4105.0 - Children and Youth News, May 2008  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 30/05/2008   
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Welcome to another edition of Children and Youth News. At the beginning of May I commenced as the new Director of the Family and Community Statistics section. Most recently I have been working as the ABS outposted officer to the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs. Before that I had many years experience in working at the ABS in areas with particular relevance to statistics concerning families, children and youth.

This newsletter provides information on a large range of statistical releases, developments and events relevant to children and youth.

I hope you enjoy Children and Youth News.

Graeme Thompson
Family and Community Statistics


The ABS Information Development Plan (IDP) for children and youth, Information Paper: Improving Statistics on Children and Youth - An Information Development Plan (cat. no. 4907.0) was first released in December 2006. The Plan outlines agreed priorities for statistical data development with the aim of improving the quality and availability of data required to support informed policy design and evaluation, and decision making by governments, organisations and communities.

The IDP is reviewed and updated annually to reflect progress and changes in the Data Development Actions. The first review was completed in December 2007 and the results were published on the National Statistical Service (NSS) web site.

The Children and Youth team is about to begin the 2008 Review of the IDP. Over the next few months we will be contacting relevant agencies to obtain updates on progress relating to the Data Development Actions. This information will be collated and the report released towards the end of 2008.


The Prime Minister convened the Australia 2020Summit at Parliament House on 19 and 20 April to help shape a long term strategy for the nation’s future. The Summit brought together people from across the country to tackle the long term challenges confronting Australia’s future. In all, a thousand Australians were brought to the national Parliament to debate and develop long-term options for the nation across 10 critical areas.

The ABS provided assistance and statistical support to the Boston Consulting Group in the preparation of briefing documents for the Australia 2020 Summit. Of key relevance to families, children and youth was the stream: Strengthening communities, supporting families and social inclusion. (Link is a PDF document, file size 304KB) ABS data provided the majority of the reference material to this stream. The main exception to this was data relating to the consumption of alcohol and use of illicit drugs. These areas were supported by other data providers such as the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

The final report from the summit will discuss each of the ten critical areas identified and attempt to highlight some of the key learnings that can be taken away from the process. It will examine what worked well and what didn’t work so well, and also discuss data gaps. A brief summary of data issues raised in the Initial Summit Report is also now available. To view the Initial Summit Report see: Australia 2020 website.


This information paper, due to be released in August 2008, will report on a data mapping pilot project undertaken by the ABS, in collaboration with several other agencies. The aim of the project is to consider ways of improving the evidence base on early childhood, through better use of existing data held by government agencies. The project will investigate the existing range of data sources relevant to identified high priority policy questions in the area of early childhood learning and care. This will include ascertaining how the existing data sources relate to the key information requirements, where gaps exist and what access arrangements are in place. Recommendations for improving the evidence base for policy development and evaluation will be proposed, from considering ways to better access existing information, or the creation of new information from existing data sources.

This paper builds on the suggested measures and evaluations of data collections in the December 2007 information paper: Measuring Learning in Australia: Concepts and Directions in Early Childhood Learning (cat. no. 4232.0). Further details on the data mapping pilot project are available in the project overview on the NSS website.

2006 Census of Population and Housing logo


The ABS Children and Youth team is currently writing a Census thematic about Australia's Children and Youth. This publication will draw on data from the 2006 Census of Population and Housing to provide an overview of the population aged 0-24 years. Comparisons with previous data from Censuses will also be included to show how characteristics and circumstances of children and youth have changed over time. Major themes covered by the publication will include, family and living arrangements; educational attainment and participation; transitions to independent living; and combining education and work. The publication will also highlight specific target populations such as children and young people from Indigenous, culturally and linguistically diverse and disadvantaged backgrounds.

Census of Population and Housing: Australia's Children and Youth, 2006 (cat. no. 2059.0.55.001) is scheduled for release in December 2008.


A Picture of the Nation will provide a comprehensive overview of the 2006 Census, summarising a large volume of Census data, as well as providing more detailed analysis and commentary on a number of current topical issues. It will demonstrate the power of census statistics in providing information on big picture trends, as well as detailed information on small areas and small population groups, while covering both social and economic aspects of Australian life.

A Picture of the Nation is aimed at all users of Census data who are interested in stories from the Census. The commentary covers a wide range of issues which can help readers gain a better understanding of Australia and its people. Among many other topics, some of the features of the report with particular relevance to children and youth will include: Geographic distribution of young families across Australia; Living arrangements of children; and Studying and working.

The Report, scheduled for release in August 2008, will be available for purchase as a hard copy publication and for free download from the ABS website in a PDF document format.