Briefing paper

Carer parenting practices and children’s relationships with carer families: What does the Pathways of Care Longitudinal Study tell us?

22 Dec 2016

Relationships between children and caregivers play an essential role in the development of a child’s health and wellbeing. This Evidence to Action Note outlines key findings related to carer parenting practices and the relationships between children, carers and their carer families, for children and young people involved in the Pathways of Care Longitudinal Study (POCLS). Links to parenting strategies and resources are also included.

POCLS Wave 1 data was collected during their first years in care. The study findings suggest that carers were generally confident in their parenting practices, with reports from children matching their carers’ positive parenting perceptions. Carers of younger children tended to show higher levels of warmth and lower levels of hostility than carers of older age groups.


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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