Footprints in Time – The Longitudinal Study of Indigenous Children (LSIC)

Study Page

The Footprints in Time team acknowledges and pays respect to the past and present Traditional Custodians and Elders of this nation and the continuation of cultural, spiritual and educational practices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples should be aware that this website may contain images and names of deceased persons.

Are you part of the Footprints in Time family?

Keeping in touch

Please keep in touch. If your contact details are changing or have changed, update us through one of the following:

  • contact your interviewer (the Research Administration Officer or RAO)
  • email
  • call our free call number 1800 106 235

The Footprints in Time Team appreciates you keeping in touch and keeping your contact details up-to-date.

Providing feedback and sharing stories

If you would like to share anything with us about being in the study, contact us through the methods above.

Your feedback and stories are important to us. We appreciate your time in sharing them with us.

Concerns or complaints

If you have any concerns or complaints, contact the ethics committee by post or email.

Postal address:
Executive Officer, Human Research Ethics Committee
Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS)
51 Lawson Crescent, Acton ACT 2601


Data collection in 2022 – Wave 15

Data collection is usually through face-to-face interviews between February and December each year. Our Research Administration Officers (RAOs) visit Footprints in Time families to conduct interviews. We may also offer phone interviews and self-complete online surveys.

Footprints in Time Research Administration OfficersFootprints in Time Research Administration Officers (interviewers)
Left to right – Chris, Geraldine, Kath, Gale, Jon, Annie, Cher

We take the risk of Coronavirus (COVID-19) transmission seriously. We will only conduct face-to-face interviews where and when it is safe to do so. RAOs will contact Footprints in Time families to let them know when we will be doing interviews in their local area. RAOs will make agreements to conduct interviews. Participants can choose to take part in a telephone interview or, a face-to-face interview if it is safe to do so.

If you are a Footprints in Time family and would prefer to do a telephone interview in 2022, please contact us. We will arrange a suitable time for an interview. Call our free call number 1800 106 235 or email

COVID-19 protections

Our team is committed to undertaking surveys in a COVID-safe manner.

We all have a personal responsibility to slow the spread of COVID-19. We can do this by abiding by physical distancing and personal hygiene arrangements.

Physical distancing

We are always pleased to visit all Footprints in Time families. While COVID-19 transmission remains a risk, we will maintain physical distancing. RAO interviewers will keep a distance of 1.5 metres during face-to-face interviews.

We prefer to conduct the LSIC interviews in areas with adequate airflow (e.g. outside) if possible.


We care about your health and wellbeing. RAOs will not conduct face-to-face interviews if they are experiencing any cold or flu-like symptoms.

We ask that Footprints in Time families notify us if anyone in your household has any cold or flu-like symptoms. If anyone in your household is unwell, we will offer a telephone interview or reschedule your face to-face interview.

Face masks

RAOs will provide you with a disposable face mask if you would like to wear one in the interview.

RAOs will also wear a face mask if you want them to.

Hand sanitiser and anti-bacterial wipes

Before and after each interview, RAOs will wash their hands using hand sanitiser. RAOs will also wipe down their equipment using anti-bacterial wipes. We do this to keep everyone safe from the potential transmission of COVID-19.

Hands-free forehead thermometer

Each RAO has a hands-free forehead thermometer. We use these to measure each LSIC participant’s temperature if you are concerned you may have a fever.

If you have any questions or concerns about these protections, please contact the Footprints in Time team. Call 1800 106 235 (free call) or email

Read the Australian, State and Territory Governments’ response to the coronavirus at

About the study

Footprints in Time is the name of the Longitudinal Study of Indigenous Children (LSIC). The study is an initiative of the Australian Government. We conduct the study under the guidance of the Footprints in Time Steering Committee. LSIC is one of a suite of longitudinal studies we are conducting. LSIC aims to provide quality quantitative and qualitative data that can give insights into how a child’s early years affect their development.

The study includes two groups of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander youth. Participants were aged 6 to 18 months (B cohort) and 3.5 - 5 years (K cohort) when the study began in 2008.

The Footprints in Time families are located in many urban, regional and remote areas across Australia.

Location of LSIC families (n=1,255) participating in LSIC Wave 8.

