Leaving care

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Life after growing up in care : informing policy and practice through research.
MurrayS and Goddard J
Australian Social Work v. 67 no. 1 Jan 2014: 102-117

Existing research on the impact of growing up in care focuses upon either the care experience itself or the period of transition from care to independence. Our knowledge of outcomes largely ceases when former residents of the care system reach their early twenties. There are strong social justice reasons for extending research into the older adult lives of such young people. We know a great deal about the multiple disadvantages that such individuals face as children. But research is largely silent about their subsequent adult lives. While we must be cautious in drawing causal links to the childhood care experience as the time period since life in care extends, we know that early experiences can affect care-leavers across their life course - just as childhood experience affects all adults in a variety of ways. In this review, we highlight evidence drawn from research in Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada, Ireland, and the United States, with particular attention paid to the first two of those countries. We use a wide range of sources and identify areas for further consideration, including access to personal records, mental health, education, and parenting. By doing so, we seek to open up this area for further research with the hope that such research will lead to an increasing recognition of care-leavers' needs and thus to improvements in social policy and service provision.

Young people transitioning from out-of-home care in Victoria : strengthening support services for dual clients of child protection and youth justice.
Mendes P, Baidawi S and Snow P
Australian Social Work v. 67 no. 1 Jan 2014: 6-23

A significant proportion of young people leaving out-of-home care make their transition to independence via the youth justice system, exposing them to further risks and reducing their likelihood of full social and economic engagement in mainstream society. This article presents the initial findings of a research project based on a partnership between Monash University and seven nongovernment child and youth welfare agencies in Victoria, Australia. Seventy-seven key stakeholders participated in interviews and focus groups with a view to identifying practices and policies that could reduce the over-representation of young people leaving out-of-home care in the youth justice system. Factors that contributed to offending included varied responses by the child protection and youth justice systems, limited utility of leaving care plans, and the availability of a range of preventative and diversionary programs. The findings point to a need for more formalised interagency collaboration, and intensification of the interventions and supports offered both in custodial settings and post discharge from custody or care.

Young people transitioning from out-of-home care : an issue of social justice.
Mendes P, Pinkerton J and Munro E
Australian Social Work v. 67 no. 1 Jan 2014: 1-4

This edition of Australian Social Work looks at the issue of young people transitioning from out-of-home care as a social justice concern. This guest editorial reflects of the topic.

Young people transitioning from out of home care to adulthood: review of policy and program approaches in Australia and overseas.
Beauchamp T
Parramatta : UnitingCare, 2014

This paper examines the outcomes of young people leaving care. It reviews Australian and international approaches that are relevant to improving outcomes for young people transitioning from care to adulthood.

A strong future for young people leaving out-of-home care: UnitingCare Children Young People and Families position paper on leaving care and aftercare.
Beauchamp T
Parramatta : UnitingCare, 2014

Young people leaving care are at a high risk of social exclusion, poverty and poor outcomes in later life. This paper outlines strategies that governments could adopt to ensure that young people transitioning from care are provided with the appropriate support.

Children in the out-of-home care system.
Cashmore J
Hayes, Alan, ed. Higgins, Daryl J., ed. Families, policy and the law : selected essays on contemporary issues for Australia. Melbourne, Vic. : Australian Institute of Family Studies, 2014. 9781922038487: 143-149

There has been a significant growth in the number of children being removed from the care of their parents in Australia - many of whom are placed in relative or kinship care. Children benefit from permanence and feeling secure in their placement. Although Australia has a relatively low rate of adoption from care, compared to UK and US, this reflects the lessons from past practices where ties with biological family were severed. This essay explores the role of shared family care in Australia - an alternative model for out-of-home care where the whole family is 'fostered' rather than the child. It may expand the pool of carers, and balance the needs of protecting children while providing permanence and maintenance of identity and family connection.

Homelessness and leaving care: the experience of young adults in Queensland and Victoria and implications for practice (PDF)
Queensland University of Technology. School of Public Health and Social Work
Brisbane : Queensland University of Technology, 2013.

"This research first asks 'What happens when young people leave state care?' in respect of Victoria and Queensland and second 'What are the service support implications of this?' A number of methods were used to explore these questions including semi-structured interviews with 27 young adults aged 19-23 years who had been homeless or at risk of homelessness, and focus groups with young people and service providers. The interviews and focus groups gathered young people's experiences of leaving care, what has assisted them, and what they think is needed in terms of support. Service provider perspectives and current leaving care provisions were also canvassed."

