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.
Infant and child mental health
Sydney, NSW : NSW Ombudsman, 2019.
One issue of concern to the NSW Child Death Review Team are suicide clusters - meaning a group of suicides that occur closer together in time and space than would normally be expected or predicted. The Team have commissioned this report to review what is known about suicide clusters among school-aged children and to review current prevention policies and frameworks in New South Wales. The reprot reviews the Australian and international literature on characteristics and mechanisms, risk factors, the impact of the internet and social media on suicidal behaviour, and postvention activities to reduce cluster suicides. The study found only a limited amount of evidence on preventing suicide clusters.
Sydney, NSW : NSW Ombudsman, 2019.
This report reviews the deaths of children in 2016 and 2017 in New South Wales in order to identify any trends and patterns and to make recommendations on how similar deaths might be prevented. It brings together two biennial child death review reports by the NSW Ombudsman that were previously published separately: the report of the NSW Child Death Review Team and the review of 'reviewable' deaths, which are deaths that may be due to abuse or neglect or that occur in suspicious circumstances or in care or detention. The report presents information on trends in the deaths of children, the leading causes of death, deaths from multiple causes, sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy, deaths resulting from unintentional injury, deaths from suicide, and deaths occurring in the context of abuse or neglect, with some information on trends included. Over the past 15 years, the mortality rate in New South Wales declined by 27% , mostly reflecting a significant decline in infant deaths. Mortality rates vary by gender, Indigenous background, remoteness and socio-economic status, with significantly higher rates of death for Indigenous children, children in remote areas, and children in disadvantaged areas - as well as children with a child protection history. The leading cause of death is natural causes, except for 15-17 year olds, who are at higher risk of transport accidents and suicide.
Collingwood, Vic. : Anglicare Victoria, 2019
In this booklet, Anglicare Victoria highlights the impact of their TEACHaR program for children in out of home care. TEACHaR - 'Transforming Educational Achievement for Children in Home-based and Residential care' - was developed in response to evidence that children and young people living in out of home care often experience poor education outcomes in comparison to the general student population. The program aims to: strengthen student school engagement and attendance; raise literacy, numeracy and academic skills; support students to complete Year 12 or its equivalent; and support students to develop more positive feelings and attitudes towards learning. This booklet describes the program and presents comments from practitioners, case studies, and findings from a recent evaluation to demonstrate the positive impacts of the program.
Archives of Disease in Childhood v. 104 no. 11 2019: 1102-1104
Research has found that many children with mental health problems are not accessing health services. This article investigates whether it is due in part to parents failing to recognise mental health problems. Using data from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children, the article compares rates of parent-reported mental health problems with rates of problems identified in child assessments that used the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ). Data was taken across several waves, from age 4/5 to 15/16. A particular focus is whether there are differences by parent income level. The study finds that under-recognition was highest among low income parents and lowest among high income parents, with some differences by child age and gender. The findings highlight the important role of parents in recognising children's health problems and seeking treatment, and have implications for health literacy education.
Medical Journal of Australia v. 212 no. 1 2 Dec 2019: Advance online publication
This article adds to what is known about the association of childhood adversity and the development of mental disorders, focusing on onset in childhood. It presents findings from a population-based study of the prevalence of mental disorders in middle childhood according to level of contact with child protection services in early childhood. Data is taken from the New South Wales Child Development Study, which uses linked administration data for children from 2001-2016. After adjusting for other risk factors, the odds of being diagnosed with a mental disorder during middle childhood was almost three times as high for children known to protection services during early childhood as for children without reports, and more than five times as high for children placed in out-of-home care.
Hilton, S. Aust. : Emerging Minds, 2019.
This practice guide provides information about anxiety in the pre-teen years, from 9-12 years of age. It aims to help practitioners in generalist services to better support parents who have a child experiencing mild-moderate anxiety. Topics include: The resource covers: what is anxiety?; what are the signs of anxiety?; what does anxiety involve?; is this 'just a phase' or are support services needed?; how can practitioners support a parent caring for a pre-teen with anxiety; when and how can practitioners make effective referrals to a mental health service?; and how can parents support a child experiencing anxiety? It concludes with a list of further resources.
