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Maintaining culture and supporting cultural identity in foster care placements.


Out-of-home care (OOHC) refers to the protection of children and young people up to 18 years who are unable to live with their birth families. OOHC placements involve a child or young person identified as being at risk of abuse or neglect being removed from their birth family and placed with an alternative caregiver on a temporary or long-term basis. There are different types of OOHC placements and the two most common types of alternative caregiving in Australia are kinship care (usually provided by a close relative of the child or young person), and foster care--where the caregiver is unrelated to the child or young person (AIFS, 2018). As of June 2018, 'the majority of children on care and protection orders lived in funded out-of-home care' (69%), including 38% in kinship care and 31% in OOHC (AIHW, 2019, p.43).

There are approximately 17,900 children in OOHC placements in the state of New South Wales (NSW) in Australia and 45% of these children are in foster care placements with a further 51% in kinship care placements (AIFS, 2018). Since 2013 there has been an increase of 18% of children placed in foster care (AIFS, 2018). In the USA there is over representation of children from minority backgrounds in the child protection system (US Department of Health and Human Services, 2012). However, in Australia, the extent of involvement of children from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) family backgrounds in the OOHC system is largely not known mainly due to poor consistency of ethnicity data collection (e.g. country of birth, language spoken at home) in child protection and OOHC services. In their landmark report, Burke and Paxman (2008, p.10), noted that 'further work [is needed] to accurately record the number of NESB (non-English speaking background) children in care' in NSW. To date, the limited available evidence suggests that the number of CALD children in foster care is consistent with CALD representation in the total population of Australia.

Australia's cultural mix includes the diverse heritages of our First Peoples--the Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islander communities. Migration, especially in the past 50 years, has contributed to the rich tapestry of the social and cultural fabric of Australia. Today almost half the population of Australia have at least one parent who was born overseas (Hunt, 2017). The changing nature of Australian society is influenced by socio-economic and political factors intersecting with the diversity of cultural beliefs and values, languages and religions.

Australia, as a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (United Nations, 1989), is expected to uphold a child's right to protection and participation, including in OOHC policy and practice. For instance, whilst Article 11 refers to children's right to have a say in decisions that affect their lives, Article 14 focuses on religious freedom. In the case of alternative care arrangements and limited contact with the birth family, these articles are particularly pertinent in the case of children in OOHC placements. The national standards for OOHC echo these articles with explicit reference to maintaining connections to family, culture and community as part of a suite of requirements in OOHC (AIFS, 2018). These provisions for maintaining connections to culture are also embedded in NSW standards in OOHC (Office of the Children's Guardian, 2015). There is however a need to build the evidence base and explore innovative strategies to support CALD children in foster care placements in order to maintain cultural connections and promote belonging.

Foster care in NSW is undergoing significant reform, with the NSW Government devolving responsibility for short and long-term foster care from the Department of Family and Community Services (DFACS) to accredited non-governmental organisations (NGOs). NSW legislation requires that children in care maintain connections to their community, culture, language and religion, and DFACS requires a cultural care plan for each child as a component of individual care plans for children from CALD backgrounds, or who are identified as Aboriginal (DFACS, 2016). This study involved Settlement Services International (SSI) and the Multicultural Foster Care Service (MFCS) which it manages, specifically targeting CALD children and young people in OOHC in NSW (see While all providers of OOHC in NSW are likely to have children from CALD backgrounds, SSI is unique in having a specialised multicultural OOHC program.

