Today, children and young people face futures that are filled with promise but also considerable challenge. They face a growing global burden of mental health problems and a rapidly changing world. The challenge is to not only to protect the emotional wellbeing of young people but also to prepare them for future adversities not yet fully apparent.

To do this effectively we need comprehensive data mapping social and emotional development, at a whole of population level, from early childhood to young adulthood. The best we have, currently, is a patchwork of disconnected data, at different ages, using different indicators. This means we are ‘flying blind’ when it comes to delivering programs to reduce mental disorder and grow future global citizens.

We have addressed this data gap by building a new Comprehensive Monitoring System (CMS) designed to mapping each age and stage of development, from early childhood to young adulthood, across eight developmentally interconnected census surveys, separated by 3-year intervals, and delivered through universal services serving each age group.

The CMS has been specifically designed to extend the reach of the highly successful Australian Early Development Census (AEDC), which is a federally funded, triennial, census of more than 300,000 school-aged children (5-6 years) that captures over 95% of all children this age across Australia. The aim is to develop a government-ready system which could eventually be rolled out state-wide, or nationally.



Surveys within the CMS have been developmentally sequenced using findings from some of Australia’s most mature life-course and intergenerational cohort studies of emotional life, the oldest of which now spans four decades and crosses three generations. The scientific integrity of indicators is strengthened by machine learning based (living) systematic reviews of the global cohort literature.

In addition, through the CMS, community and government planners are provided with a menu of evidence-based interventions to guide investment choices for responding to early life course risk and resilience profiles measured through Comprehensive Monitoring. The scientific integrity of this menu is maintained by machine learning based (living) systematic reviews of the global trials literature.

Since 2015, the infant, toddler, and middle years surveys have been successfully trialled multiple times in pilot sites across Victoria. Investment in this vision by the Victorian Government at a time of fiscal austerity is highly significant; it represents commitment to the broader goal and signifies substantial opportunity for project expansion to national partners in the future.

The first phase of the system has been successfully trialled in the Loddon-Mallee Region in Northwestern Victoria. The full system is now ready to be tested within larger and more diverse communities, including rural, regional, metropolitan and indigenous.

The CMS represents a partnership between the AEDC (Victorian Department of Education), the Centre for Social and Early Emotional Development (Deakin University), the Human Early Learning Partnership (The University of Bristish Columbia) and LifeCourse (Murdoch Children’s Research) at the Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne.

Details of the implementation of the Comprehensive Monitoring system can be found on our recently published CMS protocol paper available for download. 

Following implementation, ACIL Allen Consulting was engaged by SEED and the Department of Education to undertake an evaluation of the Comprehensive Monitoring system trials in North Central Victoria. The CMS Trial Evaluation Report highlights the strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities of this project. 


On this page:

  • AEDC 2021 Data release
  • Utilising the AEDC
  • Comprehensive Monitoring Project Surveys
  • Partners
  • Contact Us


AEDC 2021 Data Release

In this section:

  • Visualising The Evidence (VTE) – Mapping your community results
  • Community maps
  • Map of Victoria


Visualising The Evidence (VTE) – Mapping your community AEDC results

Maps are a powerful way to understand the Australian early development census (AEDC) results. Visualising The Evidence (VTE) allows you to choose the data you want to see for your community.

The Visualising The Evidence mapping series is a free tool that allows you to choose the data you want to see for your community. You can use the tool to find:

  • the location of schools, early childhood services, parks and public transport
  • socioeconomic measures, such as Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA)
  • proportion of children who are read to regularly
  • household income
  • immunisation and/or breastfeeding rates.

The series has been developed with communities for communities. It brings together public data on children and families and allows you to look at how children are faring in the context of the community they’re growing up in.

You can view both outcome data, such as the AEDC, and data on community services, such as the location of maternal and child health services.

By visualising the existing infrastructure within your community, you can gain insight into the gaps in services and facilities across local areas.

For information on community maps and data sources from previous years, please visit the Victorian Government website.

Community maps and profiles

Download your community PDF Map and Community Profile from the list below. Please contact us if you have any issues with downloading or viewing these documents.

The instructional video below explains how to use the maps and points out new features:


PDF Maps

Community Profiles


Utilising the AEDC

In this section:

  • Case studies
  • Evaluation reports

SEED POD Living Knowledge Portal

SEED POD gives families, schools and communities easy access to information on effective, evidence-based programs for promoting positive social and emotional development from early childhood to young adulthood.

