This report describes an exploratory study on various aspects and risks to stability in foster and kinship placements.
The report finds that compared to foster care, risks to placement stability are more evident for kinship care. Kinship carers (predominantly grandparents) are older and few have formal agency support. They cope, some not easily, with challenging situations as they arise (e.g. death/separation/divorce of partner/spouse, their birth children’s substance abuse problems, children’s challenging behaviours, their own and grandchildren’s medical conditions). The concept of older carers ‘parenting again’ should not be taken lightly. For many carers there is a continuation and increase in daily housework chores and child care routines, with little time for leisure activities, holidays, hobbies and personal time. Parenting again also requires older carers to make significant changes in the way they conform/adapt to contemporary practices around parenting, child discipline and education. Common themes suggested by foster and kinship carers for keeping placements stable were providing children with routines and boundaries; developing/maintaining strong relationships (with workers, family and birth family); receiving respite; and being supported by workers.