The BetterStart Health and Development Research group has published extensively in the fields of epidemiology, public health, nutrition, criminology, paediatrics, social work, biostatistics and psychology.

Our research

Our research interests include health and development of children and young people, social and health inequality, child maltreatment, pragmatic RCTs and quasi-experiments of early life interventions, large scale linked data systems to enhance evidence-based public health, and producing epidemiological research that is useful for improving policy, practice and service delivery.

You can view a full version of what we do by clicking the image.

There are seven research themes which are underpinned by use of the BEBOLD platform.

  • Social Determinants
  • Child Protection
  • Justice
  • Development, Early Learning and Education 
  • Health in the first 1000 days
  • Child & Adolescent Health and Wellbeing 
  • Experimental and QE Evaluation

You can view a full version of our BEBOLD foundation slide by clicking the image.

Our objectives

Social Determinants
To investigate the role of social determinants and the impact they have on later health, wellbeing, welfare and justice outcomes.  These social determinants include poverty, access to secure and safe housing, employment, education, social inclusion, and intergenerational disadvantage.

Child Protection
To investigate the precursors and consequences of child maltreatment ranging from intergenerational and familial history of child maltreatment and welfare experience, through to child outcomes including development, health, education, justice system contact, welfare receipt, poverty and homelessness.

To investigate opportunities for early investment, diversion and prevention by understanding the precursors and consequences of offending behaviour and criminal justice system contact.

Development, Early Learning and Education 
To investigate the risk and protective factors across the life course and the role of early childhood education and care on later life outcomes.

Health in the first 1000 days 
To investigate the foundational period which shapes key aspects of biological and social development and wellbeing of a child’s life from conception to two years of age. This includes factors relating to perinatal health such as prematurity, health and development during infancy including nutrition and serious illness, parental physical and mental health during pregnancy.

Child & Adolescent Health and Wellbeing
To better understand the transitions from childhood to adolescence with a focus on the mental and physical health and wellbeing of young people.

Experimental and QE Evaluation
To provide high-quality evidence of “what works”. We will use data on child and family receipt of services or interventions to compare their outcomes with comparable children and families who did not receive the service or intervention. This will provide insights into the effectiveness of services, interventions, programs, and policies aimed at improving health, development, wellbeing and welfare outcomes.