In wave 1, we conducted over 1,680 interviews with the youth’s parents or primary carers. Primary carers were usually mothers. Over 265 interviews were also conducted with fathers or other significant carers. We added more families in our wave 2 interviews. Participants have shown a strong commitment to Footprints in Time. To date, Footprints in Time interviewers have interviewed over 1,200 of these original families for most of the study’s 14 years.

We employ Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research Administration Officers (RAOs). Interviews are primarily conducted by RAOs. Other staff may conduct interviews when required. These may include National Office Indigenous and non-Indigenous staff.

Survey participant privacy

Your privacy is very important to us. Strict procedures ensure that only authorised people have access to your information. Interviewers, researchers and others involved in the study comply with the Privacy Act 1988.

Read Survey Participant Privacy Information for more detail.

Topics addressed by the study

The study covers a wide variety of topics. They include health, learning and development, family and community, for example:

  • study youth’s physical and mental health and social and cognitive development
  • early childhood learning and education
  • study youth’s diet, height and weight
  • direct assessments of Study youth’s literacy, numeracy and reasoning
  • study youth’s access to technology, cyber safety and mobile phone use
  • values and aspirations
  • culture and language
  • parent’s health, social and emotional wellbeing
  • parent’s social networks and support, access to services
  • parental education, work and finances
  • major life events, life satisfaction
  • experience of racism and discrimination
  • family composition and family relationships
  • family history and connection to country and culture
  • study youth and parent engagement with school
  • parenting styles, parenting empowerment and efficacy
  • gambling
  • substance use
  • negative social behaviours and contact with the justice system
  • housing, housing problems and homelessness
  • school, teacher and class characteristics, classroom resources
  • community resources and community safety.

You can find more information from the Data Dictionary and Data User Guide. Both documents are publically available from the Australian Data Archive (ADA) LSIC Dataverse page without applying for the data.

Planning of future waves

We create the content of the future waves of data collection by engaging with:

  • government agencies
  • community stakeholders
  • academic institutions
  • working reference groups.

The Footprints in Time Steering Committee approves the content of data collection. The Human Research Ethics Committee of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) provides ethical clearance for content and fieldwork processes.

If you have suggestions for the content of future data collections, contact

Data access

Data is available to approved researchers from government, academic institutions and non-profit organisations.

Access LSIC data through the ADA Dataverse platform.


Summary Reports

A decade of data

A Decade of Data: Findings from the first 10 years of Footprints in Time follows the developmental pathways of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. It focusses on what helps Indigenous children ‘grow up strong’.

The report includes information about what has changed for families since the interviews first started. There is information in the report about:

  • racism and discrimination
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander language at home and at school
  • school engagement
  • sleep
  • diet
  • exercise
  • dental health 
  • learning Indigenous history
  • culture.

Footprints in Time Wave 5 cover      Footprints in Time Key Summary Report from Wave 5

Document cover image for Time Key Summary Report from Wave 4      Footprints in Time Key Summary Report from Wave 4

Cover of a publication called 'Footprints in Time Key Summary Report from Wave 3'      Footprints in Time Key Summary Report from Wave 3

Cover of a publication called 'Footprints in Time Key Summary Report from Wave 2'       Footprints in Time Key Summary Report from Wave 2

Key Summary Report from Wave 1 book cover       Footprints in Time Key Summary Report from Wave 1

Footprints in Time Family feedback

We are committed to providing feedback to Footprints in Time families participating in the study. We do this through regular newsletters. These include selected findings about the Footprints in Time families and communities where they live.

If you are part of the study and have not recently received your newsletter, please email

Research publications

We publish Data Highlights and Research Summaries. These cover various topics using LSIC and other longitudinal data sets.

Data highlights

Research summaries

Occasional papers

Learn more about the study’s development:

For further bibliographic details of research material using data from LSIC is available. See the Department of Social Services' Longitudinal Surveys Electronic Research archive (FLoSse). FLoSse contains information related to all longitudinal surveys we conduct.

Contact details

For general enquiries about Footprints in Time - The Longitudinal Study of Indigenous Children:

Thank you Videos

We thank all the parents, youth and teachers who have contributed to Footprints in Time over the years.

We asked youths in the study who their role models were. Hear from some of those role models and some of the people who use the data. These Footprints in Time clips feature Eddie Betts, Greg Inglis, Samantha Harris and Mick Dodson.

Let us know what you think by calling 1800 106 235 or emailing

Thank you - Parents Transcript

Thank you - Study Youth Transcript

Related information

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