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Briefing paper

The childcare and early learning experiences of children in out-of-home care: What does the Pathways of Care Longitudinal Study tell us?

22 Dec 2016



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The childcare and early learning experiences of young children are important factors that influence their wellbeing outcomes. This Evidence to Action Note outlines key findings related to the childcare and early learning experiences of a group of children in OOHC in New South Wales aged 9 months to 5 years, drawing on the first interview with their carers for the Pathways of Care Longitudinal Study (POCLS). Links to current best practice and resources are also included.

POCLS Wave 1 data was collected during their first years in care. The study found that most young children were attending some form of childcare or early childhood education, and almost all caregivers had read to children one or more days in the past week. Children under 3 years old in foster care were less likely than those in relative/kinship care to attend any type of childcare.


POCLS is the first large scale prospective longitudinal study on OOHC in Australia. The study examines the safety and developmental wellbeing of a group of children in NSW who entered OOHC for the first time between May 2010 and October 2011 and received final care and protection orders by April 2013. It is led and funded by the NSW Department of Family and Community Services (FACS) with independent expert researchers providing advice on study design, and undertaking the interviews and analyses. Wave 1 was conducted in the child/young person’s first years in OOHC. A total of 1,285 children and young people aged 9 months to 17 years, and their caregivers, participated in the Wave 1 interviews between May 2011 and August 2013.




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