At SSI, in line with current OOHC standards (AIFS, 2018), cultural matching between the child's family background and the foster care family is a priority in arranging foster care placements. Typically, in the delivery of OOHC, SSI pays close attention to ethnicity, as reflected in everyday use of the child's home language, faith or religious beliefs, and traditional cultural customs (e.g. food). In SSI's practice, cultural matching is deemed to be achieved when at least two of these dimensions are matched between the child and the foster carer. Where cultural matching of a foster carer and a child is not possible, SSI works to culturally match the child with a caseworker or a bicultural support worker (BSW). Where the caseworker is not matched to the child's cultural background, the BSW provides culturally specific advice and assistance to the child and foster carer. For example, SSI supports a number of children and young people from African backgrounds in foster care and BSWs from diverse African backgrounds work with case workers and foster carers (who are mostly from Anglo-Australian backgrounds) to maintain cultural connections. In addition, cultural care plans are developed which include strategies to maintain the child or young person's connection to their birth culture, strengthen cultural identity and self-esteem, and influence positive long-term outcomes for the child or young person (DFACS, 2017).

This article considers the long-term foster care placements of children from immigrant and refugee family backgrounds residing in Australia. Specifically, we report on an exploratory research study about cultural matching in foster care placements. Our aim is to promote dialogue amongst foster care stakeholders about the relevance of a child's ethnicity--as reflected by ancestry and group identification (Brown, George, St. Arnault & Sintzel, 2011)--in shaping identity and safeguarding wellbeing in OOHC. This study involved foster carers directly responsible for these children's everyday needs and case workers who support and manage foster care placements. Additionally, there are a range of allied health and welfare professionals as well as teachers in early childhood and school settings who may have ongoing regular contact with children and young people in foster care. This research offers teachers insights about children who are in OOHC within their classrooms. It is anticipated that teachers will in turn reflect on their role in supporting these children's sense of belonging and nurturing their identities in culturally respectful ways.

Research on cultural diversity and OOHC in Australia

Scholarly research in Australia that explores how ethnicity or aspects of an individual's cultural background impacts on foster care policy and practice is sparse. In our search, we looked for studies with immigrants or CALD communities in relation to cultural matching or an understanding of the importance of maintaining cultural ties in OOHC placements. A critical observation made by Bromfield and Osborn (2007, p.23) in their examination of research in OOHC was the absence of 'Australian research examining practices and policies that address the needs of other ethnic minority groups in out-of-home-care'. A decade later, it is still difficult to find rigorous research conducted in Australia about foster care placements of children from CALD backgrounds. Available research focusses on: experiences of foster carers, often without or with little specific mention of cultural diversity (Whenan, Oxlad & Lushington 2009; Blythe, Halcomb, Wilkes & Jackson, 2013); the influence of culture in Indigenous foster children, both in Australia and overseas (Moss, 2009; Brown, George, Sintzel & St. Arnault, 2009); and the parenting practices of certain immigrant communities, albeit without a focus on OOHC (Renzaho, Green, Mellor & Swinbum, 2011). More recently, Sawrikar and Katz (2014) and Villegas and Pecora (2012) have begun drawing attention to the importance of considering ethnicity within the context of child protection and OOHC.

There is some emerging international evidence predominately from North American sociological studies. This has meant that ethnic groups most commonly studied have been: Aboriginal Canadians (Daniel, 2011; Brown, Gerritts, Ivanova, Mehta & Skrodzki, 2012); white American, African-American, Native American and Hispanic (Hogan & Siu, 1988; Anderson & Linares, 2012; Jewell, Brown, Smith & Thompson, 2010); and studies that included either aggregated 'Asian' cohorts (Clauss-Ehlers, 2008) or simply an 'other' category (Dworsky et al., 2010). There is also some literature on unaccompanied refugee and asylum seeker children in foster care (Zulfacar, 1987; Derluyn & Broekaert, 2008; Ni Raghallaigh & Sirriyeh, 2015), but relatively little on children from comparatively established or 'second generation' migrant families. In the limited Australian literature, there are methodological limitations, with Burke and Paxman (2008) noting the challenges of accurate recording of cultural diversity in the child protection and OOHC system. This hampers research that aims to explore the similarities and differences for children and young people from CALD backgrounds in OOHC in the Australian context and limits comparisons against the international literature.