Hawthorn, Vic. : Be You, Beyond Blue, 2019.
Beyond Blue's 'Be You' initiative aims to provide educators with knowledge and resources to support children and young people's mental health. This report was commissioned to provide an overview of the evidence on the effectiveness and benefits of partnerships between educators and families. It reviews the Australian and international literature on what strategies to build and maintain partnerships between families and educators have been effective in supporting mental health and wellbeing in children and young people, and identifies gaps in the evidence. It provides recommendations that can be used by school and early learning services to support educators to build partnerships with families, and also summarises information about nine family programs that have been implemented in Australian educational settings and have achieved improvements in child and adolescent mental health outcomes. This review should be read in conjunction with the companion Professional Learning module.
Journal of Youth and Adolescence v. 48 no. 4 Apr 2019: 692-702
Research has found an association between depression, anxiety, and bullying in childhood and adolescence, but these problems are so common its difficult to determine the direction of the association. This article investigates this matter further, using data from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children. It examines experiences of depressive symptoms, anxiety, and peer victimisation at the age of 10/11 years of age and again at 12/13 years of age, across the transition from childhood to adolescence. The study found small but significant bidirectional relationships between depression, anxiety, and bullying, with all three predicting poor functioning and outcomes.
Melbourne, Vic. : Royal Commission into Victoria's Mental Health System, 2019.
The Victorian Government has established a Royal Commission to set a new plan for the mental health system and enable Victorians to experience their best mental health now and into the future. This report presents the Commission's interim findings, representing a stocktake of learnings to date and priority recommendations to address immediate needs and build the foundations for a new system. These recommendations include a new tax or levy to increase funding, an additional 170 youth and adult acute mental health beds, outreach and follow up care services for children and young people at risk of suicide, the expansion of Aboriginal social and emotional wellbeing teams, and expanding consumer and family-carer lived experience workforces. The interim report begins with information on the mental health system and services in Victoria, the mental health workforce, service gaps and systemic issues, barriers and access to services, patient and carer experiences, rural and regional issues, suicide prevention and responses, and costs and the economic case for reform, before turning to new approaches and areas for reform.
London : NSPCC, 2019.
Childline is the United Kingdom's free, 24-hour helpline and online counselling service for children and young people. This report highlights the scope and value of the service and presents information from 2018/19 on the the number of counselling sessions conducted, the top concerns reported, and referrals. Mental and emotional health, and suicidal thoughts and self harm accounted for nearly half of all counselling sessions, and there has been a rise in concerns about child sexual exploitation, loneliness, and physical punishment.
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health v. 16 no. 21 2019: Article 4189
Research has found that housing instability is associated with poor health outcomes in some children, but not others. This article investigates whether children's underlying health characteristics plays a role. Using data from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children, it looks into children's experience of multiple household relocations within a short period, child physical and psycho-social health, child illness and disability, and other factors such as household structure, parental mental health, parent education and employment, household income and hardship, and geographical remoteness. The findings suggests that there is a relationship between residential instability and children's psycho-social - but not physical - health, in particular for children who were already in poor health.
International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity v. 16 8 Jul 2019: Article 55
This article investigates patterns and trajectories of physical activity and screen-time behaviour across childhood, including how these behaviours cluster and develop together and their impact on quality-of-life and socio-emotional outcomes. It also examines whether these patterns are associated with socio-demographic factors. Data is taken from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children, for children from 0 to 9 years of age. Three distinct trajectories are identified, with most children having low levels of both screen time and physical activity. Children with increasing levels of physical activity and low levels of screen time displayed positive quality of life and social-emotional outcomes, whereas children with low levels of physical activity and increasing levels of screen time displayed poorer physical, social and emotional health.
Annual report 2018-19. Melbourne, Vic. : Commission for Children and Young People, 2019: 19-38
The Victorian Commission for Children and Young People conducts an inquiry into the services provided to every child who dies and was known to Child Protection in the 12 months before their death, to identify aspects of the service system that need to be improved to help children in the future. This chapter describes the child death inquiries undertaken in the 2018/19 period. It presents information, case studies, and statistics relating to the number of child death notifications received, age, Aboriginal status, category of death, living arrangements, policy and practice issues identified by the inquiry, and progress towards previous recommendations. Comms themes identified include inadequate risk assessment, the impact of workload on practice, inappropriate or unsuccessful referrals to support services, higher rates of SIDS/SUDI, poor response to family violence, and failure to engage with fathers. The Commission also investigates adverse incidents relating to children in out of home care, including foster care and secure care. The chapter presents information and statistics on the types of incidents reported, type of care setting, and common themes. Incidents include self harm, physical abuse, sexual abuse and exploitation, and absenteeism.
