This report presents baseline data from the Pathways of Care Longitudinal Study (POCLS). The POCLS is the first large scale prospective longitudinal study on out-of-home care (OOHC) in Australia. The study examines the developmental wellbeing of 4,126 children and young people entering OOHC for the first time ever between May 2010 and October 2011.
This baseline report provides a snapshot of children’s wellbeing across multiple domains (e.g. physical health, socio-emotional wellbeing, cognitive/learning ability, child care and education, caregiver parenting practices, children’s relationships, placement characteristics and stability), their experiences of service provision and support, their contact with birth family and the characteristics of their current caregiving household. Comparisons between children on the various domains are reported by age, with some analyses also providing additional information related to type of placement (foster, relative/kinship or residential care) and cultural identity (Aboriginal, Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) and other Australian).
The ongoing study will enable longitudinal analyses to show how children are faring over time and identify factors that help differentiate between children who are on a positive trajectory from those continuing to experience challenges. Such information will provide a strong evidence base for informing policy, practice, decision-making and training to improve the outcomes for children who have been abused and neglected.