Transitioning from Out of Home Care

Young people exiting out of home care (OHC) often experience poor outcomes in adulthood, including higher levels of homelessness, transitory lifestyles, lower levels of educational achievement, greater poverty and unemployment, poorer physical and mental health and greater contact with the criminal justice system. Currently we lack comprehensive research to help understand young people’s pathways into and transitioning out of OHC, and the factors enabling quality supports.

This project aims to:


  • Understand pathways associated with particular outcomes of young people in and transitioning from OHC;

  • Map pathways and the lived experience of young people as they transition to leave OHC and after exiting OHC;

  • Identify key factors for meeting the cultural, social and developmental needs associated with successful transitions;

  • Identify Aboriginal family and community perspectives on the barriers and enablers important to the achievement of developmental milestones from a cultural perspective.

The project has three distinct but related studies that address these aims.

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Data Linkage

This study will use linked data sourced from the WA data linkage system in order to move beyond basic indicators and develop an understanding of the diversity of outcomes experienced by OHC leavers by:

  • Plotting the pathways out of OHC for the broader group.

  • Identifying associations between OHC subgroups and various care outcomes.

  • Assessing other factors.

Longitudinal Study

A longitudinal study of young people from the age when leaving plans commence (from 15 years) to those who have recently transitioned from OHC (18 to 25 years).


  • Quantitative and qualitative data will be collected over a 24-month period.

  • Data will be collected at baseline, 6, 12, 18 and 24 month follow-ups.

  • Interviews and standardised questionnaires will examine key dimensions of young people's lives.

 Phenomenological     Aboriginal Study

This study will investigate the perspectives of Aboriginal young people in OHC, those who have left OHC, their families and community from a regional and remote community in Western Australia.

It will address the urgent concern about growing numbers of Aboriginal young people in OHC and their transition to adulthood, and will complement the findings of Studies 1 and 2 with a ‘close-up’ and in-depth examination of Aboriginal young people in their community context.