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released: 6 Dec 2010 author: AIHW

A strong family social network provides access to support and resources, and is linked to better outcomes for children's health, development and wellbeing. This report describes the process of developing a Children's Headline Indicator designed to measure the quality of families' social interactions. It presents research evidence on the importance of the quality of family social networks for children's outcomes, assesses potential indicators and data sources, and recommends an indicator based on the ability of a family to get help when needed.

ISBN 978-1-74249-096-0; Cat. no. PHE 131; 52pp.; Internet only

Full publication

Publication table of contents

  • Preliminary material
    • Title & verso title
    • Contents
    • Acknowledgments
    • Abbreviations
    • Summary 
      • Identifying and defining a Headline Indicator
      • Next steps
  • Body content
    1. Introduction
      • 1.1 Process of identifying a Headline Indicator
        • Literature review
        • Review of relevant indicator frameworks and reports
        • Consultation with experts
        • Bringing it all together
    2. Definition and conceptualisation
      • 2.1 Family social network defined
      • 2.2 Relevant concepts
      • 2.3 An ecological approach
        • An ecological perspective on families’ social relationships and children’s wellbeing
      • 2.4 Summary
    3. Family social network and children’s wellbeing
      • 3.1 Research evidence
      • 3.2 Summary
    4. Policy context
      • 4.1 Social Inclusion Agenda
      • 4.2 Early Childhood Reform Agenda
      • 4.3 Family Support Program
    5. Identifying and defining a Headline Indicator
      • 5.1 Agreed conceptual basis
      • 5.2 Selecting a single Headline Indicator
      • 5.3 Summary
    6. 6 Data sources and data issues
      • 6.1 Data sources
      • 6.2 Comparison of available data and data issues
        • Question wording
        • Sample size
        • Counting units
      • 6.3 Key issues for data collection methodology
        • Broad conceptual issues
        • Counting unit
        • Data collection issues
      • 6.4 Summary
  • End matter
    • Appendix 1: Headline Indicators for children’s health, development and wellbeing
    • Appendix 2: Headline Indicator Data Development Expert Working Group
    • Appendix 3: Family social network workshop participants
    • Appendix 4: Indicator frameworks and reports reviewed
    • Appendix 5: Importance of relationships within the family
      • Parental capacity, parenting styles and practices
      • Family functioning and cohesion
    • Appendix 6: Association between ‘ability to get support’ and other social capital measures
      • Supplementary information for Table A6.1
    • Appendix 7: Data sources
      • ABS General Social Survey
        • Scope
        • Sample size
        • Collection methodology
        • Counting units
        • Survey question
        • Further information
      • ABS National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey
        • Scope
        • Sample size
        • Collection methodology
        • Counting units
        • Survey question
        • Further information
      • Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey
        • Scope
        • Sample size
        • Collection methodology
        • Counting units
        • Survey question
        • Further information
      • Growing up in Australia: the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children
        • Scope
        • Sample size
        • Collection methodology
        • Counting units
        • Survey questions
        • Further information
      • ABS Family Characteristics and Transitions Survey
        • Scope
        • Sample size
        • Collection methodology
        • Counting units
        • Survey question
        • Further information
    • References

Notes and corrections

The current version of the publication is presented above.

Previous versions of files that have been updated or corrected are presented below.

  1. (26 August 2011) Acknowledgements relating to the use of data from the Household Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey and Growing up in Australia: the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC) have been included on pages 38 and 40.

Recommended citation

AIHW 2010. Family social network: development of a Children's Headline Indicator. Cat. no. PHE 131. Canberra: AIHW. Viewed 21 September 2014 <http://www.aihw.gov.au/publication-detail/?id=6442472424>.