The extant Australian research often focusses on 'best practices' from a service provider standpoint prior to children entering care (Burke & Paxman, 2008; Sawrikar, 2009; Kaur, 2014) or analysis of outcomes at the end of foster care (Bam, Andrew & Mantovani, 2005; Dworsky et al., 2010; Harris, Jackson, O'Brien & Pecora, 2009). Australian research on the contributing factors that lead to children's involvement in the child protection system and/or placement in OOHC (Sawrikar, 2011; Kaur 2012) is limited. For example, the Children's Welfare Association of Victoria (CWAV)'s (2002) study of OOHC in Melbourne's Vietnamese community, focused on early intervention to prevent placement in OOHC and family restoration. The report is characteristic of a tendency to address the 'before and after' of OOHC rather than what takes place during OOHC. Additionally, recommendations from these studies were generally limited to the logistics of service provision, such as the need for interpreter and language services, cultural awareness training or family-based respite care (CWAV, 2002).

Kaur's (2012) review of Australian research identified protective factors that can mitigate the involvement of CALD families in the child protection system. Lewig, Arney & Salveron (2009) outlined strong collectivist parenting cultures in some migrant communities, where children received care from a variety of caregivers within extended family networks (such as siblings, cousins, uncles, aunts, and grandparents). Brown and Campbell (2007) and Sawrikar and Katz (2014) highlight making children in foster care feel secure through aspects that are familiar or easily identifiable with their ethnic background. Bass, Shields and Behrman (2004) also note how cultural identity formation and belonging in a community are key to a child's healthy development. The Layton report (2003) involved a key review of child protection practices conducted in South Australia. Although published 16 years ago, it reflected on the complexities faced by children from CALD families and the need for understanding their rights. Specifically, Commissioner Layton noted:
Care needs to be taken in ensuring that professionals do not simply
identify a child's or young person's ethnicity based on any cultural
heritage they have. Children and young people should be accorded the
right to determine and assert their sense of cultural identity

Existing research draws a valid distinction between the experiences of children in foster care placements from children in kinship placements which involve a close relative, and therefore, arguably, have an 'in-built' maintenance of cultural ties. For instance, Moss (2009) found that Australian Indigenous and Indigenous-Anglo children in foster care (not with a close relative) had difficulty negotiating cultural hybridity and finding pride in their cultural heritage, compared with those in a kinship placement with a close relative who had a strong sense of self, self-esteem and connectedness.

In the USA, Anderson and Linares (2012) investigated the impact of 'cultural dissimilarity factors', such as caregivers having different ethnicities or speaking different languages at home to their foster children's birth families. They noted that the 'cultural mismatch between foster children and their caregivers has measurable negative effects' (p.7). In Australia, we do not have studies of a similar size or using similar measurements. Analysis of impact on children and young people could benefit from longitudinal research, and this is now only just beginning to emerge in Australia (NSW Government Department of Family and Community Services, n.d.).

Research design

In our study, we used a qualitative approach to investigate key stakeholders' understandings about children in culturally matched and unmatched foster care placements. Merleau-Ponty (1974) challenges us to examine our own understanding about phenomena as we do not all experience and perceive the same phenomena in the same way. In the context of this study, it was important to investigate how foster carers and caseworkers in the same OOHC agency experienced and understood 'cultural maintenance' to ensure that all perceptions were captured. Therefore, applying a phenom-enological approach was appropriate for this study. In keeping with this approach, focus groups and interviews were used to enable participants to express their lived experiences in authentic ways. The same or similar questions were asked during focus groups and interviews, with minor adaptations to ensure the smooth flow of the discussion.

The main research question pursued in our study was: What factors in foster care practice and service systems support the maintenance of cultural, language and religious identity of children from CALD backgrounds, when placed with culturally matched or unmatched carers? The research was conducted in 2016 as a partnership between Macquarie University's Department of Educational Studies and Settlement Services International (SSI). SSI is a not-for-profit organisation in NSW delivering OOHC services. At the time of our study, SSI was providing care to more than 130 children and young people (birth to 18 years) from CALD backgrounds in the Sydney and Newcastle region, the largest numbers being from Arabic-speaking, Vietnamese and African backgrounds.

