Ngadhuri-nya (To care for): Intergenerational and educational influences on social, mental and emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people
To prioritise research questions by analysing data relating to the large, existing linked dataset of the NSW Child Development Study (NSW-CDS) to answer questions about parental health and criminal justice impacts on the health and wellbeing of NSW children and young people and to form a Working Group to progress interpretation of NSW-CDS data.
- Qualitatively identify family support opportunities addressing the emerging area of Child and Family support.
- Implement prevention and interventions to reverse worsening rates of wellbeing and its determinants.
- Analyse information on the education, health and criminal justice contacts for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and that of their parents providing rare intergenerational evidence that can inform relevant social policy.
- Through qualitative Roundtable discussions and Working Group meetings, explore the existing data and collaborate on analysis and knowledge exchange activities.
- Use the Facilitated Development Approach to bring together experienced Aboriginal health researchers with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander service providers and community members and NSW Child Development Study researchers.
Project leaders: Dr Stacy Tzoumakis, Lecturer, School of Social Sciences; Dr Megan Williams, Head and Senior Lecturer, Girra Maa Indigenous Health Discipline, Graduate School of Health, University of Technology Sydney
Project partners: University of Technology Sydney
Administering organisation: University of New South Wales
Project timeline: 2 January 2018—31 August 2018
This mixed-methods project brought together experienced Aboriginal health researchers with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community members and child development researchers, to participate in a community roundtable in inner-Sydney in April 2018.
Following Lowitja Institute’s Facilitated Development Approach, roundtables were held to create a supportive environment for qualitative inquiry with Aboriginal and Torres Strait people discussing the initial findings from the quantitative study of the New South Wales – Child Development Study (NSW-CDS).
The NSW-CDS includes data of about 87,000 children and young people with linked data about parents’ health and criminal justice system involvement. Approximately 6,800 of the 87,000 children and young people identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander. Descriptive statistics were specially prepared and presented to the roundtable. A biostatistician assisted in preparing, cleaning, coding and processing the quantitative data.
The roundtable participants used the nominal group technique for decision making to identify the many possible research questions that would be prioritised upon. After identifying priority questions, a Working Group for long-term consultation was formed for further analysis.
Subsequent quantitative analysis on the priority questions raised at the roundtables was also carried out to create new knowledge.
Descriptive statistics of the 6,800 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children included in the study was presented at Roundtable Discussion and the four priority areas identified for further analysis were:
- Mental health of children and young people
- The influence of poverty as a social determinant of health including a place-based understanding from the data
- Out-of-home care
- The effects of inter-generational incarceration.
Quantitative data analysis of the identified priority areas revealed:
- Mental health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people in the NSW-CDS is worse than others, gets worse over time and is associated with worse education outcomes.
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people and families were far more likely to be among the most socio-economically disadvantaged with negative impacts across most other domains of life and in urban and regional and remote areas.
- Higher rates of out-of-home care and child protection system contact were found among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and they were more likely to have a range of disadvantages and overall fare worse than others in the study.
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people were more likely to have parents in prison, with criminal charges differing between mothers and fathers and being related to poor mental health and social status.
- This research has provided evidence of the current policy paradigm on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing, based on deficit discourse.
- The project demonstrates how deficit discourse impacts negative impacts on health and it is a barrier to improving health outcomes.
- Young Aboriginal people who were involved experienced being part of an inter-generational, diverse and collaborative group within which to undertake research.
- Facilitated group work recruited Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people into research, data interpretation and helping people meet ethical research guidelines.
- The Facilitated Development Approach, nominal group technique, Working Group process, collaboration and leadership by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in data analysis have been conveyed more widely, to build awareness of practical steps to shift beyond analysing data ‘on’ Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, to doing it ‘with’, and following our lead.
- Group based research enables awareness and respect for diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
- Engaging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as leaders in research encourages people to take a role in research regardless of their background.
- Leadership and participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people can reduce stereotyping and the deficit discourse arising from data.
Williams, Megan 2019, The Ngadhuri-nya process for engaging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in data linkage research,Croaky