Maintaining connectedness

Maintaining connectedness

Family contact for children in statutory residential care in South Australia

Marie Iannos, Sara McLean, Stewart McDougall and Fiona Arney

Children and young people in residential care represent a vulnerable group, yet little is known about their family contact experiences. Studies asking children directly suggest that children in residential care have unique family contact patterns and needs, however, no studies have asked residential care workers about children's family contact experiences. This paper describes workers' reports of the family contact experiences of children in residential care in South Australia. Fifty-six workers from 12 residential care units were interviewed regarding 73 children. Worker's reports reflected similar trends in family contact patterns to previous surveys asking children directly. Sibling contact was the most common form of family contact, and the majority of children wanted to reunify or increase contact with their families, even if this was not possible. Relationships with mothers and other relatives were also seen as important, while fathers comparatively less. The pragmatic and psychological barriers to family contact are also discussed. (Journal abstract)


Iannos, M., McLean, S., McDougall, S., & Arney, F. (2013). Maintaining connectedness: Family contact for children in statutory residential care in South Australia. Communities, Children and Families Australia, 7(1), 63-74.

Publication/Completion Year:

Research Focus

  • Out of home care (including leaving care)
Child Abuse Type(s):
  • Type not specified

Further Citations

Iannos, M., McLean, S., & McDougall, S. (2013, November). Maintaining connectedness: Family contact for children in residential care. Paper presented at the 13th Australasian Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect: protecting children - new solutions to old problems, Canberra. Available at


Information obtained from:
Literature Review
Added to Register: 30 June 2016
Last updated: 30 June 2016

Publication meta

Project location(s):
  • South Australia
Project Type:
Research only

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