Ethical approval for this research was obtained from the Macquarie University Human Research Ethics Committee. We were mindful that most of the foster carers spoke English as a second or third language and, accordingly, interpreters were offered. Caseworkers and foster carers were contacted through SSI's staff or client communication channels and the information and consent forms were translated into Arabic, Turkish and Vietnamese. Caseworkers and foster carers were advised that participation was voluntary, they were free to withdraw from the study at any time, and this would not jeopardise their employment. The focus groups and interviews were either conducted by the English-speaking research assistant using the assistance of relevant language interpreting services, or with the assistance of SSI caseworkers. All data was de-identified, transcribed and translated (where necessary) by an independent translation service prior to it being analysed.

Study participants

Due to the practicalities of getting access to individual participants, the study participants were recruited through SSI in 2016 using convenience sampling based in metropolitan Sydney and the Newcastle region. Case workers (n = 15) were available to participate in three focus groups in Bankstown and Newcastle (one Vietnamese group, a combined Turkish-Arabic group, and caseworkers working with African foster children). Caseworker focus groups contained four to six participants and lasted from 60 to 90 minutes.

The foster carers were drawn from a variety of cultural backgrounds and comprised 26 carers from Vietnamese (n = 10), Turkish (n = 5), Arabic-speaking (n = 5) and Anglo-Australian (n = 6) backgrounds caring for children from African backgrounds. The data from Vietnamese and Turkish foster carers was collected through two focus groups (n = 14) lasting between 45 and 60 minutes and consisted of 4 to 10 participants. For the carers of African children, focus groups were not feasible due to the wide geographic distribution of carers in the Newcastle region. A focus group for Arabic carers had been scheduled but due to poor weather and the unavailability of several carers it was cancelled. Therefore, individual semi-structured interviews were conducted with the carers of African and Arabic-speaking carers (n = 11), with each lasting between 25 and 45 minutes.

Foster carers who participated in our research cared for children in culturally matched or unmatched placements. A 'matched' placement was one where there the child and carer shared a match in at least two of the following categories: ethnicity, religion and language (e.g. A Muslim and Arabic-speaking carer from Egypt with a Muslim Arabic-speaking child from Syria). 'Unmatched' placements were matched in no more than one dimension. For example, an atheist Anglo-Australian carer with Christian children from an African background in an English-speaking placement. Children from mixed heritage can have multiple cultures and culturally matching mixed heritage placements was not explored in this study.

In total, the carers involved in our study had 44 children under their care and some carers had both culturally matched and unmatched children in their care, (see Table 1).


The limitations of this study were connected with sample size and translation issues. Scheduling focus groups and interviews with carers proved challenging, as they had numerous commitments that reduced their availability for this research. Subsequently, the sample size comprised a modest 42 participants: 25 foster carers and 17 caseworkers. Also, in the Turkish foster carer focus group, two participants spoke Uighur Turkish, and the translator noted that this dialect was not spoken by others in that focus group. Likewise, two focus groups were conducted in languages other than English (Vietnamese and Turkish) and this negated the ability of the research team to probe for further detail. The researchers worked from the translated transcriptions, available several weeks after the focus groups had been conducted.

The possibility of including care leavers (former MFCS children now aged over 18) in the study was also explored. SSI caseworkers reported that the small number of care leavers still in contact with SSI were not able to participate due to a variety of personal reasons. The lack of participation from children and young people in care and the failure to give them a 'voice' in research investigating their experiences is frequently mentioned in research literature (Gilbertson & Barber, 2002; Bromfield, Higgins, Osborn, Panozzo & Richardson, 2005; Bromfield & Osborn, 2007). This would be a goal for future studies.

Data analysis

The focus groups and individual interviews focussed on practices used to successfully maintain the cultural identity of children and young people in care, and what personal qualities and skills carers contribute to providing successful foster care, including cultural maintenance. The transcripts were transcribed and imported into NVivo 11 for data analysis. Themes and relationships were identified and described as part of the data analysis. As experienced researchers using this programme, we applied first pass and second pass coding to organise data around emergent themes (Saldana, 2009). The academics and the research assistant coded the data separately and then compared coded data to ensure reliability.


The dominant themes emerging from the data analysis which supported cultural maintenance of children in care included foster carers' attributes and practices, and service systems and procedures. Key findings are presented next under four themes: (a) desirability of cultural matching; (b) complexity of defining cultural matching; (c) challenges of matched placements; and (d) challenges of unmatched placements.

Desirability of cultural matching

Caseworkers and foster carers believed that cultural matching of the foster child and carer is 'ideal', for the long-term success of a placement and is inherently valuable for both children and their birth parents. For instance, the following excerpt from the Vietnamese caseworkers illustrates the cultural matching supported a child's sense of belonging with culturally matched carers:
matched with a case worker makes it easier because you understand the
culture and when someone explains something in a certain way
(Vietnamese Caseworker--CW13)

And it's a bit of relief too [for] the parents, the understanding that
their kids will be brought up on the same culture, with the same
beliefs, and religion, language (Vietnamese Caseworker--CW15)

These examples highlight that cultural matching in foster care placements aligned well with a 'natural' or meaningful sense of belonging. The interview and focus group discussions indicated a strong affirmation of the importance of building connections between all involved in OOHC placements. Respondents identified good practice in cultural matching, including: providing access to cultural texts, activities and events; awareness of culturally specific foods, dress, grooming and personal care; language learning and practice; religious adherence practices; social customs and social networks.

Complexity of defining cultural matching

It was challenging or difficult to achieve a perfect cultural match at all times. This view of a 'perfect match' was elaborated by a caseworker when discussing one particular case:
[It involves] every aspect. Language, culture, religion, the carer, the
caseworker--it's a full match. And it's a successful placement.
(Turkish Caseworker--CW05).

This case reflects the fact that the very definition of 'cultural matching' retains a measure of complexity, ambiguity or variability amongst the different stakeholder groups in this study. For instance, in our study we used 'Arabic-speaking carers' as a cohort label, but even this simple descriptor is problematic. 'Arabic' is the native language of about 315 million people (Eberhard, Simons & Fennig 2019), and this umbrella term obscures the multitude of dialects that are spoken across a wide geographic area. For example, two Arabic speakers cannot be guaranteed to provide a linguistic match across the diverse dialects. Caseworkers themselves have noticed these distinctions in carers. For instance, it was reported that in some cases children or carers were speakers of Egyptian Arabic, proper Arabic' (Turkish Caseworker--CW10). However, the caseworkers themselves struggled to communicate with speakers of such 'official' dialects despite being 'matched' at the broader language level.

In addition to these linguistic considerations, faith and ethnicity are dimensions of culture that influence the notion of a 'match'. For example, an Arabic-speaking carer in a matched placement (as defined by SSI's practice) was asked if her children were from the same culture. She replied, 'No, because they are from Afghanistan and I am from Egypt' (Arabic Foster Carer--FC14). Although adhering to the same faith as the child, and the child apparently speaking Arabic, the carer cited nationality to suggest that they were unmatched. Religion, meanwhile, highlights further complexity in

cultural matching: the major religions all contain a number of sects and denominations (as do the minor religions and secular belief systems), and using terms like 'Christian' or 'Islam' for administrative convenience only tells part of the story.

In another case, during a focus group, caseworkers identified a placement where the foster child came from a different social caste to the foster carer. When these understandings of cultural difference were noted, the child was transferred to an unmatched placement for the sake of the child's long-term wellbeing. This case suggests that even if a 'perfect match' of the three dimensions of cultural background, language and religion can be identified, other characteristics may complicate the placement.

Challenges of matched placements

Focus group discussions indicated that only a handful of caseworkers noted challenges in culturally matched placements and most caseworkers and carers 'played down' the role of culture in matched placements. This tendency towards 'naturalising culture' in matched placements presented challenges in that carers perceived their role in cultural maintenance to be minimal, because 'it's more about what's natural rather than forcing it upon [the children]' (Vietnamese Foster Carer--FC14).

However, the interviews and focus group discussions highlighted the challenges inherent in matched and unmatched placements which were often very similar. One Turkish caseworker, for instance, noted the challenges of unmatched placements were not 'much different than the challenges we are facing when there is a matched placement, [if] the carer is not willing to do anything' (Turkish Caseworker--CW10). Another Sydney-based caseworker clarified that, 'it's not just, "oh yeah, they're from the same culture, same religion, we'll put them there". But, was that person capable - physically and mentally--to take care of that child, who's at that age?' (Arabic-speaking Caseworker--CW7). Caseworkers give equal consideration to factors such as the attitudes and capabilities of the carer, the specific needs of the child, and considerations about cultural matching. In reality, each case must be assessed according to its specific context.

Challenges of unmatched placements

Caseworkers identified challenges in finding willing and capable foster carers from the same ethnicity, religious background or language group. Linking children and carers with caseworkers from similar cultural backgrounds was an additional dimension to the matching process. SSI's employment of bicultural support workers was seen to compensate for the lack of cultural matching where there were multiple African ethnicities among the children in care, and no foster carers available from each specific African background community.

Carer perceptions about unmatched placements did not suggest that cultural differences per se were a difficulty. Carers in matched placements mentioned that they would happily accept children from ethnic and faith backgrounds different to their own were it not for practical considerations. These included the feasibility of providing religious continuity and attempting to balance attendance at two different religious institutions. For example, one carer described practical concerns about their own social network and its limitations for cultural maintenance if they were to have unmatched foster children:
It's not easy if [foster children] are from different cultures.
Because, maybe, you don't have a friend from the same culture... [If
the child] is Christian, you can find [people] easy. But if he's
Buddhist, for example, from where can I get a friend to make him
communicate? I can't, it will be a bit hard. Or if he's Aboriginal; I
don't have Aboriginal friends, for example. It will be a bit hard.
Maybe I will ask the caseworker to help me with, maybe I can't... But I
don't know how to help, by myself, in such a situation. (Arabic foster

Such comments suggest that foster carers from CALD backgrounds are open to the prospect of unmatched placements, albeit with a lot of formal support (e.g. language skills) and informal supports such as networking opportunities.

Discussion and implications

This research found evidence affirming the desirability of cultural maintenance in foster care placements. The carers and caseworkers interviewed believed that culturally matching the child, the carer and/or caseworker was helpful in nurturing children's sense of belonging and identity in relation to their cultural heritage. Cultural matching can assist children's sense of security and wellbeing when separated from their birth families, and can help them adjust to the new environment of an OOHC placement. This finding is supported by Brown, George, Sintzel and St. Arnault (2009, p. 1023), who found that 'common language and family customs were very helpful to ease the transition into the home for both the child and foster family'.

Our research also uncovered nuances and complexities in culturally matched and unmatched foster care placements, and that responding to these were contingent on carers' capacity to strengthen cultural maintenance. Matched placements also involve challenges for foster care agencies and caseworkers. For example, the carer's culture can sometimes present 'blind spots' that makes it difficult for them to reflect on cultural maintenance with the children in their care, or they can make assumptions that cultural maintenance will 'naturally' occur with foster children from the same ethnic or faith-based community. In addressing challenges encountered within unmatched placements it is essential there is thorough cultural care planning and practice that supports the maintenance of the child's cultural heritage including the use and maintenance of the birth family's preferred language. The importance of 'fostering ethnic identity and retaining cultural ties' had been identified by Zulfacar (1987, pp.67-68) several decades ago, but this realisation has not always been translated into practice.

Government, NGOs and key community stakeholders could take a role in raising awareness of becoming a foster carer and could help to broaden the cultural diversity of foster carers available to provide care to children and young people. Carers recruited from migrant and refugee communities often recognise the practical benefits of caring for a child from their own community in terms of speaking the same language, attending the same temple, church or mosque, and having social connections with the child's birth culture and community through their own friends and family. Our research highlighted the need for a practice framework to support agencies, caseworkers and foster families to maintain children's cultural identity and connections and improve child protection and OOHC service systems in NSW and across Australia. Developing this framework would require additional research as well as adequate 'testing' to assess its capacity for application to foster care agencies placing and supporting children from CALD backgrounds.

Our investigations also indicated the dearth of scholarly research examining the influence of ethnicity on OOHC practice in Australia. It is highly likely that teachers in early childhood settings and in primary schools are interacting daily with children in foster care. As professionals with direct experience of children in a wide variety of at-risk contexts, teachers should be attuned to the potential challenges of children in OOHC placements. Mandatory requirements on preventing and protecting children from abuse and neglect are built into teachers' duty of care responsibilities (ACECQA, 2018). As such, they are well placed to explore ways of improving future policy and practice concerned with the wellbeing of children in OOHC. By contributing to community-wide dialogue, teachers can advocate the importance of nurturing belonging and connection with children from CALD backgrounds in OOHC.


Overall, there is minimal research evidence on factors that support cultural maintenance for children and young people from CALD backgrounds in OOHC in Australia. This study gathered the perspectives of foster carers and case workers in OOHC and generated insights which have relevance to other practitioners involved in front-line services including teachers, to policy and practice and the delivery of better outcomes for children from CALD backgrounds in OOHC. This research identified both strengths and challenges in cultural matching in foster care placements. Caseworkers and foster carers in this study maintained and developed the cultural identity of children from CALD backgrounds in OOHC placements through several strategies. These included: placements where the child is culturally matched with the foster carer; unmatched placements where the child is culturally matched with a caseworker or bicultural support worker; and through developing cultural care plans for all CALD children in care.

Missing from the extant research are the perspectives of other stakeholders including children and young people who are in care, other significant adults in their lives--birth parents and other kin--as well as teachers, health care workers and legal professionals. We believe that future research would benefit from adopting an integrated approach to exploring this area of cultural diversity and OOHC, and incorporating these other perspectives to generate a stronger understanding of 'what works' to maintain the culture of children and young people from CALD backgrounds in OOHC.

Declaration of conflicting interests

The author(s) declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.


The author(s) received no financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.


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Manjula Waniganayake

Macquarie University, Australia

Fay Hadley

Macquarie University, Australia

Matthew Johnson

University of Technology Sydney, Australia

Paul Mortimer

Settlement Services International, Australia

Tadgh McMahon

Flinders University, Australia

Kathy Karatasas

Settlement Services International, Australia

Corresponding author:

Manjula Waniganayake, Department of Educational Studies, Building 29, Wally's Walk, Macquarie University, North Ryde, NSW 2113, Australia.


DOI: 10.1177/1836939119870908
Table 1. Culturally matched and unmatched children placed with
participant carers, by cultural background of carer.

Cultural background of carer  Anglo Australian  Arabic speaker

Matched                        0                10
Unmatched                     10                 3

Cultural background of carer  Turkish  Vietnamese  Total

Matched                       0        12          22
Unmatched                     7         2          22
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Title Annotation:Article
Author:Waniganayake, Manjula; Hadley, Fay; Johnson, Matthew; Mortimer, Paul; McMahon, Tadgh; Karatasas, Kat
Publication:Australasian Journal of Early Childhood
Geographic Code:9VIET
Date:Dec 1, 2019
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