Maintaining an agenda for children: the role of data in linking policy, politics and outcomes

Sharon R Goldfeld and Frank Oberklaid
Med J Aust 2005; 183 (4): 209-211.


  • There is growing recognition in Australia of the importance of early childhood to later health and wellbeing, with developments such as the National Agenda for Early Childhood and the National Public Health Action Plan for Children.

  • To sustain a policy agenda for children and improve long-term outcomes, we need timely, comprehensive and accurate indicators and data on child health, development and wellbeing.

  • Building this evidence requires a national monitoring and surveillance system that involves more than aggregating or linking existing data.

  • Steps to building a national system are: to agree on key indicators of child health, development and wellbeing for regular reporting, to research a comprehensive set of indicators for each domain and ascertain data gaps, and to ensure development and coordination of data relevant to policy-making.

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  • Sharon R Goldfeld1
  • Frank Oberklaid2

  • Centre for Community Child Health, Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne, VIC.



This work was originally developed for the proposed Australian Research Council Research Network, Future Generation: New Knowledge for Better Outcomes for Children and Young People. An early version of the article received comments from participants of the planning workshop. We particularly acknowledge the support of Professor Ross Hommel (Griffith University, Brisbane, QLD).

Competing interests:

S R G received payment to undertake research to inform a planning meeting of the Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth.

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