Current trends, figures and challenges in out of home child care : an international comparative analysis.
Del Valle J and Bravo A
Psychosocial Intervention v. 22 no. 3 Dec 2013: 251-257

This article explores themes across out of home care systems around the world. Sixteen countries with different cultural, historical, and social welfare contexts are compared, including USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, England, Ireland, Sweden, Norway, Germany, The Netherlands, Switzerland, France, Italy, Spain, Hungary and Romania. Issues include the 'rescue' model of institutional care, children from ethnic minorities, unaccompanied asylum seekers, family foster care versus residential care, kinship care vesus non-relative foster care, use of adoption, leaving care and the transition to adult life, professionalisation of the sector, data collection for planning and evaluation, and the impact of the financial crisis.

Child protection and out of home care : policy, practice, and research connections Australia and New Zealand.
Fernandez E and Atwool N
Psychosocial Intervention v. 22 no. 3 Dec 2013: 175-184

This article reviews developments in child protection and out of home care in Australia and New Zealand, including the historical, legal, and policy context and contemporary debates, trends, and innovations. Particular issues facing both countries include the over-representation of Indigenous children in out of home care, placement stability, and support for care leavers.

Young people transitioning from out-of-home care in Victoria: strengthening support services for dual clients of Child Protection and Youth Justice : phase two report
Mendes P, Snow P and Baidawi S
Melbourne : Monash University, 2013.

Young people leaving state out of home care are one of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged groups in society, and are over-represented in the criminal justice system and youth detention facilities. This report presents findings from phase 2 of the Leaving Care and Youth Justice project, which featured interviews with 15 young adults in Victoria on their experiences of out of home care, leaving care, and post-care outcomes. Experiences of childhood abuse, difficulties at school, and criminal behaviour are also discussed. The study was conducted by Monash University in partnership with seven non-government child and youth welfare agencies in Victoria.

Queensland Government response to the Queensland Child Protection Commission of Inquiry final report 'Taking responsibility - a roadmap for Queensland child protection'
Queensland, Queensland Child Protection Commission of Inquiry. Taking responsibility : a roadmap for Queensland child protection.
Brisbane, Qld. : Queensland Government, 2013.

The Queensland Child Protection Commission of Inquiry was established on 1 July 2012 to review the performance and effectiveness of the child protection system in Queensland. In its final 2013 report, the Commission stated that despite the hard work and good intentions of many and the large amounts of money invested in it since 2000, the child protection system is not ensuring the safety, wellbeing and best interests of children as it should or could, and that the public perception of a system under stress is justified. 121 recommendations were included, forming a Child Protection Reform Roadmap. In this official response, the Government of Queensland reviews each of the recommendations and notes how it will implement the necessary reforms.

Shining a light on good practice in NSW: stories from child protection and out-of-home care (PDF)
New South Wales. Dept. of Family and Community Services
Sydney, N.S.W. : Family and Community Services, 2013

This report shares the stories of practitioners working with families and children in New South Wales. It highlights examples of good practice in early intervention, child protection, out of home care, and leaving care.

Working with vulnerable children, young people and families
Brotherton G and Cronin T
Abingdon, England : Routledge, 2013.

"The potential for early intervention to prevent social problems later in life has become the focus of much debate in recent years and finds itself at the centre of contemporary social policy. The meaning of 'vulnerability' - one of the key concepts in this drive - is examined in this book, as well as the relationship between vulnerability and the individual, communities and society. This book introduces ... a broad debate around what constitutes vulnerability and related concepts such as risk and resilience, and examines how vulnerability has been conceptualised by policy makers with a clear focus on early intervention. Adopting a case study approach, it opens with chapters examining the concept of vulnerability from sociological, psychological and social policy perspectives before looking at examples around disability, homelessness, leaving care, victims of violence, sexual abuse, prison, the Internet and drug use."

Young people leaving care and the impact of family homelessness and trauma - Victoria's response.
Miller R
Parity v. 26 no. 5 Jun 2013: 14-16

This article describes the characteristics and issues of young people leaving care in Victoria and what the state government is doing to support them through this period - in particular to prevent homelessness. As well as funding a suite of programs, the government has also commissioned a 5-year longitudinal study to better understand young people's experiences during the transition from out of home care. This study is being undertaken by the Australian Institute of Family Studies.

Understanding permanence for looked after children: a review of research for the Care Inquiry
Boddy J
England : The Care Inquiry, 2013.

This paper reviews the literature on the issue of permanence for children in out of home care. It discusses the British and international research on the meaning and conceptualisation of permanence, the purpose of out of home care, older children and permanence and adoption, ethnicity, unrelated foster care and kinship care, residential care, quality and continuity, returning home, leaving care, placement stability, and pathways to permanence.

The views and recommendations of children and young people involved in the Care Inquiry
Adoption UK (Organization), British Association for Adoption and Fostering, Family Rights Group, Fostering Network, Research in Practice (Organization), Adolescent and Children's Trust, Who Cares? Trust, Together Trust
England : The Care Inquiry, 2013.

The Care Inquiry was established in 2012 by eight leading charities working with children and families in England. It set set out to investigate how best to provide stable and permanent homes for vulnerable children who are unable to live with their parents. As part of the study, the 'Who Cares? Trust' consulted children and young people in London who had experienced different forms of care, including adoption, fostering, kinship care and residential care. This report presents these young people's views and their ideas for improving the care system in England.

Taking responsibility: a roadmap for Queensland child protection (PDF)
Carmody T
Brisbane Qld. : Queensland Child Protection Commission of Inquiry, 2013.

This is the final report of the Queensland Child Protection Commission of Inquiry. The inquiry was established on 1 July 2012 to review the performance and effectiveness of the child protection system in Queensland. The Inquiry was also asked to develop a 10 year plan on creating and delivering the best possible system that the state can afford. This report presents the conclusions and recommendations of the Inquiry, as well as a new roadmap for child welfare. The public perception of a system under stress is justified. Over the last decade, child protection intakes have tripled, the rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care has tripled, the number of children in out-of-home care has more than doubled, and children in care are staying there for longer periods. However, the Inquiry believes this situation can be turned around, with reforms that divert families from the statutory system, support vulnerable families, support children leaving care, support the child protection workforce, and improve public confidence.

Experiencing out-of-home care in Australia: the views of children and young people : Create report card 2013 (PDF)
McDowall J
Sydney, NSW : CREATE Foundation, 2013.

The CREATE Foundation report card series evaluates the needs and progress of children and young people in the out-of-home care system in Australia and provides insights into their experiences. This 2013 report card presents the views of over 1,000 children and young people on life in care, placement satisfaction, contact with family and friends, health, education, life skills and transitioning to independence, and interaction with case planning and caseworkers.

Discussion paper
Queensland Child Protection Commission of Inquiry
Brisbane Qld. : Queensland Child Protection Commission of Inquiry, 2013.

The Queensland Child Protection Commission of Inquiry was established on 1 July 2012 to review the performance and effectiveness of the child protection system in Queensland. It follows on from the 1999 Commission of Inquiry into Abuse of Children in Queensland Institutions (the Forde Inquiry) and the 2004 Crime and Misconduct Commission Inquiry, to assess progress so far and make recommendations for the future. This discussion paper invites submissions to the inquiry and presents initial discussions on the topics of reducing demand on the tertiary system, investigating and assessing child protection reports, working with children in care, young people leaving care, addressing the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, workforce development, oversight and complaints mechanisms, courts and tribunals, and funding.

Making not breaking: building relationships for our most vulnerable children : findings and recommendations of the Care Inquiry.
Adoption UK (Organization), British Association for Adoption and Fostering, Family Rights Group, Fostering Network, Research in Practice (Organization), Adolescent and Children's Trust, Who Cares? Trust, Together Trust
England : The Care Inquiry, 2013

The Care Inquiry set out to investigate how best to provide stable and permanent homes for vulnerable children in England who are unable to live with their parents. The Inquiry was established in 2012 by eight leading charities working with children and families in England. This report presents the findings and recommendations of the Inquiry, in the areas of promoting relationships and participation, improving transitions, workforce development, and system change.

Specialist homelessness services 2011-12
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
Canberra : Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2012.

In 2011-12, specialist homelessness services assisted approximately 230,000 clients in Australia. Of these clients, 56% were at risk of homelessness, 44% were already homeless and 11% were sleeping without shelter or in improvised or inadequate shelter when they first began receiving support. This report presents findings from the Specialist Homelessness Services Collection, and describes the clients of specialist homelessness agencies, assistance sought and provided, and client outcomes following support. It also discusses client trends and unmet demand, and profiles special client groups including children and young people, older people, Indigenous people, families, young people leaving care or with a care or protection order, people experiencing family violence, people with mental health issues, and ex-prisoners. Domestic violence is a major cause of homelessness in Australia, with 34% of clients having experienced domestic or family violence.

