Using public data in designing an early childhood health service: A South Australian model

Service design snapshots
Wednesday 25 July, 1400 – 1410


Alice Steeb
Child and Family Health Service

The Child and Family Health Service (CaFHS) is a critical part of South Australia’s (SA’s) early childhood health and development system. CaFHS delivers universal and targeted services aiming to improve health and development outcomes for children. As part of a recent service review, CaFHS collaborated with the BetterStart Child Health and Development group to use the South Australian Early Childhood Data Project (SA ECDP) to quantify and understand vulnerability experienced by SA children, to enable targeting resources to those most in need.

The SA ECDP is a de-identified linked data resource on children born 1999 onwards in SA (n=~280,000) with perinatal, health, education, development, child protection, and welfare services information. Risk factors that may lead families to experience adversity and vulnerability were placed into four categories: socioeconomic, health, psychosocial and trauma. Using the SA ECDP, the experience of these four types of risk for families was quantified. The SA ECDP shows that 70% of children experience one or fewer risk factors and are therefore considered “low risk”, while 30% of children experience higher levels of adversity and vulnerability.

This is an example of a continuing research-service collaboration that has resulted in the new CaFHS Model of Care being informed by evidence, influencing how the service will assess and respond to children and families, and contribute to improving outcomes for all children in SA into the future.