Briefing paper

The importance of casework when establishing and supporting out-of-home care placements

Foster care Child welfare Out-of-home care New South Wales

Adequate information and support from caseworkers can assist in meeting the needs of a child or young person in OOHC and maintaining stability in a placement. This Evidence to Action Note outlines some key findings and issues related to the provision of casework support to children and young people involved in the Pathways of Care Longitudinal Study (POCLS) and their caregivers. 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 while most caregivers were satisfied with the assistance they received from caseworkers, more than half needed at least one type of further support. About half of children and young people aged 7-17 years reported that their caseworker generally listened to them and did what they said they would do.


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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