Pathways of care: The longitudinal study of children and young people in out-of-home care in NSW

Past project

This large scale longitudinal study follows the experiences of children and young people in out-of-home care in New South Wales.


Around 16,500 children are placed in foster care, or other out-of-home care arrangements in New South Wales every year. They are placed in state care for a variety of reasons including abuse (sexual or physical), neglect or family violence. Ideally out-of-home care should provide a supportive environment that ensures ongoing physical, socio-emotional and cognitive development of children and young people. 

About the project

The Pathways of Care study follows the the life experiences, and factors that influence the ongoing development, of children and young people aged 0-17 years of age in out-of-home care in New South Wales. It aims to identify ways of strengthening the out-of-home care system in NSW in order to improve the outcomes for children and young people. The study is being conducted by the NSW Department of Family and Community Services and AIFS' role is to provide advice and develop statistical reports on the data collected.

Pathways of Care is part of a series of reforms to out-of-home care in NSW following the release of Keep Them Safe, the Government’s response to the Wood Special Commission of Inquiry into Child Protection Services in NSW (2009).

Information will be collected from:

  • carers
  • caseworkers
  • the children themselves
  • teachers
  • parents (where the child has returned home).

 The NSW Family and Community Services website can provide more information about the study.


Julie Lahausse



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