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.

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:

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 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
  • Housing, housing problems and homelessness
  • School, teacher and class characteristics, classroom resources
  • Community safety.

Data collection from wave 9

Wave 9 data was collected between February and December 2016. Wave 9 included questions about 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 were asked new questions about social and emotional wellbeing (including the Strong Souls questions collected from parents in previous waves).

Wave 10 and beyond

Wave 10 interviews commenced in February 2017. New topics in wave 10 include racism, social skills of the study children, negative social behaviour and contact with the justice system, closeness of relationships, and activities the children do outside of school such as dance, sport, music and learning about culture.

Planning for wave 11 survey content began in January 2017. If you have suggestions for the content for future waves, please contact us at

Data access

LSIC Release 8 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 8.0 is the latest publicly released version of the LSIC data available. It contains data from waves 1 to 8 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 7.0, 6.0 and prior) wishing to access the latest release will need to re-apply.

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:

Community feedback sheets 2016 for wave 8:

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:

Thankyou Videos

Footprints in Time clips with Eddie Betts, Greg Inglis, Samantha Harris and Mick Dodson.

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.

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

Thankyou - Parents Transcript

Thankyou - Study Youth Transcript

Related information

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