Synopsis

Pathways of Care Longitudinal Study (POCLS) is the first large-scale prospective longitudinal study of children and young people in out-of-home care (OOHC) in Australia. The child developmental domains of interest are physical health, socio-emotional wellbeing, cognitive/learning ability and safety. POCLS is the first study to link data on children’s child protection backgrounds, OOHC experiences, health, education and offending held by multiple government agencies; and match it to first hand accounts from children, caregivers, caseworkers and teachers. The POCLS database will allow researchers to track children’s experiences and outcomes from birth.

Summary

Study name  Pathways of Care Longitudinal Study: outcomes of children and young people in out-of-home care in NSW
Study abbreviation  POCLS
Current principal investigator/s Marilyn Chilvers
Current project manager Marina Paxman
Cohort representative (study contact) Marina Paxman
Postal address Level 4, 223-239 Liverpool Road Ashfield NSW 2131
Phone +61 2 9716 2635
Email marina.paxman@facs.nsw.gov.au
Primary Institution NSW Department of Family and Community Services
Collaborating Institution/s Consortium of Australian researchers from the University of Sydney, University of New South Wales, University of Adelaide, Sax Institute and I-view Social Research; and Chapin Hall Centre for Children University of Chicago.
Major funding sources Department of Family and Community Services
Study website www.community.nsw.gov.au/pathways
Key reference  Paxman, M., Tully, L., Burke, S. and Watson, J. (2014). Pathways of Care: Longitudinal study on children and young people in out-of-home care in New South Wales. Family Matters,  Issue No. 94, 15-28.

Read about the project phases and overview of the study design.

Watch a short video for caregivers or children.

Are data available outside study team?  From mid 2018 by application. For enquiries please email Pathways@facs.nsw.gov.au
Study focus Child developmental domains of interest are physical health, socio-emotional wellbeing, cognitive/learning ability and safety.
Sampling frame The population cohort is a census of all children and young people who entered out-of-home care for the first time in NSW, Australia, between May 2010 and October 2011 (18 months) (n=4,126). A subset of those children and young people who went on to receive final Children’s Court care and protection orders by April 2013 (2,828) were eligible to participate in the study.
Year commenced  Data collection commenced in May 2011.
Commencement sample

Record linkage data for a total of 4,126 children in the population cohort.

Of the study eligible cohort (n=2,828), caregivers of 1,789 children agreed for the NSW Department of Family and Community Services to securely transfer their contact details to I-view Social Research to invite them and the study child (if three years and older) to participate in an in-depth face-to-face interview at each wave of data collection.

Intergenerational? NA 
Imaging NA
Linkage
  • Child protection and out-of-home care records (NSW Department of Family and Community Services)
  • Australian Early Development Census records (Commonwealth Department of Education)
  • Education records (NSW Department of Education)
  • Health records (NSW Ministry of Health)
  • Youth offending records (Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research).
Biosamples?  NA
Ethics approvals or requirements?
  • UNSW Human Research Ethics Committee (approval number HC10335 & HC16542)
  • Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council of NSW Ethics Committee (approval number 766/10).
  • NSW Department of Education and Communities State Education Research Approval Process (SERAP, approval number 2012250) and the Catholic Education Office Sydney (and relevant diocese) approval for the childcare worker and teacher surveys.
  • NSW Population & Health Services Research Ethics Committee (Ref: HREC/14/CIPHS/74 Cancer Institute NSW: 2014/12/570) approval for record linkages.

Waves

Wave Year Age (mean, range) Eligible sample
1  2011-13

Mean: 5.1 years

Median:3.75 years

Range: 9 months-17 years

1,285 interviews completed
2 2013-2015

Mean: 6.67 years

Median: 5.33 years

Range: 2.25-17 years

1,200 interviews completed
3 2014-2016

Mean: 7.85 years

Median: 6.58 years

Range: 3.75-17 years

1,033 interviews completed
4 2017-2018 Range: 5.75-17 years Underway
5 2019-2020 Range: 7.75-17 years Pending