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

Are you a 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 local RAO (Research Administration Officer)
  • Emailing; or
  • Calling our  free call number 1800 106 235.

Providing feedback and sharing stories

We have received some very positive feedback and great stories from parents involved in the study. If you have anything you would like to share with us about being in the study, please contact us using the details listed above.

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 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 subsequent waves. Further families were also 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. The information collected is the property of the Department of Social Services.

Highlights from individual waves

Wave 1: Initial topics included: maternal and child health, family life, growing up strong, learning and doing, strong souls and safe communities.

Wave 2: New topics included: child support, stolen generations and pre-school. Changes in family life structure were also included as part of ongoing data collection.

Wave 3: New topics included: schooling, physical activities, money issues and homelessness. Experience with racism and its impact was also explored in detail.

Wave 4: New topics included: reading practices, exercise routines of the child/parent and involvement with camping and religious services. The implementation of an English reading comprehension test, for the older cohort (K cohort), was also a key addition to the study.

Wave 5: New topics included: measures of life satisfaction, parenting empowerment and efficacy, the child's peers and access of fathers to paternity leave. From previous waves, questions about social and emotional wellbeing, major life events, general and dental health of the child, schooling, temperament and the stolen generations were repeated.

Wave 6: New topics included: children’s fruit and vegetable intake, sharing food, community safety and wellbeing. Children in the older (K) cohort also had a new mathematics assessment alongside additional questions about school.

Wave 7 data collection

Wave 7 data was collected between February and December 2014. Wave 7 included new questions about oral health, after-school activities, puberty, and bullying, and the matrix reasoning assessment (a component of Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children) was administered for the first time to all study children. Children in the older (K) cohort repeated the mathematics assessment from Wave 6.

Wave 8 and beyond

Wave 8 interviews commenced in February 2015. New topics in wave 8 include: parents’ and carers’ family history and connection to places and people, teaching study child to deal with being angry and sad, learning to manage money, information technology and mobile telephone use. Children in the older (K) cohort have new questions about what is good about school, family relationships and friendships.

Planning for Wave 9 survey content began in January 2015. If you have suggestions for future waves’ content, please contact us at

Data access

LSIC Release 6 is the latest data release available

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. 

Release 6.0 is the latest publicly released version of the LSIC data available. It contains data from waves 1 to 6 of LSIC. The release CD includes Stata, SAS and SPSS datasets with extensive documentation.

Prospective users must complete a deed of licence to access LSIC data. Users of earlier releases of the data (i.e. Release 5.0, 4.1 and prior) wishing to access the latest release will need to re-apply for access.

Further information on licensing arrangements and ordering the data is available from Access to DSS Longitudinal Datasets web-page.

Data documentation

LSIC data documentation

Questions about these documents should be directed to Requests for access to mark-up questionnaires used within the study may also be made to this address.

Technical papers


Key Summary Report

Key Summary Reports are released annually and 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 Community Booklets and the yearly Community Feedback Sheets.  The most recent releases of these publications can be found here:

Findings from Wave 5 of Footprints in Time - 2014

Community feedback sheets 2013 for Wave 5:

Research publications

Footprints in Time have provided pivotal resources for research to understand the factors behind growth and development of Indigenous children. 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:

Related information

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