Welcome to the IFCO resource page of information on foster and kinship care. Over time we will develop and expand this section so please check back regularly. In celebration of the launch of IFCO’s new website access to IFCO’s curated list of resources is open to all for a limited time only. From early 2020 you must be a member of IFCO to gain access to IFCO’s curated list of resources. Please go to our membership section for information on benefits and how to apply. 

How does this page work?

The resources referred to in this page are gathered by IFCO from across the internet for the benefit of members. Where a resource refers to more than one theme it is categorised under the dominant theme. The resource themes are in alphabetical order with the most recent resource first. Click on a heading to go directly to the resource section.

Each of the above themes may be divided into the following resource sub-categories, where available:

  • Books        
  • Journal articles
  • Reports/studies
  • Videos
  • Podcasts

[PLEASE NOTE: Links to external resources are for the information of the users of our website. IFCO does not necessarily endorse or agree with views expressed in these links]

Ageing out of care

Melanie Doucet (2018) Relationships matter for youth ‘aging out’ of care photo eBook, a McGill University project.

This book examines the pathways to supportive long-term relationships for young people ageing out of care through the photography and words of eight young people.

Mike Stein and Emily R. Munro (eds.) (2008) Young people’s transitions from care to adulthood: international research and practice, London: Jessica Kingsley.

Building on Stein’s earlier work this edited book explores the challenges for young people transitioning from care across 16 countries as well as examining the legal, policy and administrative practices which apply.

 

Signe Hald Andersen (2019) ‘The effect of aftercare on human capital acquisition among foster care alumni’, Children and Youth Services Review, 103: 28-41.

Most countries provide aftercare for foster care alumni, yet there is limited evidence of the effects of this type of care, especially from non-US contexts. Andersen’s study tests whether an expansion of the Danish aftercare scheme in 2001, affects later outcomes of foster care alumni.

Elizabeth Jane Greeno, Berenice Rushovich, Sarah Catherine Williams, Joshua Brusca & Kantahyanee Murray (2019) ‘Findings from an evaluation of Family Findings: experiences of Family Finders and older youth’, International Social Work, 62(2): 784-798.

The purpose of this mixed methods study is to assess the experiences of child welfare workers trained in Family Finding and to assess the experiences of the youth who participated in Family Finding. Findings from this study suggest the efficacy of Family Finding in establishing relational permanence for youth.

Clare, B. Anderson, M. Bodenham and B. Clare (2017) ‘Leaving care and at risk of homelessness: The Lift Project’. Children Australia, 1(1): 9-17.

This action-research strategy involves inter-agency policy and practice in Western Australia designed to prevent homelessness of vulnerable care leavers.

Anne Steenbakkers, Steffie van der Steen, & Hans Grietens (2019) ‘How do youth in foster care view the impact of traumatic experiences?’, Children and Youth Services Review, 103: 42-50.

Children in family foster care have been disproportionately exposed to traumatic experiences, which contribute to the problems and specific needs they experience. The aim of this study was therefore to ask youth how they experience the impact of traumas prior to living in a foster family. Episodic narrative interviews were conducted with 13 youth aged 15–23 (formerly) residing in family foster care in the Netherlands.

Barbara F. Tobolowsky, Maria Scannapieco, Donna M. Aguiniga, & Elissa E. Madden (2019) ‘Former foster youth experiences with higher education: opportunities and challenges’, Children and Youth Services Review, 104: 362-369.

This study explores the post-secondary school experiences of foster youth alumni through their voices and those of key individuals in their lives (i.e., foster parents and caseworkers and community service providers) to gain and in-depth understanding of their post-secondary experiences.

Melanie Doucet (2018) Relationships matter for youth ‘aging out’ of care, a McGill University Project.

The focus of this collaborative research project is placed on incorporating and elevating the voices of youth who have ‘aged out’ of care on issues related to forming healthy, supportive and sustainable relationships with the people who matter to them.

Mike Stein (2005) Resilience and young people leaving care: overcoming the odds, York: Joseph Rowntree Foundation

A literature review exploring the factors affecting young people leaving care as they make their transition to adulthood and independence.

Melanie Doucet (2018) Relationships matter for youth ‘aging out’ of care project video, a McGill University project.

The video features the co-researchers and the principal researcher reflecting on the project at a 2017 exhibition of the photos used in the eBook.

Alternative care

Robbie Gilligan (2019) ‘The family foster care system in Ireland: advances and challenges’, Children and Youth Services Review, 100: 221-228.

This review of the Irish foster care system, which has reached 92% family placement (combined foster and kinship) for children in care, makes Ireland an interesting case study in a global policy context with its increasing shift away from institutional care towards family-based care for children in need.

Laura Horvath, Mohamed Nabieu & Melody Curtiss (2019) ‘Why we decided to transition from residential to family-based care’, Scottish Journal of Residential Child Care, 18(2): 68-77.

In the context of a move to deinstitutionalisation in Sierra Leone this paper recounts the story of one organisation’s transition from residential to family-based care.

Kwabena Frimpong-Manso, Antoine Deliege, Theresa Wilson & Yvonne Norman (2019) ‘Residential childcare in Ghana: analysing current trends and drivers, Scottish Journal of Residential Child Care, 18(2): 21-33.

The paper describes the findings of a geographical mapping and analysis of residential care facilities in four regions of Ghana.

Jennifer C. Davidson, Ian Milligan, Neil Quinn, Nigel Cantwell & Susan Elsley (2017) ‘Developing family-based care: complexities in implementing the UN Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children’, European Journal of Social Work, 20(5): 754-769.

This paper offers an overview of the UN Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children’s key principles and considers the complexities that arise in efforts towards their implementation.

Elizabeth Fernandez, Jung-Sook Lee, Wendy Foote, Hazel Blunden, Patricia McNamara, Szilvia Kovacs & Paul-Auguste Cornefert (2017) ‘“There’s More to be Done; “Sorry” is Just a Word”: Legacies of Out-of-Home Care in the 20th Century’, Children Australia, 42(3): 176-197.

This research explores the experiences of care leavers, who lived in institutions (such as Children’s Homes and orphanages) or other forms of out-of-home care between 1930 and 1989. Participants include representatives of three sub-cohorts: Forgotten Australians, members of the Stolen Generations and Child Migrants.

Hamido A. Megahead (2017) ‘Non-kinship family foster care in Egypt’, Adoption & Fostering, 41(4): 391-400.

This article describes the history and philosophy of foster care in Egypt.

Catherine Flagothier (2016) Alternative child care and deinstitutionalisation in Asia. Luxembourg: European Union.

This study aims to provide a brief mapping and summary of existing knowledge on alternative care and de-institutionalisation in developing countries in Asia.

Tamsen J Rochat, Zitha Mokomane, Joanie Mitchell & The Directorate (2016) ‘Public perceptions, beliefs and experiences of fostering and adoption: a national qualitative study in South Africa’, Children & Society, 30(2): 120-131.

The authors state that little is known about the public perceptions, beliefs and experiences that inform decisions to either foster or adopt in South Africa. This article which is based on qualitative research explores these issues among a national sample of childless adults, biological parents, kin and non-kin fostering parents and prospective and successful adopters.

Venelin Terzieva & Ekaterina Arabska (2016) ‘Process of deinstitutionalization of children at risk in Bulgaria’, Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, 233: 287 – 291.

In recent years in Bulgaria the type of institutional care for children at risk is changing giving priority to family and close to family environment. Economic, political and social changes that accompany the transition has led to new problems and exacerbated existing problems. This paper analyses the national strategy for deinstitutionalisation of children.

Boniface A Ushie, Pauline E Osamor, Ann C Obieje & Ekerette E Udoh (2016) ‘Culturally sensitive child placement: key findings from a survey of looked after children in foster and residential care in Ibadan, Nigeria’, Fostering & Adoption, 40(4): 352-361.

The quality of the caregiver–child relationship is key to the well-being of children, but assumptions based on research in western countries about the benefits of different types of substitute care may be questionable when applied elsewhere. This study assessed the quality of caregiver–child relationships and their association with child abuse in foster and residential care in Nigeria.

Kwabena Frimpong-Manso (2014) ‘From walls to homes: child care reform and deinstitutionalisation in Ghana’, International Journal of Social Welfare, 23(4): 402-409.

In 2006 the Ghanaian government began to reform the child welfare system. This article provides an overview of the major components of the reform, including reintegration with the extended family, foster care and adoption.

Ian Anand Forber-Pratt, Stephanie Loo, Sara Price & Jyoti Acharya (2013) ‘Foster care in India: an exploratory survey of the community perceptions and prospects for implementation of foster care in a developing nation: a study in Udaipur, Rajasthan, India’, Children and Youth Services Review, 35: 694-706.

This study was conducted in order to assess the prospects for implementing foster care as an alternative to the dominant system of institutional care available to orphaned and abandoned children in India.

Vijayan K. Pillai & Yasoda Sharma (2013) ‘Child fosterage among Zambian families’, Vulnerable Children and Youth Studies, 8(4): 362-365.

The purpose of this article is to examine the characteristics of Zambian families that foster children and to identify the social services needs of the fostering families.

Helena Šašková & Johana Mertová (2012) ‘Care for vulnerable and disadvantaged children in the Czech Republic’, European Journal of Social Work, 15(5): 664-678.

This article provides a context for the Czech Republic’s care system for vulnerable children, including a section on alternative family care. It also outlines proposals for reforming the child care system.

Helen Charnley (2006) ‘The sustainability of substitute family care for children separated from their families by war: evidence from Mozambique’, Children & Society, 20(3): 223-234.

This article presents the findings of an empirical study exploring the sustainability of the substitute family in supporting children separated from their families during Mozambique’s 16-year civil conflict.

Jung-Woo Kim & Terry Henderson (2008) ‘History of the care of displaced children in Korea’, Asian Social Work and Policy Review, 2: 13-29.

This article provides a background to and a review of child welfare provision in Korea, including a section on foster care.

Kozo Iwasaki, Akira Tozawa & Makoto Motomura (2005) ‘Caring for deprived children in Japan’, Asia Pacific Journal of Social Work and Development, 15(2): 5-17.

Iwasaki and colleagues provide a background to child care services in Japan, including a section on foster care.

Samantha Chaitkin, Nigel Cantwell, Chrissie Gale, Ian Milligan, Catherine Flagothier, Claire O’Kane & Graham Connelly (2017) Towards the right care for children: orientations for reforming alternative care systems, Africa, Asia, Latin America. Luxembourg: European Union.

The three specific objectives of this study were to: map and summarise the existing knowledge on (de-)institutionalisation in the three continents concerned; increase the knowledge base on (de-) institutionalisation in 6 specific countries; and provide guidelines for future EU strategies on (de-) institutionalisation in developing countries.

Asylum, refugee and immigrant children

Deirdre Horgan & Muireann Ní Raghallaigh (2019) ‘The social care needs of unaccompanied minors: the Irish experience’, European Journal of Social Work, 22(1): 95-106.

This article examines forms of care which can be used by social workers to best respond to unaccompanied minors (UAMs) given their complex needs and particular vulnerability combined with their agency and resilience.

Jim Wade (2019) ‘Supporting unaccompanied asylum-seeking young people: the experience of foster care’, Child & Family Social Work, 24(3): 383-390.

This paper reports findings from the first UK study into the experiences of unaccompanied asylum-seeking young people, describing issues arising from initial assessment and preparation for fostering and the ways in which young people and foster carers adjusted to their lives together.

Habid Rezaie (2019) ‘Commentary on supporting unaccompanied asylum-seeking young people: the experience of foster care’ Child & Family Social Work, 24(3): 391-392.

Habid Rezaie comments on Jim Wade’s paper.

Children with disabilities

John Orme, Donna J. Cherry and Mary Ellen Cox (2013) ‘Measuring willingness to foster children with disabilities and special medical conditions’, Social Work Research, 37(3): 169-178.

In this article the authors present the Willingness to Foster Scale – Disabilities and Medical Conditions (WFS-DMC), a measure to assess the willingness of parents to foster children with special needs. The authors tested the WFS-DMC with a national (U.S.A.) sample of 298 foster mothers.

Summer G. Stanley (2012) ‘Children with disability in foster care: the role of the school social worker in the context of special education’, Children & Schools, 34(3): 190-192.

This is a short ‘practice highlights’ article in which draws attention to the important role the school social worker can play in supporting a child with special education needs and their foster carers by advocating with the school on their behalf.

Comparative international care (general articles)

Philip Mendes (2019) ‘Globalization, the welfare state young people leaving state out-of-home care’, Asian Social Work and Policy Review, 3: 85-94.

In his review of international research, Mendes points to a common poor outcome for care leavers in developed countries, including Australia, which he uses as a case study.

Mike Stein (2019) ‘Supporting young people from care to adulthood: international practice’, Child & Family Social Work, 24(3): 400-405.

This paper explores practice examples relating to young people’s transitions from care to adulthood in an international context.

Jan Storø, Yvonne Sjöblom & Ingrid Höjer (2019) ‘A comparison of state support for young people leaving care in Norway and Sweden: Differences within comparable welfare systems’, Child & Family Social Work, 24(3):393-399.

The aim of this article is to account for and discuss support to young care leavers within the comparable welfare regimes of Norway and Sweden and to explore key differences between these two countries.

Transform Alliance Africa (2018) Ending institutional care in Africa: Questions and answers.

This short report makes the case for moving children out of orphanages and into family and community-based care.

Jayna Kothari (2014) Foster care in India: Policy brief. Bangalore: Centre for Law and Policy Research.

This paper argues for the creation of a robust foster care system in India. There has been a shift in policy and law towards family-based care in India and this policy brief provides a context for these developments and reviews the relevant legislation.

Nicole Petrowski, Claudia Cappa & Peter Gross (2017) ‘Estimating the number of children in formal alternative care: challenges and results’, Child Abuse & Neglect, 70: 388-398.

The purpose of this paper is to provide a snapshot of the availability and coverage of data on children living in residential and foster care from some 142 countries covering more than 80 per cent of the world’s children. Utilizing these country-level figures, it is estimated that approximately 2.7 million children between the ages of 0 and 17 years could be living in institutional care worldwide. Where possible, the article also presents regional estimates of the number of children living in residential and foster care.

Jessaca Leinaweaver (2014) ‘Informal kinship-based fostering around the world: anthropological findings’, Child Development Perspectives, 8(3): 131-136.

In this article the author reviews some of the anthropological findings about the positive and negative characteristics of informal kinship care cross-culturally.

RELAF (2010) Children and adolescents without parental care in Latin America: contexts, causes and consequences of being deprived the right to family and community life. Buenos Aires: RELAF.

This report uses information gathered from 12 Latin American countries to provide a baseline of knowledge on the needs of vulnerable children and young people who are without parental care.

Ethnic minority children

Derek Kirton (2014) ‘(In)sufficient?: Ethnicity and foster care in English local authorities’, Child & Family Social Work, 21(4): 92-501.

This article examines the place of ethnicity in local authority foster care in the context of the sufficiency duty to secure adequate local placements for looked after children.

Experiences of children and young people in foster care

Annabel Goodyer (2011) Child-centred foster care: a rights-based model for practice, London: Jessica Kingsley.

This book sets out a child-centred approach to foster care which argues against thinking about children purely from a psychological perspective and instead places children’s views, rights and needs at the centre of care.

Rebecca Brown, Hayley Alderson, Eileen Kaner, Ruth McGovern & Raghu Lingam (2019) ‘“There are carers, and then there are carers who actually care”: conceptualizations of care among looked after children and care leavers, social workers and carers’, Child Abuse & Neglect, 92: 219-229.

This study aims to explore how care is perceived and practiced among looked after children and care leavers and those with a duty of care for them.

Carmel Devaney, Caroline McGregor & Lisa Moran (2019) ‘Outcomes for permanence and stability for children in care in Ireland: implications for practice’, British Journal of Social Work, 49(3): 633-652.

This paper reports how, amongst a complex array of findings, three themes most linked to affect permanence and stability were found to be relationships, communication and social support. Underpinning these, the importance of continuity was significant.

Taru Kekoni, Janissa Miettinen, Niina Häkälä and Anssi Savolainen (2019) ‘Child development in foster family care: what really counts?’ European Journal of Social Work, 22(1): 107-120.

This literature review locates the critical factors that either positively or negatively affect a child’s development in foster family care.

Elizabeth M. Aparicio, Deborah Gioia & Edward V. Pecukonis (2018) ‘“I can get through this and I will get through this”: the unfolding journey of teenage motherhood in and beyond foster care’, Qualitative Social Work, 17(1): 96-114.

Investigates conceptualisations of motherhood among young mothers who gave birth as teenagers while in foster care.

Nancy Rolock and Alfred G. Pérez (2018) ‘Three sides to a foster care story: an examination of the lived experiences of young adults, their foster care case record, and the space in between’ Qualitative Social Work, 17(2): 195-215.

This paper explores the difference in stories as told by young adults of their time in foster care and the stories recorded in their case files.

Hélène Lagerlőf (2016) ‘School related resources and potential to exercise self-determination for young people in Swedish out-of-home care’, Adoption & Fostering, 40(4): 378-391.

