Aboriginal children in out-of-home care: placement differences, outcomes and pathways through care

Stream: Special Session: Pathways of Care Longitudinal Study (POCLS)
Date: Wednesday, 27 September 2017
Time: 2.55 pm – 4.35 pm


This paper provides an overview of research conducted as part of the Pathways of Care Longitudinal Study (POCLS) into the placement experiences and outcomes for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal children placed into out-of-home care with Wave 1-3 data. The findings are discussed in relation to the broader objectives of the POCLS study as well as existing national literature relating to Aboriginal children in care. The first part of the paper examines differences in the prevalence of Aboriginal children in care; their reasons for being in care; placement arrangements; and, the degree of adherence to the Aboriginal placement principle. A second part of the paper examines differences in the psychosocial wellbeing of Aboriginal carers and children. Included in this comparison are analyses of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal children’s developmental outcomes measured over time and how these might vary according to variations in placement experiences; in particular, children’s exposure to kinship and non-kinship care. This research is designed to address relevant policy and practice issues relating to Aboriginal people’s contact with the care system.


Paul Delfabbro (Presenter), University of Adelaide
Professor Paul Delfabbro
School of Psychology, University of Adelaide.
Paul has degrees in Commerce, Economics and a PhD in psychology. He has published extensively in several areas, including the psychology of gambling, child protection and child welfare and has been a regular advisor to State and Federal Government bodies. He has extensive experience in conducting longitudinal studies involving applied data. He was chief investigator on Australia’s first major longitudinal study of children in out-of-home care which was published in the book Children in Foster Care in 2004 (Barber & Delfabbro), winner of a North American book award.