.
This fact sheet provides the latest statistics on four indicators of child and maternal health in Australia: smoking during pregnancy, child and infant mortality, low birthweight babies, and antenatal visits in the first trimester of pregnancy. Information is provided nationally and across Australia's 31 Primary Health Network (PHN) areas, and for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families where available. The findings show that national rates of infant mortality and maternal smoking during pregnancy are decreasing, However, there are substantial regional differences. For example, 17% of mothers reported smoking at some point during pregnancy in regional areas, compared with 7.9% in metropolitan areas. Furthermore, almost 1 in 2 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women smoked during pregnancy - a rate of 46.5%.
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