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Insights from a Matched Sample in Canada and Australia Ross A. Klein, Memorial University of Newfoundland Deirdre Cheers, Barnardos South East Sydney &

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Presentation on theme: "Insights from a Matched Sample in Canada and Australia Ross A. Klein, Memorial University of Newfoundland Deirdre Cheers, Barnardos South East Sydney &"— Presentation transcript:

1 Insights from a Matched Sample in Canada and Australia Ross A. Klein, Memorial University of Newfoundland Deirdre Cheers, Barnardos South East Sydney & The LAC Project Kathleen Kufeldt, University of New Brunswick Annette Kelly-Egerton, Barnardos Australia Scott Rideout, University of New Brunswick 2006 Association of Children’s Welfare Agencies Conference 7th International Looking After Children Conference 14 – 16 August, Sydney, NSW. Looking After Children in the Looking Glass:

2 Looking After Children (LAC)  Originally developed in the United Kingdom  Theory development  Piloting and Revisions  Implementation  Assessment of Outcomes Note: LAC has now been combined with the UK Assessment Framework to form the Integrated Children’s System (www.dfes.gov.uk/integratedchildrenssystem)

3 What is Looking After Children ?  A comprehensive set of integrated tools (forms) for use with children and youth in care  A guided practice case management system which provides a framework for recommended processes and actions  An inclusive system which promotes participation of carers, parents, children and youth in the care assessment, planning and decision making process

4 LAC consists of: PLANNING & PLACEMENT FORMS Essential Information Records Parts 1 & 2 Essential Information Records Parts 1 & 2 Placement Plan Parts 1 & 2 Placement Plan Parts 1 & 2 Care Plan Care Plan Consultation Papers Consultation Papers Review of Arrangements Records Review of Arrangements Records ASSESSMENT & ACTION RECORDS Age Related Age Related 7 Developmental Dimensions 7 Developmental Dimensions

5 LAC in Canada Eastern Canada (National Looking After Children Project-Kufeldt, Simard & Vachon) Eastern Canada (National Looking After Children Project-Kufeldt, Simard & Vachon) Ontario (LeMay & Flynn) Ontario (LeMay & Flynn) British Columbia (Provincial Government) British Columbia (Provincial Government) OnLAC Ontario (University of Ottawa in conjunction with OACAS) OnLAC Ontario (University of Ottawa in conjunction with OACAS) CanLAC (University of Ottawa in conjunction with OACAS and CWLC, with funding from HRDC) CanLAC (University of Ottawa in conjunction with OACAS and CWLC, with funding from HRDC) Comparative Canada/Australia project University of New Brunswick (Kufeldt) Comparative Canada/Australia project University of New Brunswick (Kufeldt)

6 LAC in Australia 1993 Western Australia pilot (Clare) 1996 Victoria pilot (Clark & Burke, Wise) 1997 New South Wales - Barnardos Australia 2000 Australian Capital Territory: government launch 2001 Western Australia: full government launch 2002 Victoria: government launch 2003 Tasmania: government launch

7 The Canada/Australia Research Project  The project “Looking After Children in government care: assessing and improving outcomes in Child Welfare” is funded by Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) with principal researcher being Dr Kathleen Kufeldt (University of New Brunswick, Canada)  Barnardos Australia is participating via provision of data on a sample of Australian children in long term foster care

8 Project Overall Goal: “to increase knowledge about the impact on children’s development when being cared for by the state because of parental abuse and neglect”

9 Research Design & Data Collection Primary Tool: LAC Assessment & Action Record Administered annually, covering 7 developmental dimensions: Health Health Education Education Identity Identity Emotional and Behavioural Development Emotional and Behavioural Development Social Presentation Social Presentation Family And Social Relationships Family And Social Relationships Self Care Skills Self Care Skills

10 Sample size  126 young people (63 from both NB and ACT), drawn from a larger sample of 198 youth (112 from NB and 86 from ACT) and 291 AARs.  Matched for age and sex.  Slightly more males than females (55% versus 44%)  Two-thirds are 10 years of age or older.

11 HEALTH DIMENSION  IMMUNIZATIONS  DIET  HEALTH RISKS

12 ACT youth more likely to receive hearing tests and NB youth more likely to have received age appropriate immunizations

13 NB youth significantly more likely to consume potatoes (including French fries/chips), milk and snack foods.

14 Percentage of young people reporting regular snack food consumption during the past 7 days

15 A higher proportion of NB youth reported receiving information related to sex and sexuality

16 EDUCATION DIMENSION  ABSENTEEISM RATES  SCHOOL DISRUPTION  EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES

17 NB youth more likely to be absent from school and generally missed more days

18 The number of school changes increase with the number of placement changes.

19 Effects of school changes  Those who change schools are less likely to believe they are doing as well as they can in school

20 Slightly higher percentages of NB youth participated in extracurricular activities

21 IDENTITY DIMENSION Preservation of their past (life books)

22 Children between 5 and 9 years of age were more likely to have information collected about their past.

23 FAMILY & SOCIAL RELATIONSHIPS  PLACEMENT (IN)STABILITY  RELATIONSHIPS WITH FOSTER FAMILY  FAMILY CONTACT

24 The majority experienced less than 5 caregivers while in care.

25 In NB where greater instability over time existed, social workers were more likely to say young people experienced continuity in care during the previous year

26 While youth typically described having a good relationship with their foster mother and others in the home, relationships with the foster father differed by region

27 Even though the proportion of young people with regular family contact was remarkably low, 72% of NB youth and 70% of ACT youth were satisfied with it.

28 Percentage with parental contact decreased as time in care increased

29 EMOTIONAL & BEHAVIOURAL DEVELOPMENT DIMENSION  MENTAL HEALTH ASSESSED BY BEHAVIOURAL INDICATORS  EXPERIENCES OF ABUSE

30 A larger proportion of ACT youth appear to be aggressive and to have anxiety and worry

31

32 NB youth may be a bit more social than ACT youth, but differences are small.

33 All ACT youth experienced some form of maltreatment compared to two-thirds of NB youth.

34 SELF CARE DIMENSION Can young people take care of their own needs?

35 NB youth are more independent and take greater responsibility for themselves

36 Time in Care

37 NB youth spend a longer time in care as compared to their ACT peers

38 Regular family contact decreases with length of time in care

39 CONCLUSIONS  The value of the AAR and companion documents as tools for practice as well as for research.  Questions are raised about the emphasis on contact with birth parents, especially birth mothers.  Differences between youth in ACT and NB … Some are artifacts of culture and location … Need for discussion, teasing out, and further analysis.

40 AUTHORS/CONTACT DETAILS: Ross Klein, Memorial University of Newfoundland Deirdre Cheers, Barnardos Australia Kathleen Kufeldt, University of New Brunswick Annette Kelly-Egerton, Barnardos Australia Scott Rideout, University of New Brunswick Copies of this paper are available for download at:


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