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 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. 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. The information collected is the property of the Department of Social Services.

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
  • 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
  • Child and parent engagement with school
  • Parenting styles, parenting empowerment and efficacy
  • Gambling
  • Substance use
  • Housing, housing problems and homelessness
  • School, teacher and class characteristics, classroom resources
  • Community safety.

Data collection from Wave 8

Wave 8 data was collected between February and December 2015. Wave 8 included new questions about 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 answered new questions about what is good about school, family relationships and friendships.

Wave 9 and beyond

Wave 9 interviews commenced in February 2016. New topics in Wave 9 include: caring responsibilities of parents and study children, regular health checks, starting high school, children boarding at school/living away from home for school. Children in the older (K) cohort have new questions about social and emotional wellbeing (including the Strong Souls questions collected from parents in previous waves).

Planning for Wave 10 survey content began in January 2016. If you have suggestions for the content for future waves, please contact us at

Data access

LSIC Release 7 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 7.0 is the latest publicly released version of the LSIC data available. It contains data from waves 1 to 7 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 to access 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 2015 for Wave 7:

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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