Transitioning to life after out of-home care: The Beyond 18 study

Research with children and young people
Friday 27 July, 1115 – 1235


Stewart Muir
Australian Institute of Family Studies

Jade Purtell
Australian Institute of Family Studies

Young people leaving out-of-home care (OOHC) face a range of challenges. Many have complex histories of trauma or neglect and the end of their statutory care arrangements at 18 can mean a difficult transition into independent living at an age when many other young people are supported by their parents. In particular, many care leavers endure sustained periods of unstable housing and financial stress after the end of their formal care orders.
These challenging life circumstances, and the fact that many care leavers lose contact with government services after leaving care, can make it difficult to attract them into research studies or to retain them in longitudinal research.
In this paper, we discuss some of these challenges and the methods used in Beyond 18: The Longitudinal Study of Leaving Care to maximise participation and retention rates with care leavers and young people in OOHC. We also discuss some of the ethical and methodological challenges of undertaking research with young people with an OOHC experience. In the Beyond 18 study, this has included consideration of what the project researchers, and the study as whole, can offer to participants