Journal Article

Infants in Australian Out-of-Home Care

Albert Z. Zhou and Marilyn Chilvers

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 40, issue 1, pages 26-43
Published in print January 2010 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online May 2008 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI:
Infants in Australian Out-of-Home Care

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This paper presents findings from a study examining the out-of-home care (OOHC) experiences of children aged less than one year (infants), based on data collected by the NSW Department of Community Services (DoCS), Australia. The purpose of the study is to develop a profile of infant children in OOHC and to better understand why so many young children require OOHC services and their experiences with the child welfare system. Using administrative data, we employ both descriptive and multivariate analysis to explore how child, child maltreatment history and system factors are related to the placement of infants in care. Our results are in line with research conducted in the USA and UK. The most notable finding is the high child protection reporting rate and high entry rate by infants and by Indigenous infants in particular. The tendency for infants to stay in care longer than other children, coupled with a high entry rate to care, has and will continue to have a significant impact on the child welfare system and its consequences. The implications for development of policy and early intervention programmes are discussed.

Keywords: Infants; out-of-home care; child protection

Journal Article.  7000 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social Work

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