Review of evidence for out-of-home care interventions

Title: Evidence review: Analysis of the evidence for out-of-home care
Authors: Parenting Research Centre and the University of Melbourne
Commissioned by: Australian Capital Territory Government
Published: 2013

There is growing focus on programs and services that provide out-of-home care (OOHC) to children with a view to understanding the effectiveness of interventions available. In this context we were commissioned by the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Government to review the evidence and help guide its ongoing efforts to improve outcomes for children and young people in OOHC.

Our report, Evidence review: Analysis of the evidence for out-of-home care, examines the evidence for effective approaches to supporting OOHC interventions, such as kinship and foster care. We reviewed 58 studies reporting 35 interventions that work across the continuum of care (at the time of publication).

Some of our findings

  • Compared with residential or group care, treatment foster care results in better outcomes for children and young people with difficult behaviour problems.
  • Kinship care is as good as, or no worse than, non-related foster care.
  • There is little evidence that independent living skills programs help young people leaving foster care.
  • Our rapid evidence assessment identified 12 interventions that are potentially effective for children and young people in out-of-home care.