Working Together to Care for Kids

A survey of foster and relative/kinship carers
Research Report – May 2018

6. Rewards and challenges

To better understand the experiences of carers the survey also examined their attitudes about being a carer. This included understanding the extent to which they thought they could make a difference to the lives of children in their care (the rewards) and the challenges of being a carer. Carers were also asked whether they would consider looking after another child in the future.

6.1 Rewards and challenges

Carers were asked of their agreement or disagreement with a series of statements that considered both the rewards and the challenges they experienced in caring for a child/children in out-of-home care. These questions sought to understand their overall experiences of being a carer for children in out-of-home care, not just for the study child (although some carers may not have cared for any other children). Carers' responses are summarised in Table 6.1.

  • Almost all (over 90%) of carers strongly agreed/agreed that they could make a positive difference in the life of a child, provide the child with a positive family experience, and that looking after a child was a rewarding experience. The majority of carers also indicated that their family was happy for the child to be living with them (88%).
  • Not surprisingly, carers also faced various challenges in looking after children in out-of-home care. Almost half (48%) of carers strongly agreed/agreed that looking after a child was very stressful, and 63% of carers strongly agreed/agreed that managing a child's behaviour was difficult, and that looking after a child in out-of-home care required more time/effort than another child of the same age and gender.
  • However, two-thirds (67%) of carers disagreed/strongly disagreed that caring for a child had a negative effect on their relationship with other family members, while over half (54%) disagreed/strongly disagreed that caring for a child made it difficult for them to meet other family/work responsibilities, and that they were monitored too closely in looking after a child as part of an out-of-home-care placement (57%).
  • Two-thirds (67%) of carers strongly agreed/agreed that they had adequate financial resources to care for a child, and 57% strongly agreed/agreed it was important for the child to keep in contact with their birth parents.
  • It is also worth noting that most carers (88%) felt they should be provided with legal assistance to sort out care arrangements if needed.
Table 6.1: Carers' level of agreement with statements about their experience caring for a child in out-of-home care, by carer type and by gender
   Care type Carer's gender

 

All (%) 

Foster carers (%) Relative/kinship
carers (%)
Males (%) Females (%)
(1) I can make a positive difference in the life of a child    
Strongly agree/agree 97.6 96.0 97.2 96.7 96.8
Mixed feelings 2.0 2.9 1.8 2.6 2.5
Disagree/strongly disagree 0.4 1.1 1.0 0.7 0.7
Total 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
(2) I can provide a child with a positive family experience
Strongly agree/agree 97.8 95.3** 95.3 96.6 96.4
Mixed feelings 1.9 3.2 3.6 2.4 2.6
Disagree/strongly disagree 0.3 1.5 1.1 1.0 1.0
Total 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
(3) Looking after a child is a rewarding experience
Strongly agree/agree 92.5 90.1* 90.9 91.3 91.2
Mixed feelings 7.1 8.7 7.8 7.9 7.9
Disagree/strongly disagree 0.4 1.3 1.3 0.8 0.9
Total 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
(4) Managing a child's behaviour is difficult        
Strongly agree/agree 68.7 57.3*** 66.4 62.1 62.7
Mixed feelings 18.9 19.2 17.1 19.4 19.1
Disagree/strongly disagree 12.4 23.5 16.6 18.5 18.2
Total 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
(5) My family is happy for a child to live with us in out-of-home care   
Strongly agree/agree 91.7 85.2*** 86.3 88.6* 88.3
Mixed feelings 6.7 11.7 9.1 9.3 9.3
Disagree/strongly disagree 1.6 3.1 4.6 2.0 2.4
Total 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
(6) Caring for a child makes it difficult for me to meet other family/work responsibilities
Strongly agree/agree 28.6 33.9** 28.8 31.7 31.4
Mixed feelings 17.2 12.9 16.7 14.6 14.9
Disagree/strongly disagree 54.3 53.3 54.5 53.6 53.7
Total 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
(7) Caring for a child in out-of-home care has a negative effect on my relationship with other family members
Strongly agree/agree 12.6 18.3*** 17.7 15.2 15.6
Mixed feelings 17.4 18.0 17.4 17.8 17.7
Disagree/strongly disagree 70.0 63.7 64.8 67.0 66.7
Total 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
(8) Looking after a child in out-of-home care is very stressful  
Strongly agree/agree 50.8 45.1*** 48.4 47.6 47.8
Mixed feelings 29.2 25.8 26.3 27.7 27.5
Disagree/strongly disagree 20.0 29.1 25.3 24.7 24.8
Total 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
(9) Looking after a child in out-of-home care requires more time/effort than another child of the same age and gender
Strongly agree/agree 72.2 53.7*** 62.3 62.6 62.5
Mixed feelings 12.9 13.4 11.3 13.4 13.2
Disagree/strongly disagree 14.9 32.9 26.4 24.0 24.3
Total 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
(10) I have the financial resources to adequately care for a child in out-of-home care
Strongly agree/agree 69.0 65.0 64.6 67.2 66.9
Mixed feelings 18.8 19.8 19.3 19.3 19.3
Disagree/strongly disagree 12.2 15.2 16.1 13.5 13.8
Total 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
(11) It is important for a child in out-of-home care to keep in contact with their parents
Strongly agree/agree 57.3 56.6*** 54.6 57.3 56.9
Mixed feelings 37.5 34.0 35.7 35.7 35.7
Disagree/strongly disagree 5.2 9.4 9.8 7.0 7.4
Total 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
(12) I'm monitored too closely in looking after a child in out-of-home care
Strongly agree/agree 25.3 25.7 22.8 25.9 25.5
Mixed feelings 19.6 15.7 17.8 17.5 17.5
Disagree/strongly disagree 55.1 58.7 59.4 56.6 57.0
Total 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
(13) Carers should be provided with legal assistance to sort out care arrangements if required 
Strongly agree/agree 81.1 90.8*** 86.8 86.0 86.1
Mixed feelings 14.0 6.2 8.9 10.1 9.9
Disagree/strongly disagree 4.9 3.1 4.3 3.9 3.9
Total 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
Number of respondents 1,172~1,194 971~997 260~267 1,903~1,925 2,154~2,192