The portal is based on a unique Living Knowledge Review System that scans the global literature to ensure that the best information worldwide is made available to you. Programs are rated by researchers based on the strength of scientific evidence available to support them. Highly rated programs are well suited to responding to challenges in your community.

When you have identified the vulnerability in your community using your results across the five AEDC domains, you can search the SEED POD Living Knowledge Portal to find the ‘best fit’ evidence-based interventions.

This system has been designed by Deakin University’s Centre for Social and Early Emotional Development (SEED) in collaboration with Deakin’s A2I2 artificial intelligence institute, Deakin Library and Deakin Research Communications.

Start searching SEED POD

Case studies

The AEDC affords us the opportunity to examine what is impacting the development of children over time. With a shared language and understanding around how policies and practices impact child development, communities are able to respond to the data and improve outcomes for children.

Visit AEDC Victoria Case Studies for examples of Victorian communities that have responded to AEDC data.

Evaluation reports

Recent evaluation reports show that substantial progress has been made in establishing the Australian Early Development Census (AEDC) as a valued dataset in Australia, and there are key opportunities to improve the uptake and use of AEDC and broader comprehensive monitoring data:

  • Building on the current interest in social and emotional wellbeing
  • Offering schools and communities greater value than their current data
  • Embedding activities in schools.

The Utilisation of the Australian Early Development Census report is available here and the Australian Early Development Census Plus: mobilising data across the early life course report, including policy mapping, is available here.


The Comprehensive Monitoring Surveys

The Comprehensive Monitoring system draws on existing surveys. These three questionnaires focus on social and early emotional development at the community level and include population-level questions that are developmentally appropriate for different ages and stages of development.

Australian Early Development Census (AEDC):

The Australian Early Development Census (AEDC) is a national measure of young children’s development at the commencement of school (age 5) across five areas of early childhood development – physical health and wellbeing, social competence, emotional maturity, language and cognitive skills, and communication skills and general knowledge. The AEDC is based on the Canadian Early Development Instrument (EDI) and has been implemented nationally since 2009.

Toddler Development Instrument (TDI):

The Toddler Development Instrument (TDI) is completed by parents of children age 16 – 20 months, and measures six constructs associated with children’s healthy development – social  interactions and play; health, nutrition, and development; family/community resources and barriers; social environment and support; caregiver beliefs and well-being; and sociodemographic context. The TDI has been tested with parents, community leaders, and child development professionals, and shows potential to identify community strengths and improvement areas to ensure all children and their families have supports to realise the best possible start in life.

Middle Years Development Instrument (MDI):

The Middle Years Development Instrument (MDI) is a self-report measure for children ages 10 and 14 that asks about five areas of development – physical health and well-being, connectedness, social-emotional development, school experiences, and use of after school time – that are strongly associated with children’s health, well-being, and academic achievement. Like the AEDC, MDI data are used at a population level to understand the factors that promote children’s health and wellbeing for the purpose of informing policies, practices, and collaborations to improve children’s social and structural environments.

Our team has previously implemented the TDI and MDI in communities. This has provided us with valuable knowledge and feedback from communities, parents, educators and children. These learnings will enable the successful implementation of all seven surveys in the Comprehensive Monitoring system.

