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

Are you part of the Footprints in Time family?

Keeping in touch

Please keep in touch! If you have moved, are going to move or have changed your contact details please let us know by:

  • Contacting your interviewer (also known as RAO or Research Administration Officer)
  • Emailing; or
  • Calling our free call number 1800 106 235.

Providing feedback and sharing stories

If you have anything you would like to share with us about being in the study, good or bad, please contact us using the details listed above.

Concerns or complaints?

If you have any concerns or complaints you can contact the Executive Officer, Human Research Ethics Committee of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS), AIATSIS, 51 Lawson Crescent, Acton ACT 2601 or by email:

Data collection in 2020 – Wave 13

Data is usually collected by departmental Research Administration Officers (RAOs) who visit Footprints in Time families and conduct face-to-face interviews between February and December each year.

In order to minimise the risk of Coronavirus (COVID-19) transmission, face-to-face interviews won’t be conducted in 2020. Instead, we will contact Footprints in Time families to do short telephone interviews. Telephone interviews will be conducted from June to December this year.

Details on the Australian, State and Territory Governments response to the coronavirus can be found at

About the study

Footprints in Time is the name given to the Longitudinal Study of Indigenous Children (LSIC), an initiative of the Australian Government. Footprints in Time is conducted by the Department of Social Services (DSS) under the guidance of the Footprints in Time Steering Committee, chaired by Professor Mick Dodson AM. LSIC is one of a suite of longitudinal studies within the National Centre for Longitudinal Data (NCLD) in DSS.

The study includes two groups of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander children who were aged 6 to 18 months (B cohort) and 3½ - 5 years (K cohort) when the study began in 2008.

In wave 1, over 1,680 interviews were conducted with the children’s parents or primary carers (usually the mothers) and over 265 interviews were conducted with fathers or other significant carers. Subsequent waves experienced strong support from these initial interviewees. To date, Footprints in Time interviewers have successfully contacted and interviewed over 1,200 of these original families in each subsequent annual wave. Additional families were introduced within our wave 2 interviews and have shown a similarly strong commitment to Footprints in Time.

Interviews are primarily conducted by Department of Social Services Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research Administration Officers (RAOs). Interviews may also be conducted by other National Office Indigenous and non-Indigenous staff when required.

Topics addressed by the study

The study covers a wide variety of topics about children’s health, learning and development, their family and community, for example:

  • Children’s physical and mental health and social and cognitive development
  • Early childhood learning and education
  • Children’s diet, height and weight
  • Direct assessments of children’s literacy, mathematics and reasoning
  • Child’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
  • Child 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.

Planning of future waves

Content of the future waves of data collection is created through consultations with government agencies, community stakeholders, academic institutions, and working reference groups. The content for each wave of data collection is approved by the Footprints in Time Steering Committee; ethical clearance for the content and fieldwork processes is obtained from the Human Research Ethics Committee of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS).

If you have suggestions for the content of future waves of data collection, please contact

Data access

LSIC aims to provide high quality quantitative and qualitative data that can be used to provide a better insight into how a child’s early years affect their development.

LSIC data can be accessed from the Australian Data Archive Dataverse platform. Dataverse provides no cost data access and allows authorised data users to download the datasets to their password-protected PC, secure network or approved cloud.

Each release of LSIC contains data from all waves (from wave 1 to the latest available wave). Data documentation (including a Data User Guide, Data Dictionary, mark-up questionnaires and technical papers for the study) is available for download on the LSIC Dataverse page. The data is released in SAS, SPSS and Stata formats.

Further information on applying for the data is available from Access to DSS Longitudinal Datasets web-page or from LSIC page on Dataverse.


Key Summary Report

Key Summary Reports provide a selection of research findings from each wave.

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

Community feedback

LSIC is committed to providing feedback to families and communities participating in the study. This is done through the yearly mail out of publications that include selected findings about the Footprints in Time families and communities where they live.

If you are participating in the study and have not received your publications for this year, please contact us at and we will send the publications to you.

Research publications

The NCLD publishes Data Highlights and Research Summaries about various topics using LSIC and other longitudinal data sets including:

Publications relating to the study’s development can be found here:

For further bibliographic details of research material using data from LSIC you can access The Department of Social Services' Longitudinal Surveys Electronic Research archive (FLoSse), which contains information related to all longitudinal surveys conducted by DSS.

Contact details

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

Thank you Videos

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

We asked kids in the study who their role models were – now we get to 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

Last updated: