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Placement stability Research in the Round

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On 16 February 2017 our latest Research in the Round event was held on placement stability for children in out-of-home care.

The event was hosted by Principal Commissioner Cheryl Vardon and Commissioner Tammy Williams at QUT Gardens Point campus.

Three papers were presented, each exploring different aspects of placement stability for children in out-of-home care.

Professor Selena Bartlett, from Queensland University of Technology, presented evidence showing adverse childhood experiences, such as multiple placements, can have negative affects on brain development. Ultimately, this can result in life-long negative outcomes such as drug and alcohol abuse.

Merran Butler, from NSW Department of Family and Community Services presented placement stability findings from the NSW Pathways of Care Longitudinal Study. Key findings were that placement instability was greater for:

  • older children
  • those who had a large number of prior placements
  • those placed with foster, rather than kinship carers
  • those placed with carers experiencing high levels of stress.

Finally, Dr Susan Tregeagle from Barnardos Australia spoke about how open adoption can promote stability and help children to feel secure. This can produce more positive long term outcomes. She spoke about the way NSW legislation has assisted Barnardos with the adoption process over the past 25 years.

The event was facilitated by Ms Zoe Rathus AM who oversaw a lively discussion involving presenters and audience members. Many attendees, including Create and Adopt Change ambassadors, shared personal stories including multiple placement experiences.  One speaker had to wait until they became an adult to be adopted. They described the feeling during their childhood in care as ‘not belonging to anyone’. Others expressed their frustration about not being able to adopt children currently in their care.

Attendees included:

  • senior representatives from the legal community
  • the Queensland state government
  • non-government organisations
  • interested academics
  • young people from the Create Foundation
  • representatives from Adopt Change, an Australian-based not-for-profit organisation focused on promoting permanency for children.

Feedback for the event was very positive.

Our next Research in the Round event is scheduled for June 2017.