Melanie Andrews

Biography

Melanie Andrews has worked in the community service sector for 20 years across children and family, mental health, disability and aged care services throughout greater Sydney. Melanie has held senior management positions in large non-government organisations for over 10 years. As a social worker, Melanie is passionate about working collaboratively across non-government and government services to identify solutions that tackle underlying social issues and improve immediate and long term outcomes for children, young people and families.

Abstract

Achieving permanency for young children entering foster care: Outcomes from Barnardos’ Temporary Family Care model ( Oral paper presentation)

Barnardos Australia has modelled its practice approach so that it closely aligns with the Permanent Placement Principles underpinning the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection Act). Built upon a robust body of evidence, the Barnardos Temporary Family Care (TFC) model is positioned at the front end of the permanency continuum, where it acts as the initial point of contact for children as they enter the out-of-home care (OOHC) system. The program specialises in promoting the maintenance of children within their family or kinship networks. TFCs work to support families and act as a ‘gatekeeper’ to the OOHC system so that children are returned to their parents when it becomes safe to do so and ‘drift’ in the OOHC system is avoided. The priority is permanency planning for each child and enhanced family functioning to enable children to be reared at home. A high level of placement stability (no moves) is a feature of the TFC model, and where long-term care is required, there is rapid transition to Barnardos Find-A-Family (FAF) permanent care model.

Independent actuarial analysis (McGarva, 2017, 2019) on trends in outcomes from the TFC model will be presented including ages and entry at exit, durations in care, forms of exit and the extent to which TFC placement influences further durations in care, exit outcomes and placement stability. Effective practices for identifying informal support networks and supporting kin carers to enable children to be reared within their family and kinship networks will be highlighted.

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