Notes: Percentages are based on weighted data and small numbers of respondents' "Don't know" answers are excluded from the analysis for each item. Sample sizes are unweighted (0.5% to 2% across 13 times). For each item, design-based chi-square test was used to assess statistically significant differences between foster carers and relative/kinship carers. (*p < .05; **p < .01; ***p < .001). Percentages may not total exactly 100.0% due to rounding.

Patterns of agreement and disagreement with the statements were similar between male and female carers, as well as between foster and relative/kinship carers. Nevertheless, there were differences between foster and relative/kinship carers regarding some statements on challenges and difficulties.

  • Foster carers were more likely than relative/kinship carers to strongly agree/agree that managing a child's behaviour is difficult (69% vs 57%), that looking after a child as part of an out-of-home-care placement required more time and effort than another child of the same age and gender (72% vs 54%), and that looking after a child in out-of-home care was very stressful (51% vs 45%).
  • On the other hand, foster carers were also more likely to strongly agree/agree that their family was happy for a child to live with them (92% vs 85%), and less likely than relative/kinship carers to strongly agree/agree that caring for a child made it difficult for them to meet other family/work responsibilities (29% vs 34%).

Table 6.2 focuses on carers' level of agreement or disagreement to a set of statements relating to their perceived level of support in caring for the study child.

  • Most relative/kinship carers (72%) strongly agreed/agreed that there was no other relative who was able to look after the study child.
  • Two-thirds of carers (66%) agreed that the contact arrangements with the study child's parents were manageable.
    • A slightly higher proportion of foster carers than relative/kinship carers agreed that the contact arrangements with the study child's biological parents were manageable (71% vs 63%).
  • Only one-half (51%) of carers strongly agreed/agreed that the allowances received for looking after the study child were adequate to meet the financial costs and time they put into caring for them, while 66% agreed that they felt well-supported by government/non-government agencies and carer support services in meeting the health and mental health needs of the study child.
    • Foster carers were slightly more likely than relative/kinship carers to feel supported by agencies/services in meeting the study child's needs (59% vs 54%).
Table 6.2: Carers' level of agreement with statements about their perceived level of support in caring for the study child, overall and by carer type
   Care type Carer's gender

 

All (%) 

Foster carers (%) Relative/kinship carers (%) Males (%) Females (%)
(1) No other relative to look after study child (kinship care only)   
Strongly agree/agree - 71.5 65.2 72.4 -
Mixed feelings - 9.4 10.9 9.1 -
Disagree/strongly disagree - 19.1 23.9 18.5 -
Total - 100.0 100.0 100.0 -
(2) Allowances received were adequate to care for study child  
Strongly agree/agree 48.5 53.4 50.0 51.1 51.0
Mixed feelings 19.7 17.9 16.9 19.1 18.2
Disagree/strongly disagree 31.8 28.7 33.2 29.8 30.2
Total 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
(3) Contact arrangements with study child's biological parent(s) were manageable 
Strongly agree/agree 70.5 62.8** 67.0 65.9 66.1
Mixed feelings 16.6 21.7 16.1 20.0 19.5
Disagree/strongly disagree 13.0 15.5 16.9 14.0 14.4
Total 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
(4) Felt supported by agencies/services in meeting study child's needs 
Strongly agree/agree 59.2 53.6** 55.7 56.3 56.3
Mixed feelings 20.3 19.2 20.3 19.7 19.8
Disagree/strongly disagree 20.5 27.2 24.0 24.0 24.0
Total 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
Number of carers 802~1,186 962~999 120~261 841~1,916 962~2,178

Note: Percentages are based on weighted data and small numbers of respondents' "Don't know" answers were excluded from the analysis for each item. Sample sizes are unweighted. For each item, design-based chi-square test was used to assess statistically significant differences between foster carers and relative/kinship carers. (*p < .05; **p < .01; ***p < .001). Percentages may not total exactly 100.0% due to rounding.

6.2 Rewards and challenges by care experiences

Analyses were also undertaken to explore the relationship between carers' views on both the rewards and challenges they experienced in caring for a child in OOHC and their own or the study child's characteristics, as well as their care circumstances. Given the large number of items measuring both the rewards and challenges they have experienced, a principal component analysis on the 13 items (as shown in Table 6.1) was undertaken, with two scales derived. The first scale was based on four items: "I can make a positive difference in the life of out-of-home-care child", "I can provide an out-of-home-care child a positive family experience", "Looking after an out-of-home-care child is a rewarding experience", and "My family is happy for an out-of-home-care child to live with us". The second scale was derived from five items: "Managing an out-of-home-care child's behaviour is difficult", "Caring for an out-of-home-care child makes it difficult for me to meet my other family/work responsibilities", "Caring for an out-of-home-care child has a negative effect on my family relationships", "Looking after an out-of-home-care child is stressful", and "Looking after an out-of-home-care child requires much more time and effort than would be required for looking after virtually any other child of the same age and gender". Responses to each item were scored from "1" (strongly disagree) to "5" (strongly agree). Each of the two scales was formed by taking the mean of responses to the component items. To make the scales easier to interpret, each scale was then rescaled to 0-10. The first scale is referred to as the "rewards scale", with a higher score indicating higher perceived rewards for caring for out-of-home-care children (mean score: 8.89). The second scale is referred to as the "challenges scale", with higher scores suggesting greater challenges or difficulties (mean score: 5.36).17

Table 6.3 shows the mean scores for the rewards and challenges scales by care experiences. The top panel displays the number of types of abuse/violence that study children experienced (including whether there was family violence in their original home, and whether any household members had alcohol or addiction problems) while the lower panel is in regards to whether the study child had any developmental condition(s).

  • There was no link between carers' mean scores on the rewards scale and number of types of abuse/violence that the study children had experienced. However, carers whose study child had at least one developmental condition had a slightly (but statistically significant) lower mean rewards scale score compared to carers looking after a study child without any developmental conditions.
  • Patterns regarding the challenges scale were different. The more forms of abuse, neglect or problems that study children had experienced, the significantly higher level of challenges carers felt, with mean scores ranging from 4.5 for carers caring for study children without any such experience to 5.8 for carers caring for study children with prior experience of four or more forms of abuse/violence. Likewise, carers looking after study children with developmental conditions indicated a significantly higher level of challenges than carers looking after study children without known developmental conditions.
Table 6.3: Mean scores of rewards and challenges scales by care experiences (number of types of abuse/violence that study child experienced or was exposed to, and whether study child had developmental issue/condition)
  Rewards scale Challenges scale
Number of types of abuse/violence that study child experienced or was exposed to
None 8.94 4.51
1 8.94 4.81**
2 8.82 5.04***
3 8.79 5.30***
4+ 8.91 5.83***
Whether study child had any developmental condition
No 8.95 5.17
Yes 8.77** 5.71***

Note: Mean scores are based on weighted data. aStatistically significant difference in mean scores between the reference group (none) and each of other groups was tested based on regression (*p < .05; **p < .01; ***p < .001). bStatistically significant difference in mean scores between study children with and without any developmental conditions was tested based on regression.