Melbourne, Vic. : Commission for Children and Young People, 2019.
Though suicide is the leading cause of death for young people in Victoria, the Commission for Children and Young People's child death inquiry noticed a pattern of child protection involvement among many of these children. This inquiry investigates this matter further, with a review of the services received by 35 adolescents who died by suicide and who had been in contact with child protection in the 12 months preceding death. It examines the quality and effectiveness of child protection, child and family, and mental health services delivered - or omitted to be delivered - and the systemic issues raised. The findings indicate that these 35 young people presented with multiple risk indicators that brought them into recurring contact with different service systems - many from an early age. However, most received only ineffective early intervention and a largely static response from child protection services. This report presents the findings of the inquiry and the recommendations for the Victorian Government and the Department of Health and Human Services.
Canberra : Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2019.
This report describes trends in deaths due to injury and poisoning in Australia over the period 1999-00 to 2016-17. It provides statistics on overall trends as well as trends in deaths by transport crashes, drowning, poisoning by pharmaceuticals and other substances, falls, thermal injury and smoke inhalation, other unintentional injury, suicide, and homicide. Variations by age, gender, Indigenous status, socioeconomic status, and area remoteness are discussed. Injury, whether intentional or unintentional, was recorded as the cause of 8% of all deaths in 2016-17 in Australia. Rates for males were at least twice as high as rates for females in all other age groups, except in children aged 0-4. Rates were highest in those aged 65 and over and rose with increasing remoteness of place of residence - the rate for residents of very remote areas was more than twice the rate for residents of major cities. The two main causes of injury deaths were unintentional falls and suicide.
Indooroopilly, Qld. : Life Course Centre, Institute for Social Science Research, University of Queensland, 2019.
Though research has found that children of Asian immigrants have better academic performance than their native-born counterparts in many English-speaking countries, how well are they faring in other, non-cognitive developmental outcomes? Using data from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC), this paper looks at the outcomes of pro-social behaviour, hyperactivity and inattention, emotional symptoms, conduct problems, and peer-relationship problems, comparing children with at least one Asian-born parent, children with two Australian-born parents, and children with at least one parent from another immigrant background, for children aged from 6/7 to 14/15 years old. A particular focus is whether the home environment, parental investments, or children's efforts are associated with any differences. The study finds large differences between the children. However, the results vary significantly by trait, child age, and by whether a parent or teacher made the assessment.
Growing Up in Australia, the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children - annual statistical report 2018. Melbourne : Australian Institute of Family Studies, 2019: 29-46
This chapter investigates whether Australian children and adolescents are getting enough sleep for healthy growth, learning and development. Using data from 'Growing Up in Australia, the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children' (LSAC), for children from the age of 6/7 to 16/17 years of age, it looks into sleep patterns and timing, regular bedtimes, sleep-onset latency or the time it takes to fall asleep, wake times on school days and non-school days, and average sleep duration. It also investigates adolescents' views on the quantity and quality of their sleep and the characteristics of adolescents not getting enough sleep. The study finds that around a quarter of 12-15 year-olds and half of 16-17 year-olds are not getting enough sleep on school nights to meet national sleep guidelines. It also finds that that insufficient sleep was linked to poorer mental health, increased absenteeism from school, and spending more time on homework. Though television watching and electronic gaming didn't appear to be related to lack of sleep, there was an association with internet use.
MJA Insight no. 36 16 Sep 2019
This opinion piece calls for consensus on the language used around child mental health in Australia, as part of efforts to improve the health system. It highlights the differences in language used by professionals in the education and health sectors and draws attention to recent studies on the high prevalence of child mental health problems and gaps in health service provision.
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health v. 16 no. 9 2019: Article 1516
This article reviews the literature on the association between the neighbourhood built environment and young children's mental health. It examines quantitative studies on such factors as access to or quantity of public open space and social infrastructure. The review finds only limited evidence at this stage, with few studies looking into the aspect of positive mental health functioning. Further research is required to address these gaps.
Nutritional Neuroscience 20 Mar 2019: Advance online publication
This article investigates whether overall diet quality is associated with mental health problems in children. Data is taken for 787 children aged 8-9 years old, from the Childhood to Adolescence Transition Study in Victoria. The study found that better overall diet quality is associated with more positive mental health, even after adjusting for sex, body mass index, and family socioeconomic status.
Hilton, S. Aust. : Emerging Minds, 2019.
Written for practitioners in child, family, adult, and health services, this paper outlines some of the broader issues related the provision of appropriate, timely and relevant services and supports for children and families living with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). It highlights some of the complexities of service provision for this group of children, focusing on child protection, family support and child mental health services. This paper is the fifth in a series about working with families affected by FASD.
Hilton, S. Aust. : Emerging Minds, 2019.
Written for practitioners in child, family, adult, and health services, this paper highlights what is known about the association between Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) and common mental health difficulties in children and young people. This paper is the second in a series about working with families affected by FASD. Sections include: What is FASD?; How does FASD affect a child's life?; How common is FASD?; What is the link between FASD and risk of mental health concerns?; Other difficulties commonly associated with FASD; and Key challenges for service providers. Although the underlying cognitive difficulties related to FASD cannot be reversed, practitioners can take steps to minimise its impact on children and families over time by providing tailored and consistent support.
Watson, A.C.T. : Institute of Child Protection Studies, Australian Catholic University, 2019.
'Family Foundations' is an early intervention therapeutic parenting program in the Australian Capital Territory. It was developed in 2016 by Belconnen Community Services and targets families with young children who are dealing with complex parenting needs and difficulties but who are not in crisis or involved with child protection services. This report assesses the impact of the program, and follows on from a process evaluation of the program published in 2018. This report evaluates the extent to which Family Foundations achieved its intended outcomes of improving parents' self-confidence, emotional regulation, help seeking, and parenting knowledge and skills, as well as improvements in children's emotional regulation and behaviour. It also investigated unintended consequences and whether the program attracted its target audience. The report describes the program and the evaluation methodology and discusses the quantitative and qualitative findings. The evaluation found that the program enhanced parenting capacity and the quality of the parent-child attachment and contributed to improved outcomes for children, with parents with the greatest need seeing the greatest benefits.
Ashfield, NSW : NSW Dept. of Family and Community Services, 2019.
This report provides a summary of data collected in the Childcare and School Teachers Survey conducted as part of the Pathways of Care Longitudinal Study (POCLS) In New South Wales. 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. To date, four Waves of data collection have been undertaken at 18-24 month intervals. The Childcare and School Teachers Survey was completed between 2013 and 2016 - approximately 3-5 years after the child entered OOHC for the first time - with childcare, preschool or school teachers providing data for 670 children. Topics include: attendance at childcare or preschool, absences and reasons, additional assistance and specialised services, education plans, Child Behaviour Checklist, caregiver involvement, attendance at school, repeating a grade, suspensions and absences, participation in learning activities and homework, academic performance, participation in extracurricular activities, children's friends, child behaviour and happiness, and transfer of information between child care centres and schools. The findings suggest that children who enter OOHC for the first time at younger ages were generally faring better than those who entered OOHC for the first time at older ages. Relatively large proportions of all of the children exhibited clinical or borderline behavioural problems, particularly at older ages, and about half of the school-aged children were reported to be learning less and working less hard than their peers. Differences were also seen by type of care placement, with children in foster care spending less time in childcare or preschool than children in kinship care and who had exited OOHC, who appeared to spend closer to the state average time.
Subiaco, W.A. : CoLab, Telethon Kids Institute, 2019.
