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The Developmental Pathways in WA Children Project (DPP) was established in 2005, and is a truly landmark project that takes a multidisciplinary and holistic approach to investigate pathways to health and wellbeing.

The DPP was established to create and maintain the infrastructure linkage of non-Health datasets into the WA Data Linkage System (WADLS) to enable the investigation, monitoring, reporting and evaluation of outcomes across health and social service sectors. This capacity to routinely link to social sector data, to examine developmental and social outcomes among WA children and young people, is unique in Australia.

Researchers from Telethon Kids and the University of Western Australia currently partner with a number of WA government agencies, including the Department of Health, Department of Communities, Department of Justice, Department of Education, Department of Treasury, WA Police and the Mental Health Commission.

With the Department of Health, the DPP established the process of linking together de-identified longitudinal, population-based data collected and stored by a number of WA government departments and Telethon Kids. To date, the DPP has enabled the incorporation of population data assets from education, disability, child protection, corrective services, courts and police into the WADLS.

Over the last 10 years, cross-agency data linkage, largely facilitated by the DPP, has enabled researchers to identify risk factors and monitor outcomes across many important research areas including mental and physical health, child abuse and neglect, alcohol and drug use, juvenile delinquency, disability, education and housing. This research is used to influence government policy and practice and improve public services.