Table 6.4 shows the proportions of carers who agreed or strongly agreed with each of the statements relating to study children by number of indicators of abuse, neglect and problems at home that the study child had experienced and also by whether the child had any developmental condition.

  • Overall, carers who looked after a child with multiple forms of abuse, neglect or problems at home were less likely than other carers to feel that they received adequate allowances, that contact with the child's parents was manageable, and that they were well supported in meeting the child's health and mental health needs. For example:
    • Comparing carers who reported that the child had previously experienced at least four indicators of abuse, neglect or problems at home with those who were aware of none or one indictor of abuse, neglect or problems at home that the child had experienced, the proportions in agreement with:
      • received adequate allowances for looking after the study child: 46% vs 57%
      • contact arrangement with the study child's parents were manageable: 63% vs 72-74%; and
      • well supported by agencies and services in meeting the health and mental health needs of the study child: 52% vs 59-62%.
Table 6.4: Proportions of carers who agreed or strongly agreed with each of the statements relating to study child's prior experience and developmental conditions
  No other relatives able to look after the study  child (%) Allowances received are adequate (%) Contact arrangement with the study child's parents are manageable (%) Well supported by agencies and support services in meeting the health and mental health needs of the study child (%)
Number of indicators of abuse, neglect and problems at home that the study child previously experienced
None 65.9 56.5 *** 71.6 * 61.8 ***
1 72.0 57.0 73.5 59.4
2 68.2 56.2 67.8 60.9
3 70.1 53.0 64.5 61.9
4+ 74.6 46.1 62.8 50.8
Whether study child had any developmental condition
No 28.5 47.4 65.8 58.3*
Yes 28.4 51.9 66.6 52.4

Notes: Percentages are based on weighted data. For each item, a design-based chi-square test was used to assess statistically significant difference across a number of indictors, and between study children with and without any developmental condition (*p < .05; **p < .01; ***p < .001).

6.3 Likelihood of looking after other children in out-of-home care in the future

Carers were asked about the likelihood of being a formal carer of another child in the future. Figure 6.1 summarises carers' responses overall, by care type and by gender.

  • Overall, four in ten carers indicated that they were either likely or very likely to look after another child in the future. However, nearly one-half of carers (49%) held the opposite view, that they were unlikely or very unlikely to do so in the future.
  • Views on the likelihood of looking after another child were very different between foster and relative/kinship carers, and also somewhat different between male and female carers.
    • Foster carers were much more likely than relative/kinship carers to express that they would be a carer once again (58% vs 26%).
    • A higher proportion of female carers than male carers reported that they would be a carer again in the future (42% vs 33%). 

Figure 6.1: How likely carers were to look after another child in out-of-home care in the future, by care type and by gender

Bar chart Figure 6.1: How likely carers were to look after another child in out-of-home care in the future, by care type and by gender

 

Note: Percentages are based on weighted data.

To explore what factors other than care type and gender may influence a carer's intention to care for another child in the future, a logistic regression analysis was conducted. The regression sought to answer the following questions:

  • To what extent was the likelihood of looking after other children in the future linked with carers' reports of motivations and challenges?
  • Was the likelihood of continuing in a caring role in the future also linked with other factors such as carers' demographic characteristics?

The results for the regression analysis are shown in Table 6.5. In this analysis, very likely and likely to be a carer again are coded as 1, and other than likely (unsure, unlikely, and very unlikely) is coded as 0. The table presents the odds ratios (see Box 1 for interpretation of odds ratios) of the likelihood of being a carer in the future for each variable. Three models were conducted, with the first model containing the rewards and challenges scales, along with the other variables. The second model contained the two items of whether carers believed they received adequate allowances for looking after the study child and whether they felt well supported. Finally, the third model contained both sets of variables.

