Comprehensive monitoring: an Australian Early Development Census extension project

The Comprehensive Monitoring System helps capture and respond to children's and young people's social and emotional development.

The Comprehensive Monitoring System (CMS) is an AEDC extension project in Victoria that emerged from the desire of both governments and local communities to have access to relevant data complementing the AEDC.

The CMS collects information through seven short surveys, which are rolled out every three years alongside the AEDC and are delivered at key developmental points in life: infancy, toddlerhood, Prep (AEDC), Year 3, Year 6, Year 9, Year 12, and at 21 years of age.

The CMS surveys collect information about children’s and young people’s mental health and wellbeing and are primarily delivered through existing universal platforms (Maternal & Child Health, and schools) to make sure we achieve the highest participation rates possible.

In 2021-2022, we are trialing the full monitoring system in the Victorian Shires of Buloke, Loddon and Gannawarra. The approach holds considerable promise for strengthening community-based approaches to promoting mental health and wellbeing for people at all ages and stages across the community.

The CMS builds on decades of longitudinal research that has repeatedly shown that every age and stage of development across the first 10,000 days of life matters in the lives of children and young people and at no point in a person’s development can investments be dropped without significant consequences

The work is being jointly progressed by the Centre for Social and Early Emotional Development (SEED) at Deakin University, the Victorian Department of Education and Training, and the Human Early Learning Partnership (University of British Columbia, Canada).

As well as building on the AEDC, the CMS builds on the Australian Temperament Project which, over the past three decades, has been systematically following the health and development of over 2000 young Australians, from infancy to adulthood and into the next generation.