This report highlights the issue of late intervention in Australia and the significant costs of not investing early enough in children and young people. It details how Australian governments spend $15.2b every year because children and young people experience serious but preventable issues that require crisis services, with the greatest costs in services for out-of home care, justice system costs related to youth crime, and welfare payments for unemployed young people. The key issues likely to drive future budget pressures are youth unemployment, youth hospitalisation for mental health issues, and out-of home care. The report then highlights the opportunities for earlier, targeted, and impactful preventative investment. Though it is neither possible nor desirable to eliminate all spending on late intervention, the number of children and young people reaching crisis or significant difficulties demonstrates that the system is not preventing issues from escalating, nor adequately responding when they first need help. Issues reviewed in this report include mental health, youth homelessness, physical health, family violence, justice, youth unemployment, youth crime, and child protection - areas where it is clear that, by providing effective support earlier, there is the opportunity to change pathways or outcomes for children and young people.
PLoS ONE v. 14 no. 4 2019: Article e0214821
This article investigates the views of mental health clinicians on the care system for children and young people in Australia. Thirty health professionals from different settings, including pediatricians, psychiatrists, and psychologists, were interviewed regarding the barriers and enablers to accessing and achieving optimal care within the current health system for children with complex mental health conditions, and what the components of an optimal model of care would be. The participants identified systemic and structural barriers to optimal care and highlighted the value of empowered parents and peer support networks, as well as the co-location of services, in delivering optimal care.
Human Behavior and Emerging Technologies v. 1 no. 2 Apr 2019: 72-80
Phones and mobile devices are now a ubiquitous part of life, even during parenting time. This article reviews the new and growing evidence on what is known about parents and their phone use, and whether this is affecting their ability to parent and their children's outcomes. It investigates why parents use phones while with children, how this use impacts upon parents and parenting quality, why phone use affects parenting quality, and how parent phone use impacts upon children. Most of the emerging research is from the United States but some studies have been conducted in Australia and other countries. The findings show that parent distraction with phones has become common, impacting upon children's attachment, behaviour and learning. Further longitudinal research is needed into these effects.
Wellington N.Z. : Ministry of Social Development, 2019.
This report investigates the relationship between family/whanau vulnerability and preschool children's behavioural and developmental outcomes, and whether social connectedness might act as a protective factor for vulnerable children. Data is taken from the Growing up in New Zealand (GUiNZ) longitudinal study. It found that higher levels of vulnerability in the antenatal period - including maternal education, maternal depression, household overcrowding, household income, household deprivation, and financial stress - were found to predict higher levels of externalising and internalising behaviour, higher levels of illness and developmental problems, and lower levels of prosocial behaviour in children at 4 and half years of age. Children raised in families that had experienced relationship transitions also reported higher externalising and internalising behaviour, and lower prosocial behaviour. Although neither family connectedness nor community connectedness appeared to reduce the impact of risk factors on externalising or internalising behaviour, family connectedness did enhance prosocial behaviour under conditions of low vulnerability. The report also investigated temporal pathways, comparing vulnerability in pregnancy, 9 months, 2 years, and 4.5 years of age. Over time, family connectedness was shown to predict reduced family stress and increased perceived support, both of which, in turn, predicted better behavioural outcomes. Overall, the findings indicate that social connectedness could be a useful protective factor.
Wellington N.Z. : Ministry of Social Development, 2019.
This is the first study from New Zealand on young children's screen time. It analyses data from over 5,000 pre-schoolers from the Growing Up in New Zealand study, regarding use of screen-based devices such as phones and gaming devices, adherence to government recommendations on screen time, health and behavioural outcomes, and association with sociodemographic factors and household rules on screen use. The findings provide insight into contemporary trends in preschooler screen use and present evidence that adherence to government screen time guidelines is linked to better health outcomes in New Zealand children.
Journal of Child and Family Studies 4 Sep 2019: Advance online publication
Research suggest that parent's conflict in balancing their work and family roles can have a negative effect on children. This article adds to what is known about the mechanisms involved. It investigates whether conflict between parents affects the impact of mothers' work-family conflict on children. Using from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children, it looks at inter-parental conflict, mothers' work-family conflict or enrichment factors, and childhood mental health problems for children aged 4-5 to 14-15 years old. The findings indicate that conflict - whether between parents or in balancing work - is associated with mental health problems in children and young people. However, though inter-parental conflict seems to play a mediating role during childhood for internalising problems, it does not seem to be involved in externalising problems or eating disorders or during adolescence.