  • Consistent with the patterns discussed earlier in this section, the likelihood of reporting an intention to be a carer in the future was lower for relative/kinship carers than foster carers.
  • Older carers (aged 40 years or older) were more likely to report intentions of being a carer in the future compared with younger carers (under 40 years).
  • Carers living with a partner were also less likely than carers who were single to report that they were likely to be a carer in the future, which may reflect the impact of caring for children in out-of-home care on a couple's relationship.
  • Carers looking after study children aged 5 years and older were less likely than those caring for pre-school study children (under 5 years) to express a desire to look after another child in the future.
  • Looking after study children who experienced (and/or were exposed to) four or more forms of violence/abuse/neglect was associated with a lower likelihood of considering caring for another child.
  • Higher reward scale scores (i.e., higher perceptions of caring for a child as rewarding) were associated with a higher likelihood of being a carer in the future, while higher challenges scale scores (i.e., facing greater challenges in looking after children) were linked with a lower likelihood of being a carer in the future. These patterns were still evident after controlling for carers' views about allowances, the level of support received, carers' characteristics and the study child's age.
  • The higher level of agreement with the statements on receiving adequate allowances for caring for study children and feeling well supported by government and agencies was associated with a higher likelihood of being a carer in the future (as shown in Model 2). The effects were either largely reduced or no longer statistically significant once controlling for the rewards and challenges scales.
Table 6.5: Odds ratios of logistic regression models of whether carers likely to look after another child in out-of-home care in the future
  Model 1 Model 2 Model 3
Relative/kinship carer 0.24*** 0.24*** 0.24***
Female 1.24 1.25 1.24
Age of carer   
(less than 40 years)      
40-49 0.63** 0.64** 0.63**
50-64 0.62** 0.60*** 0.62**
65+ 0.42*** 0.39*** 0.41***
Living with a partner 0.64*** 0.64*** 0.64***
Study child's age      
(under 5 years)      
5-11 0.61*** 0.58*** 0.61***
12-14 0.64** 0.59*** 0.64**
15-18 0.68* 0.62** 0.68*
Number of abuse/neglect that study child experienced or was exposed to 
none      
1 0.84 0.83 0.84
2 1.32 1.26 1.32
3 1.09 0.98 1.07
4+ 1.45* 1.37* 1.46*
Study child had developmental issue/condition 1.07 1.04 1.08
Reward scale (0-10) 1.29***   1.27***
Challenge scale (0-10) 0.94**   0.94*
Level of agreement that the allowances received for the study child are adequate (1-5, from strongly disagree to strongly agree)   1.03 1.02
Level of agreement with feeling well supported by agencies and service providers (1-5, from strongly disagree to strongly agree)   1.14** 1.08
Constant 0.42 1.86* 0.32*
       
Chi square 373.84 343.33 379.47
Degree of freedom 16 16 18
Pseudo r2 0.13 0.11 0.13
Number of carers 2,156 2,184 2,155

Notes: For categorical variables, the reference category is shown in brackets. *p < .05, **p < .01, ***p < .001.

Box 1: Interpretation of logistics regression odds ratios

The likelihood of looking after another child in out-of-home care in the future was coded as a binary variable (1 if very likely or likely, 0 if unsure, unlikely or very unlikely) and therefore logistic regression was used. Odds ratio is a relative measure, here indicating how the "odds" of being likely to look after another child would be given a specific characteristic (e.g., female carers) compared to the "odds" of a reference group (e.g., male carers). If an odds ratio of 1 indicates no difference between the group in interest and the reference group, an odds ratio of less than 1 indicates that the group in interest had a lower likelihood relative to the reference group while an odds ratio of greater than 1 means a higher likelihood. For example, in Model 1, the odds ratio for female carers is 1.24, which means that the odds of likely looking after another child for female carers was 1.24 times of that of male carers. However, this was not statistically significant.

