Birth family contact and placement outcomes for children in kinship and foster care
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Science
A prospective, exploratory study examined the relationships between birth family contact factors and long-term placement outcomes for children who are in foster or kinship care in New South Wales. The present study utilized data which was collected for 338 children in the Children in Care study; which was conducted between 1999 and 2009. This included data that was collected from a baseline survey and a review of case files from the State Child Welfare database. The participants of the Children in Care study were between four and eleven years of age. The present study involved a series of statistical analyses including: correlations, chi-square tests, t-tests, ANOVAS, multiple linear regressions, and binary logistic regressions. Some linear associations were identified between frequency of contact and reported issues, frequency of contact and restoration, and children’s reactions to contact and reported issues. However; these associations were found to be insignificant when controlling for other significant predictors in regression models. None of the birth family contact variables examined in the present analyses were found to be significant predictors of further abuse/behavioural issues in care, placement stability, or restoration. Some of the significant predictors of such outcomes included: age at entry into care; pre-care mental health; previous placements, care arrangements; and caregivers support and contact with other foster carers. Overall, the present analyses highlighted that contact may not necessarily have detrimental, or beneficial impacts on children in care; however further research in this domain is required in order to identify if other contact factors may have any impact on outcomes for children in kinship or foster care.