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The search for safety, stability and belonging for children in out-of-home, across national boundaries June Thoburn University of East Anglia

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Presentation on theme: "The search for safety, stability and belonging for children in out-of-home, across national boundaries June Thoburn University of East Anglia"— Presentation transcript:

1 The search for safety, stability and belonging for children in out-of-home, across national boundaries June Thoburn University of East Anglia

2 Themes and issues Globalisation issues in child placement planning and practice The contribution of research in the search for stability across national boundaries Transferability of child welfare policies, initiatives/projects and methods Implications for understanding how well different countries do in achieving safety, stability and family membership

3 Countries/States Australia (NSW, Queensland) Canada (Alberta, Ontario) Denmark France Germany Ireland Italy Japan New Zealand Norway Spain Sweden UK (4 nations) USA (Illinois, N Carolina, Washington)

4 Cross-fertilisation ‘Permanence policies’ from USA to UK Australia, Norway (but not France and Sweden) Family Group Conferences from New Zealand to UK, USA, Japan Kinship care from Australia, New Zealand and USA to UK LAC system from England to Canada etc Concurrent planning from Seattle to UK Treatment foster care from USA to UK, Sweden etc

5 Rates in care per 10,000 <18 Australia 49 NSW 58 Q’sland 58 Canada ?109 Alberta 111 Ontario ?64 Denmark 102 France 102 Ireland 50 Japan 17 New Zealand 49 Norway 68 Spain 51 Sweden 63 UK/England 55 N.Ireland 56 Scotland 66 Wales 71 USA 66 Illinois 55 N Carolina 48 Washington 58

6 Inter-country differences related to:  social systems, attitudes to the family  beliefs about the efficacy of ‘care’/treatment  the profiles of children entering care (especially age and ethnicity)  legal systems eg extent of use of adoption as route out of care;  which children are included in ‘in care’ statistics- eg young offenders, disabled, may be recorded elsewhere;  outcomes will vary between countries depending on these differences as will outcome measures used.

7 Impact of deprivation: an illustration from the UK

8 Indigenous over-representation Alberta Rate per 10,000 aboriginal children around 486 (111 for all children) Australia Rate per 10,000 aboriginal children around 264 (49 for all children)

9 Ethnicity and over-representation % of indigenous children in population aged 0-17 years % of indigenous children in out-of-home care Disproportio nality rate Alberta Queensland NSW New Zealand Washington284 (England African- Caribbean)

10 Rates entering care per 10,000 <18 (data not available for Alberta) Australia 26 NSW 20 Q’nslnd 33 Denmark 30 Japan 4.3 New Zealand 24 Norway 13 Sweden 30 England 23 N.Ireland 21 Scotland 24 Wales 27 USA 40 Illinois 18 N Carolina 27 Washington 45

11 Legal status on entering care (in care) Parental request/agreement Court/ Admin order Australia (14%) (86%) Alberta (11%) (89%) Denmark92% (91%)8% (9%) England67% (31%)33% (69%) France (13%) (87%) Japan (>90%) (<10%) Norway (31%) (68%) Sweden85% (66%)15% (34%) USA (<5%) (>95%)

12 Main reason given for child entering care COUNTRY / STATE Abuse/neg lct. Parental disabil. /illness Disabil./ othr probs of child Abandon / no parent Relatnshp Other fam probs NSW42%8% 43% Denmark6% 56%5%27% Japan20%16%3%25%35% UK/Eng.48%8% 9% 11%24% USA/Illin>90% USA/WashApprox 66% Approx 16%

13 Age of children in care COUNTRY/STATE0-4/55-9/ /1515+/16+ Alberta (10-14; 15-17)19%24%34%22% England19%22%43%16% Denmark6%16%43%35% New Zealand22%27%41% 8% Queensland30% 29%12% Sweden (0-3;4-9;10-14;15+) 6%16%28%50% USA28%20%24%12% Washington (0-5; 5-10)41%27%24%11%

14 Age at entering care COUNTRY/ STATE % of all entrants aged <10/11 (<1 in brackets) % of entrants aged 10/11+ (16+ in brackets) Australia65% (13%)35% (8%) NSW65% (14%)35% (7%) Queensland68% (15%)32% (6%) Japan81% (12%)23% (3%) USA58% (14%)42% (20%:15+) Illinois (<11:11+)75% (24%)25% (5%) Wshington (<12:12+) 63% (17%)37% (10%) England62% (16%)46% (4%) Sweden27%73% (49%)

15 Routes out of care and placement patterns AlbertaEnglandNZlandQnsldUSAFrance Foster carers 66%47%40%72%46% Relative foster 8%18%35%27%23%7% Adopters3%5%-- Group care 15%13%1%19%40% Other5%10%25%-4%

16 The research process: a ‘logic’ model Process Output Outcome Children, Parents, Carers

17 Which children? Babies /older children Sibling groups With or without health problems or disabilities With or without parental consent From black or other minority ethnic groups From overseas (including refugees) To be adopted within or outside the family of birth Maltreated / sib maltreated / not maltreated Child offending/ substance misusing

18 The placement process Family, foster carer or ‘stranger’ adopters? What legal status? What sort of contact? With whom? When? Where? What financial support to whom? What social work and other services? What therapeutic input? - by whom? when? to whom?

19 Grandparents Parents Siblings Relatives The ‘prism’ of family placement Birth family Child Foster family Parents Foster parents’ children Other foster children Relatives Social Services Agencies From: Thoburn, J. (1995) À propos de l’évaluation de l’effet thérapeutique du placement familial. In Séparation: le placement familial est-il un conte de fée? Rivages 7ème journée d’étude du groupe Haut Normand de Pedopsychiatrie. pp

20 Output and Outcomes measures Placement lasts/ disrupts (‘part of the family’ into adult life) Physical and psychological wellbeing Educational/ employment achievement Personal, cultural and adoptive identity Relationships in adult life Satisfaction of different family members

21 Placement breakdown n=1165 Foster or adoptive ‘permanent’ placements from care (Fratter et al, 1991, BAAF)

22 The special needs of children who are looked after by the local authority From: Thoburn, J. (1994) Child Placement: Principles and Practice. 2 nd Edition, Aldershot: Ashgate. SELF-ESTEEM (The capacity to grow and make new and satisfying relationships as an adult) PERMANENCE means IDENTITY means Stability Belonging Family life Being loved Loving Knowing about birth family Knowing about past relationships Fitting the present with the past Appropriate contact with important people from the past Being valued as the person you are

23 Variables associated with different outcomes the child, the child’s family and biography the adoptive family, the social work and other services decision making placement practice/therapy Law, systems and procedures for care planning, review and service delivery

24 Some implications for policy- makers in the ‘global south’ The most cost effective way of providing sound evidence to support policy development is through good data collection and analysis Need to develop a ‘minimum data set’ This needs to be accompanied by ‘drilling down’ with quantitative and qualitative research on specific issues that the broad data suggest are significant Learn about programmes that appear to be effective in other countries BUT - DON’T take interventions or programmes ‘off the peg’ without carefully understanding the context and special vulnerabilities of children in your own country and the context in the country where the programme was developed.

25 The search for safety, stability and belonging for children in care June Thoburn le/jthoburn


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