WESTERN AUSTRALIAN ABORIGINAL CHILD HEALTH SURVEY (WAACHS)
The Western Australian Aboriginal Child Health Survey: The Health of Aboriginal Children and Young People, was launched on June 3, 2004. It is the first of a proposed five volumes of results to flow from this groundbreaking work in the field of Aboriginal child health and development research.
This large-scale investigation into the health and development of 5,289 Western Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children was undertaken by the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research (the Institute) in conjunction with the Kulunga Research Network. This unprecedented sample represents over one-in-six WA Aboriginal children and gives researchers the strongest base yet with which to estimate the levels of key health and development indicators for this population. The survey was designed to build a store of knowledge from which preventive strategies can be developed to promote and maintain the healthy development and the social, emotional, academic, and vocational wellbeing of Aboriginal children.
The Institute has previously surveyed the health of all Western Australian children in 1993. Recognising that this survey did not have a focus on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, the Institute met with several key Aboriginal leaders and representatives from across the state to seek support and endorsement to conduct a survey of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 0 to 17 years. The survey was subsequently endorsed and is the first to gather comprehensive health, developmental and educational information on a population-based sample of Aboriginal children in their families and communities.
All phases of the survey, including its development, design, and implementation, were under the direction of the Western Australian Aboriginal Child Health Survey Steering Committee. The Committee comprises senior Aboriginal officers from a cross section of agencies and settings.
It is envisaged that the findings will have wide-ranging significance at both the WA and national level. Indeed some of the data are going to be utilised to help generate a set of synthetic estimates of key indicators for several other states as part of a project supported by the Rio-Tinto Aboriginal Foundation.
For further information, see the Western Australian Aboriginal Child Health Survey.