This study focuses on access to school related resources for young people (13–18 years old) in foster and residential care. The aim is to examine the degree to which environments for young people in foster and residential care provide them with relevant resources for their schooling.

Johan Vanderfaeillie. Frank Van Holen, Femke Vanschoonlandt, Marijke Robberechts & Tim Stroobants (2013) ‘Children placed in long-term family foster care: a longitudinal study into the development of problem behavior and associated factors’, Children and Youth Services Review, 35: 587-593.

Due to prior experiences of trauma and abuse, many foster children have behavioral problems. The placement of the child in a family foster home is expected to reduce the behavioral problems. However, this expectation is seldom met and mostly behavioral problems increase or remain stable during placement. Research on the development of behavioral problems in foster children is scarce.

Nicola Carr and Paula Mayock (2019) Care and justice: children and young people in care and contact with the criminal justice system. Dublin, Ireland: Irish Penal Reform Trust.

This report presents the findings arising from a small-scale exploratory study commissioned by the Irish Penal Reform Trust that aimed to explore the extent to which children with care experience are over-represented in the Irish youth justice system.

Linda O’Neill, Neil Harrison, Nadine Fowler & Graham Fowler (2019) “Being a student with care experience is very daunting”: findings from a survey of care experienced students in Scottish colleges and universities, Glasgow: CELCIS.

This research aimed to broaden and deepen understanding of the barriers and enablers that care experienced students encounter in going to, being at and staying at college and university in Scotland.

Foster care

Rob Twigg (2009) ‘Passion for those who care: what foster carers need’. In S. McKay, D. Fuchs and I. Brown (eds.) Passion for action in child and family services: voices from the Prairies, Regina, SK: Canadian Plains Research Center, 165-184.

The author argues that the needs of those who provide services for children who come into care and their families are rarely the focus of research, writing, or policy. This chapter looks at the needs of one group of service providers: foster carers and their own children.

Lauren Baer & David K.Diehl (2019) ‘Foster care for teenagers: motivators, barriers and strategies to overcome barriers’, Children and Youth Services Review, 103: 264-277.

There has long been a shortage of homes for teenagers in foster care due in part to the reality that many people who foster choose not to foster teenagers. An understanding of factors that influence people’s willingness to foster teenagers might support an increased supply of available homes for teenagers. Through this qualitative study, the authors explore why some foster parents are motivated to foster teenagers, what barriers prevent other foster parents from fostering teenagers, and whether there are effective strategies for foster parents to overcome barriers to fostering teenagers.

John Coleman (2019) ‘Helping teenagers in care flourish: what parenting research can tell us about foster care’, Child & Family Social Work, 24(3): 354-359.

In this article the author reviews a range of theoretical and practical issues that are relevant to the foster care of teenagers.

Áine Kelly (2019) ‘Commentary on helping teenagers in care to flourish’, Child & Family Social Work, 24(3): 360.

Áine Kelly comments on John Coleman’s article.

Arianne E. Miller, Tonika Duren Green & Katina M. Lambros (2019) ‘Foster parent self-care: a conceptual model’, Children and Youth Services Review, 99: 107-114.

Foster parents play a critical role in the lives of youth in foster care, experience myriad stressors, have high rates of turnover and in turn the child welfare system ultimately over relies on relatively small numbers of caregivers to care for the majority of foster children. The purpose of the current article is to highlight the need for greater attention to foster parent self-care and integrate the research literature about foster parent stressors and self-care to propose a conceptual model of foster parent self-care.

Leonie Miller, Melanie Randle & Sara Dolnicar (2019) ‘Carer factors associated with foster-placement success and breakdown’, British Journal of Social Work, 49(2): 503-522.

Several personal and family factors were identified as increasing the likelihood of foster-placement success, including higher cognitive empathy of the carer, a high level of social support from family, a high-quality carer–partner relationship, higher levels of care-giving and role-carer demand satisfaction, and a good match, fewer conflicts and better relationship between the carer and foster child.

Lucie Shuker & Jenny Pearce (2019) ‘Could I do something like that? Recruiting and training foster carers for teenagers “at risk” of or experiencing child sexual exploitation’, Child & Family Social Work, 24(3): 361-369.

Using evidence from the evaluation of specialist foster care provision and a child sexual exploitation (CSE) training course for foster carers, this paper considers how training might be used to widen the pool of potential foster carers for children affected by CSE and identifies qualities displayed by effective carers.

Cj Hamilton (2019) ‘Commentary on recruiting and training foster carers for teenagers “at risk” of or experiencing child sexual exploitation’, Child & Family Social Work, 24(3): 370-371.

Cj Hamilton comments on Lucie Shuker & Jenny Pearce’s article.

Damien W. Riggs & Stacy Blythe (2017) ‘Experiences of separation and divorce among foster and adoptive families: the need for supportive responses’, Adoption & Fostering, 41(1): 75-81.

Separation and divorce are realities faced by many families. Yet in the case of foster and adoptive families, only a small number of studies have looked at the way such experiences affect them. This article seeks to fill this gap by exploring the nature and consequences of separation and divorce among foster and adoptive families in Australia and the United States.

Stacy Blythe, Elizabeth Halcomb, Lesley Wilkes and Debra Jackson (2014) ‘Caring for vulnerable children: challenges of mothering in the Australian foster care system’, Contemporary Nurse, 44(1): 87-98.

Foster carers have a significant responsibility in caring for vulnerable children. In order to support and facilitate foster carers it is important to understand how they perceive and fulfil this responsibility. A qualitative storytelling study, informed by feminist perspectives, was used to conduct in-depth, semi-structured interviews with 20 women providing long-term foster care in Australia. Thematic analysis revealed these women characterised themselves as mothers, rather than paid carers, to the long-term foster children in their care.

Heather Ottaway & Julie Selwyn (2016) ‘No-one told us it was going to be like this’: compassion fatigue and foster carers, Bristol: University of Bristol.

This research report investigates the impact of compassion fatigue on foster carers in the UK.

Lorraine Thomson, Morag McArthur & Elizabeth Watt (2016) Foster carer attraction, recruitment, support and retention, Canberra: Institute of Child Protection Studies, Australian Catholic University.

This report aims to review the literature available on what works to help people to make the complicated choice to become a home-based carer, and on the evidence regarding retention of these carers for children in out-of-home care.

Foster carers' biological children

Sarah Serbinski (2017) ‘Growing up with foster siblings: exploring the impacts of fostering on the children of foster parents’. Qualitative Social Work, 16(1): 131-149.

An exploration of the experiences of daughters of foster parents. Findings reveal that the daughters of foster parents are exposed to multiple foster sibling relationships due to the temporary nature of foster care. To protect their emotional well-being, these participants become apprehensive about developing relationships with new foster siblings, as well as with friends and romantic partners.

Anna Targowska, Tara Cavazzi and Stephan Lund (2015) ‘Fostering together: the why and how of involving and supporting biological children of foster carers’. Children Australia, 41(1): 29-38.

In this article the authors address the relative lack of voice of biological children in the fostering task, despite the increasing acknowledgement of children’s rights and their capability to be involved in decision-making processes.

Morgan A. Smith (2017) ‘”The storied experience of foster carers” own children’. Unpublished MSc, University of Canterbury.

This thesis describes a study that explores how foster carers’ own children narrate their experience of foster care using a qualitative approach.

Debbie Noble-Carr, Jayna Farnham and Christine Dean (2014) Needs and experiences of biological children of foster carers: a scoping study. Institute of Child Protection Studies, Australian Catholic University.

This scoping study aims to deepen understanding of the experiences, and impacts, of fostering on biological children of foster carers in the Australian Capital Territory.

Foster care outcomes

Peter Fallesen (2014) ‘Identifying divergent foster care careers for Danish children’, Child Abuse & Neglect, 38(11): 1860-1871.

Foster care children who experience placement disruption and foster care instability are at elevated risk for a host of poor outcomes. Fallesen uses previous studies on foster care drift, instability, and placement disruptions to define the unstable foster care career as a subset of foster care careers. He also discusses the implications for later life outcomes for children who have been in foster care and the importance of these findings for practitioners.

Indigenous children and young people

Ulene Schiller & Gideon de Wet (2018) ‘Communication, indigenous culture and participatory decision making amongst foster adolescents’, Qualitative Social Work, 17(2): 236-251.

This paper analyses the experiences of adolescents in foster care placement with specific reference to participatory decision making in an indigenous African cultural context in South Africa.

Mike Clare & Ann Oakley (2017) ‘“Who’s my mob?” Proactive searching for the extended families of Aboriginal children in care’, Communities, Children and Families Australia, 11(1): 43-58.

The paper explores theoretical and applied characteristics of an innovative model of proactively searching for – and finding – safe family placements for Aboriginal children in care in Western Australia; the model extends a notional continuum of care placement options for vulnerable children and families.

Meredith Kiraly, Julieanne James and Cathy Humphreys (2014) ‘“It’s a family responsibility”: family and cultural connection for Aboriginal children in kinship care’, Children Australia, 40(1): 23-32.

In the research that informs this paper survey responses indicated that in many cases, family and cultural connections were not being assisted by cultural support planning. Indigenous caseworkers described the complexities of facilitating family contact, highlighting good practice as well as dilemmas and shortcomings in culturally sensitive practice.

International instruments, policy and practice developments

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989)

The UNCRC is an international human rights treaty which sets out the range of rights afforded to children and young people up to the age of 18 years. 196 countries are party to the Convention, which includes every member of the UN except the United States.

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989)

UNICEF (the UN children’s organisation) provides a summary of the UNCRC. We at IFCO believe it is important for children and young people to know about their rights. You can see the UNICEF summary here.

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989)

UNICEF Australia has an animated video starring Ruby and Jack who explain the UNCRC to younger children. If you want to watch that video, click here UNICEF Australia has an animated video starring Ruby and Jack who explain the UNCRC to younger children. If you want to watch that video, click her

UN Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children (2010)

These Guidelines set out the principles for supporting children to remain with their families and when a child’s family cannot provide adequate care then all efforts must be made to provide the most appropriate alternative care. The Guidelines are underpinned by the UNCRC.

Marjan Schippers, Peter van de Pol, Liedewij de Ruijter de Wildt, Kerstin Thys, Marie Krogshøj Larsen, Zima Massoumi & Martin Rozumek (2016), Alternative Family Care (ALFACA): Manual for Staff Working with Reception Families and Unaccompanied Children Living in Reception Families. Utrecht: Nidos.

This manual is aimed at professional staff working with families who care for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children and for staff working with the unaccompanied children. It was developed by Nidos (the Netherlands) and its partners Jugendhilfe Süd-Niedersachsen (JSN, Germany), Organization for Aid to Refugees (OPU, Czech Republic), Danish Red Cross (Denmark), Minor-Ndako (Belgium) and Kija (Austria), with the support of the European Commission. The manual is available in 12 European languages.

Opening Doors (2014) Deinstitutionalisation and Quality Alternative Care for Children in Europe: Lessons Learned and the Way Forward. Brussels: Eurochild.

This paper aims to raise awareness of the perverse effects of institutionalisation on children and it calls for comprehensive system reforms, starting with a transition towards family and community-based care in European countries.

Nigel Cantwell, Jennifer Davidson, Susan Elsley, Ian Milligan and Neil Quinn (2012) Moving Forward: Implementing the ‘Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children’. Glasgow: Centre for Excellence for Looked After Children in Scotland.

This handbook seeks to assist all involved in alternative care to advance the implementation of the, UN Guidelines for the Alternative care of Children by “explaining the key elements of the Guidelines, outlining the kind of policy responses required, and describing ‘promising’ examples of efforts already made to apply them in diverse communities, countries, regions and cultures”.

Quality4Children (2011) Standards for out-of-home child care in Europe. Vienna: Quality4Children.

These quality standards were developed by IFCO with two other international organisations committed to the well-being of children, FICE and SOS Children’s Villages. These guidelines came from a project by the same name, which ran for the period 2004-2007. The standards emerged from real-life experiences of those directly involved in out-of-home care.

Kinship carers

Ebenezer Cudjoe, Alhassan Abdullah and Marcus Y.L. Chiu (2019) ‘What makes kinship caregivers unprepared for children in their care? Perspectives and experiences from kinship care alumni in Ghana’, Children and Youth Services Review, 101: 270-276.

Kinship care for children is highly used in Ghana as an alternative care option mostly because of the belief that it is important to keep children within their families to continue family relationships, culture and to cement family bonds. This paper shows that kinship caregivers may not be prepared to provide care and protection for children in need of parental care. As a result of this, the safety and wellbeing of these children could be at risk. This study reports on a qualitative investigation involving 15 young kinship care alumni in Ghana to explore what kinship caregivers’ unpreparedness means and what causes them to be unprepared.

Nicole De Wet (2019) ‘The association between mother’s socioeconomic status and non-orphan kinship care arrangements in South Africa’, Children and Youth Services Review, 103: 79-86.

The practice of non-orphan kinship care is quite common across Sub-Saharan Africa. But, when elderly grandparents are the primary caregivers, the resulting financial and emotional strain compromises child health and development according to the authors. Yet the practice persists and while research has examined the socioeconomic factors associated with and resulting from orphan kinship care, no study has examined if living mother’s low socioeconomic status is a determinant of non-orphan kinship care in South Africa. This study seeks to address this gap.

Jay Miller, Eun Koh, Chunling Niu, Molly Bode & Shannon Moody (2019) ‘Examining child trauma knowledge among kin caregivers: implications for practice, policy and research’, Children and Youth Services Review, 100: 112-118.

This exploratory study from the U.S.A. investigates kinship carers’ perceived and actual knowledge associated with child trauma.

Elizabeth A. Sharda, Carolyn G. Sutherby, Daniel L. Cavanaugh, Anne K. Hughes & Amanda T. Woodward (2019) ‘Parenting stress, well-being, and social support among kinship caregivers’, Children and Youth Services Review, 99: 74-80.

Kinship caregivers are a large and growing population in the United States. It is therefore critical to understand this population and their unique challenges and needs. This study aims to add to existing knowledge by exploring the impact of caregiving on kinship caregivers, particularly the stress and social support they experience and the subsequent effect on their well-being.

Ines Zuchowski, Susan Gair, Debbie Henderson & Ros Thorpe (2019) ‘Convenient yet neglected: the role of grandparent kinship carers’, British Journal of Social Work, 49(3): 615-632.

The qualitative Australian study reported here explored how contact between grandparents and their grandchildren could be optimised after child-safety concerns.

Meredith Kiraly & Cathy Humphreys (2017) ‘The changing face of out-of-home care in Australia – developing policy and practice for the 21st century’, Children Australia, 42(4): 230-232.

This opinion piece traces the rise of statutory kinship care in Australia from the progressive reduction of residential care and the struggle to recruit enough foster carers to meet demand for protective care.

Meredith Kiraly, Julieanne James and Cathy Humphreys (2014) ‘“It’s a family responsibility”: family and cultural connection for Aboriginal children in kinship care’, Children Australia, 40(1): 23-32.

In the research that informs this paper survey responses indicated that in many cases, family and cultural connections are not being assisted by cultural support planning. Indigenous caseworkers describe the complexities of facilitating family contact, highlighting good practice as well as dilemmas and shortcomings in culturally sensitive practice.

Carme Montserrat (2014) ‘Kinship care in Spain: messages from research’, Child & Family Social Work, 19: 367-376.

In this paper the author reviews research on kinship care in Spain and finds that there are more positives than negatives in this type of fostering which has grown significantly in recent years.

Ahmed Bawa Kuyini, Abdul Razak Alhassan, Inga Tollerud, Hanne Weld & Iddi Haruna (2009) ‘Traditional kinship foster care in northern Ghana: the experiences and views of children, carers and adults in Tamale’, Child & Family Social Work, 14(4): 440-449.

This article outlines research findings on the experiences of traditional kinship foster care in the Tamale area of Northern Ghana. The need to keep family ties alive is the key reason for placement of children with family and kin. The carers were positive about their role notwithstanding the challenges faced by the carers providing for children in a difficult economic situation.

LGBTQ+ children and young people

Gillian Schofield, Jeanette Cossar, Emma Ward, Birgit Larsson & Pippa Belderson (2019) ‘Providing a secure base for LGBTQ people in foster care: the role of foster carers’, Child & Family Social Work, 24(3): 372-381.

The experiences and needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer/questioning (LGBTQ) young people in care have been overlooked in England, in both policy and research. This paper focuses on the nature of foster carers’ experiences and perspectives on the role of caring for LGBTQ young people.

Brett Service (2019) ‘Commentary on providing a secure base for LGBTQ people in foster care: the role of foster carers’, Child & Family Social Work, 24(3): 382.

Brett Service comments on Gillian Schofield et al’s paper.

Social workers

Jonathon Dickens & Cătălin Serghi (2000) ‘Attitudes to child care reform in Romania: findings from a survey of Romanian social workers’, European Journal of Social Work, 3(3): 247-260.

This paper presents the findings of a survey of Romanian social workers’ attitudes towards two key aspects of child and family social work in their country: namely, the development of foster care, and the regulation of inter-country adoption.