Our research expertise

Parents play a crucial role in a child's healthy development and socialisation and most parents do a good job to help their children to grow up and lead fulfilling lives. The social expectations on parents to fulfil their responsibilities are enormous. When things go wrong it is easy to blame parents however parenting does not occur in a social vacuum; it is influenced by the wider social, economic and political context . It is not just an individual parent's characteristics but a host of complex influences, such as the characteristics of the child, access to support networks and the nature of parents' relationships, which interact to affect parenting practices and the outcomes for children.

Research on parenting is a topic of significant expertise at AIFS. Some of the areas we have looked at include:

  • work and family
  • post-separation parenting
  • parenting and cultural backgrounds
  • caring for children outside of school hours
  • parental concerns and unsupervised time.

Current projects

Australian Temperament Project
For over 30 years the Australian Temperament Project (ATP) longitudinal study has followed the development of a large group of Victorian children from infancy to adulthood, and is now following their children.

Growing Up in Australia: The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children
Topics analysed using LSAC data include: co-parenting, children's views of their parents jobs, parenting practices and behaviours, parenting and children's school attendance and parental mental health.

Child Family Community Australia
The CFCA is an information exchange for professionals working with children, families and communities.


Jennifer Baxter
Senior Research Fellow

Lixia Qu
Senior Research Fellow

Jennifer Renda
Manager, Survey research

More information

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