Our team

  • Professor Craig Olsson holds an NHMRC leadership Fellowship in Life Course Epidemiology and is Scientific Director of the Australian Temperament Project which is one of Australia’s longest running cohort studies now spanning 40 years and three-generations. He is committed to bringing findings from cohort studies to life in communities through enhanced population monitoring of child, adolescent and young adult development.
  • Catherine Nolan is Project Director for the Comprehensive Monitoring Project and the Victorian State & Territory Coordinator for the Australian Early Development Census (AEDC). She has considerable experience in policy, health administration, direct service delivery, data collection, stakeholder engagement and translation of data to action. She is a committed advocate of utilising evidence from large population data for policy, programs, and practice.
  • Professor Matthew Fuller-Tyszkiewicz is co-Lead of the Data Science unit within Deakin’s Strategic Research Centre for Social and Early Emotional Development. He and his team focus on use of contemporary quantitative methods for analysing and communicating large scale data projects to academic and community audiences.
  • Dr Christopher Greenwood  is an Early Career Research Fellow at Deakin University, specialising in quantitative analytic methods. He is co-Lead of the Data Science unit within the Strategic Research Centre for Social and Early Emotional Development.
  • Ms Joyce Cleary  is currently an NHMRC PhD candidate documenting the measurement and psychometric properties of key CMS outcomes. She brings 15+ years of government experience in child health and wellbeing surveillance, offering particular specialty in the design and selection of measures and the translation of evidence to inform policy.
  • Dr Primrose Letcher is a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Social and Early Emotional Development, Deakin University and a Clinical Psychologist. She has expertise in project management, participant engagement, survey development, and the assessment and treatment of mental health problems from childhood to adulthood. Her work on the CMS will involve bringing together monitoring of emotional health and wellbeing with evidence-based initiatives to allow communities to identify and support those in need.
  • Professor Toumbourou is the Chair in Health Psychology at Deakin University, Australia. He is the Leader of Translation Science in the Deakin University Centre for Social and Early Emotional Development.
  • Dr Kate Lycett is a co-funded NHMRC and National Heart Foundation Early Career Researcher. Kate’s research focuses on building healthy environments that can wrap around and nurture child wellbeing. Her research interests span child mental health, sleep, obesity, cardiovascular health, epidemiology, air pollution, public health, and wellbeing at both the individual and societal levels. Dr Lycett is the research lead for The Australian Unity Wellbeing Index and The Breathe Melbourne Citizen Science Project.
  • Tom Peachey is a Principal at ACIL Allen with over Tom is a principal at ACIL Allen with over fifteen years’ experience in supporting policy formulation and review through roles as a government executive, manager and principal consultant.
  • Dr Kimberly Thomson is an is an Evaluation Specialist with the Population and Public Health unit at the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control in Vancouver, Canada. Her role supports the monitoring and evaluation of health promotion initiatives including population mental wellness and healthy schools and communities. Kim’s research background is in social determinants of mental health across the early life course and into the next generation. She completed her postdoctoral training both in Melbourne and Vancouver, at the Centre for Social and Early Emotional Development at Deakin University, the Human Early Learning  Partnership at the University of British Columbia, and with the Centre for Health Evaluation and Outcome Sciences.
  • Dr Camille Leane is a postdoctoral fellow with the Centre for Social and Early Emotional Development (SEED) at Deakin University. She co-leads the Systematic Review Hub, a group that develops evidence synthesis materials for staff and students and facilitates a review internship program for students. Camille is the project manager of the Living Knowledge System, a collaborative project between SEED, Deakin’s Applied Artificial Intelligence Institute, Deakin Library, and Deakin Comms. The Living Knowledge System uses artificial intelligence to semi-automate systematic review tasks and enable living systematic reviews that provide end-users with the most contemporary evidence.
  • Dr Martin Guhn is an Associate Professor at the Human Early Learning Partnership, School of Population and Public Health, UBC. He is also a member of the Canadian Council on the Social Determinants of Health. Dr. Guhn has a PhD in Human Development (UBC), and degrees in Psychology and Music. His research focuses on understanding how early childhood experiences and social, cultural, demographic, and socio-economic context factors are related to children’s and adolescents’ development, health, wellbeing, and education.
  • Dr Anne Gadermann is an Assistant Professor at the Human Early Learning Partnership (HELP), School of Population and Public Health, and Research Scientist at the Centre for Health Evaluation and Outcomes Sciences (CHÉOS), Providence Health Care Research Institute. Her research focuses on examining how risk and protective factors at different ecological levels (i.e., family, school, neighbourhood) are associated with mental health and well-being outcomes in children and youth. This research draws from large-scale linked datasets, including student- and teacher-reported survey data as well as administrative health and education data.
  • Ms Fernanda Bertram de Moraes has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology (Honours) from Deakin University. Fernanda moved to Australia after working as a Dentist in Brazil where she also conducted research in Public Health. Fernanda joined the project through the Department of Education, working alongside stakeholders to promote community engagement and coordinate data collection for the AEDC and Comprehensive Monitoring Project.

Partner organisations

We extend our thanks to the Shires of Loddon and Buloke for partnering with our team in 2020. The project is led by the Centre for Social and Early Emotional Development (SEED) at Deakin University, the Victorian Department of Education, and the Human Early Learning Partnership (University of British Columbia, Canada). The project is funded by the Ian Potter Foundation, National Health and Medical Research Council, and the Victorian Department of Education.

Contact us

For further enquiries, contact: