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Exploring placement stability for children in out-of-home care in England: a sequence analysis of longitudinal administrative data

Mc Grath-Lone, L; Harron, K; Dearden, L; Gilbert, R; (2020) Exploring placement stability for children in out-of-home care in England: a sequence analysis of longitudinal administrative data. Child Abuse & Neglect , 109 , Article 104689. 10.1016/j.chiabu.2020.104689. (In press).

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Abstract

Background: To monitor stability of care, the proportion of children in England who have experienced three or more placements in the preceding 12-month period is published in government statistics. However, these annual snapshots cannot capture the complexity and heterogeneity of children’s longitudinal care histories. / Objective: To describe the stability of care histories from birth to age 18 for children in England using a national administrative social care dataset, the Children Looked After return (CLA). / Participants and setting: We analyzed CLA data for a large, representative sample of children born between 1992 and 1994 (N = 16,000). / Methods: Using sequence analysis methods, we identified distinct patterns of stability, based on the number, duration, and timing of care placements throughout childhood. / Results: Although care histories were varied, six distinct patterns of stability were evident including; adolescent 1st entries (17.6%), long-term complex care (13.1%) and early intervention (6.9%). Overall, most children (58.4%) had a care history that we classified as shorter term care with an average of 276 days and 2.48 placements in care throughout childhood. Few children (4.0%) had a care history that could be described as long-term stable care. / Conclusions: Longitudinal analyses of administrative data can refine our understanding of how out-of-home care is used as a social care intervention. Sequence analysis is a particularly useful tool for exploring heterogeneous and complex care histories. Considering out-of-home care histories from a life course perspective over the entire childhood period could enable service providers to better understand and address the needs of looked after children.

Type: Article
Title: Exploring placement stability for children in out-of-home care in England: a sequence analysis of longitudinal administrative data
DOI: 10.1016/j.chiabu.2020.104689
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chiabu.2020.104689
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: administrative data, longitudinal care histories, sequence analysis
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Social Research Institute
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Health Informatics
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL GOS Institute of Child Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL GOS Institute of Child Health > Population, Policy and Practice Dept
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10109654
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