Among the carers who said that they were unlikely or very unlikely to be the formal carer of another child in out-of-home care in the future, a sub-group of carers (n = 99) was randomly selected and asked why they felt this way. The first main theme to emerge from the analysis of these carers' responses was that they felt too old to continue as a carer in the future (identified by n = 37 carers; with approximately half being foster carers and the other half being relative/kinship carers). Direct quotes from carers on this theme are as follows:

I am getting too old! I want to travel when they grow up. (Relative/kinship carer)

I'm in my 70s - 71 now - although I can look after other kids, I'd be worried being at the age I'm at now if I had another child put into my care. (Relative/kinship carer)

I am getting a bit old and tired. (Foster carer)

Another theme to arise from the analysis of carers' responses of why they did not see themselves continuing as a formal carer in the future was the stress/emotional investment associated with being a carer (identified by n = 11 carers; 64% of whom were foster carers). Responses reflective of this theme were:

It's an emotional rollercoaster. It takes its toll on you. (Relative/kinship carer)

I'm close to burnt out and over fighting the bureaucracy. It's not the children, it's the bureaucracy. (Foster carer)

A third theme to emerge was that some carers felt that they already had responsibility for enough children and could not envisage caring for any more children in the foreseeable future (identified by n = 15 carers; with approximately half being foster carers and the other half being relative/kinship carers). Responses from carers on this theme are as follows:

We have four children in the house, and that's stretching us as much as we can go, maybe we can when they've grown. (Relative/kinship carer)

I'm a single parent and have four children to care for currently. I'm not Wonder Woman. (Relative/kinship carer)

A final theme to emerge from the responses of a number of relative/kinship carers (n = 20) is that they were not expecting there to be any more relatives that would require care in the future, as exemplified by responses such as:

Because most of my nieces and nephews are all grown up now, I've had pretty much all of them over the years. (Relative/kinship carer)

I do it for my family (no other children expected to be in this situation). (Relative/kinship carer)

6.4 Summary

The analysis in this section revealed that carers in general saw caring for children in out-of-home-care as a rewarding experience that contributed to improving the lives of these vulnerable children. Specifically, regardless of care type and gender, the vast majority of carers (over 90%) strongly agreed/agreed that they could make a positive difference in the life of a child, provide them with a positive family experience, and that it was a rewarding experience to care for these children.

Nevertheless, carers also revealed the significant challenges they had faced in carrying out their caring role. Nearly one-half agreed that caring for children in out-of-home care was stressful, and an even higher proportion agreed that it was difficult to manage children's behaviours and that these children required more time or effort than other children of the same age. These views were particularly salient among foster carers. It is not surprising that carers reported more challenges if children had previously experienced or been exposed to more types of abuse/violence/neglect, or had one or more developmental conditions.

Carers were also asked for their views on allowances received and support provided by agencies/services during their time of looking after the study child. Around one-half of carers agreed that the allowances received for the study child were adequate and that they were well supported by agencies/services. However, nearly one-quarter felt that the allowances received were not adequate to care for the study child and three in ten did not feel well supported by agencies/services in meeting the study child's needs. The feelings of there being inadequate allowances and support were more prevalent among relative/kinship carers than foster carers. Such feelings were also particularly evident among carers looking after study children who had experienced or were exposed to at least four types of abuse/violence/neglect, which is not surprising given the varying levels of support needs reported by carers for the children in their care (as outlined earlier in this report) across services such as respite care, child counselling/psychology services, and disability support services.

Although carers had a strong sense of benevolence and rewards, views on how likely they were to look after another child in the future were split, with four in ten indicating they were likely or very likely and nearly one-half reporting the opposite (i.e., unlikely or very unlikely). While the majority of foster carers were likely to be a carer again in the future, the majority of relative/kinship carers felt it was unlikely they would be a carer again. This pattern was also reflected in the finding that seven in ten relative/kinship carers said that the study child came into their care because no other relatives were able to look after the study child. Their care experience also influenced carers' outlook of being a carer again in the future. A greater likelihood of being a carer again in the future was associated with a higher sense of rewards, a lower level of challenges, the perception of receiving adequate allowances and feeling well supported in meeting the study child's needs.

For carers who indicated that they were unlikely to care for another child in the future and who responded to the open-ended question as to why, some said that it was because they felt they were getting "too old" and they had other things that they wanted to move on to in life, such as travelling. Other carers indicated that the emotional investment that is required to care for a child in out-of-home care had taken its toll, while some carers also said that their hands were already too full (with either their own and/or other children in out-of-home care) to take on any additional children in the foreseeable future. While there was a relatively even split between foster and relative/kinship carers in regards to how often they cited these various reasons for not being likely to take on another child in the future, a further reason commonly provided by relative/kinship carers was that they were not expecting there to be any additional relatives who would require an out-of-home-care placement.

17 Regarding internal consistency, Cronbach's alpha was .65 for the rewards scale, and it was .77 for the challenges scale.