2011 Views of Children and Young People in Foster Care Survey: overview and selected findings
Queensland. Commission for Children and Young People and Child Guardian.
Brisbane, Qld. : Commission for Children and Young People and Child Guardian, 2012.

This report summarises findings from the fourth Views of Children and Young People in Foster Care survey, conducted with children and young people living in foster care, kinship care, or specialist foster care in Queensland in 2011. This year, 2,754 children, young people, and carers of very young children responded. The survey asked about well being, satisfaction with care, placement history, satisfaction with child protection system, support, community visitors, case plans, education, health, contact with family, and the impacts of being in care. This report presents selected findings: more detailed findings on education and on health and wellbeing are published separately.

Your views--: from the 2011 Views of Children and Young People in Foster Care Survey
Queensland. Commission for Children and Young People and Child Guardian
Brisbane, Qld. : Commission for Children and Young People and Child Guardian, 2012.

The Commission for Children and Young People and Child Guardian in Queensland conducted a survey of children and young people in foster care in 2011. This booklet summarises the survey findings for the young participants to read. It includes attitudes of young people towards their carers and community visitors, whether they feel better off or worse off for being in foster care, outlines some advantages and disadvantages of living in care, transitions from care for 18 year olds, and reports their suggestions for improvements to the system.

Examining the health and mental health care needs and experiences of a group of young people transitioning from out of home care in rural Victoria.
Mendes P
Communities, Children and Families Australia v. 6 no. 1 Jun 2012: 30-42

Young people leaving state out-of-home care are arguably one of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged groups in society. Many have been found to experience significant health, social and educational deficits. In recent years, most Australian States and Territories have introduced specialist leaving care and after care programs and supports, but there has been only limited examination of policy and practice outcomes. This paper examines the experiences of a group of young people involved in the leaving care and after care support program introduced by St Luke's Anglicare in the Victorian town of Bendigo which provides a strengths-based holistic safety net for care leavers. Particular attention is drawn to their health and mental health needs including issues of substance abuse.

Young people transitioning from out-of-home care in Victoria: strengthening support services for dual clients of Child Protection and Youth Justice
Mendes P, Snow P and Baidawi S
Melbourne : Monash University, 2012.

Young people leaving state out of home care are one of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged groups in society, and are over-represented in the criminal justice system and youth detention facilities. This report presents initial findings from a research study of the practices and policies that could promote the inclusion of care leavers into mainstream social and economic life and reduce the number of young people leaving out of home care via the juvenile justice system. The study was conducted by Monash University in partnership with seven non-government child and youth welfare agencies in Victoria.

The challenges of supporting young people transitioning from care in rural Victoria.
Saunders N and Fell M
Developing Practice: The Child, Youth and Family Work Journal no. 33 Spring 2012: 111-117

This article describes the work of Junction Support Services in the Hume region of regional Victoria, and the issues they face in helping young people transition from out-of-home care.

Continuing care : a new approach and practice implications for supporting young people exiting state care.
Bristow G, Cameron L, Marshall K and Omerogullari S
Developing Practice: The Child, Youth and Family Work Journal no. 33 Spring 2012: 103-110

This article describes 'Continuing Care' - the Salvation Army Westcare's supportive approach to helping young people move from out-of-home care. Young people do best when they experience stability and continuity in care, and this should not end when they turn 18.

Leaving care : the need for a whole system response 'one young woman's story'.
Bruce R
Developing Practice: The Child, Youth and Family Work Journal no. 33 Spring 2012: 92-95

This article provides insight into the experience of leaving care. A 17 year old girl and her case workers describe the suddenness and upheaval of the girl's move from a supportive, settled environment to new accommodation.

Incremental transitions from care : the cluster housing model.
Craig C, Halfpenny N and Stockley C
Developing Practice: The Child, Youth and Family Work Journal no. 33 Spring 2012: 81-91

This article describes a new model aimed at supporting young people to live in the community after they leave out-of-home care. It discusses outcomes and disadvantage among young people leaving care and how a cluster housing model can help support young people in this transition period. The model is being piloted by MacKillop Family Services in a site in Melbourne, Victoria.

Factors influencing transition-from-care planning in Australia.
McDowall J
Developing Practice: The Child, Youth and Family Work Journal no. 33 Spring 2012: 69-80

This article describes the CREATE Foundation's 'What's the plan?' campaign to promote the increased use of leaving care plans for young people exiting out-of-home care in Australia and the increased involvement of the young people in their preparation. It describes the social marketing approach by the campaign and the nature and outcome of the intervention campaign.

See more resources on Leaving care in the AIFS library catalogue

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