Evidence and Gap Map - where do we need to know more to improve out of home care services for children?

Working in the areas of foster care, residential care, and other types of out-of-home care, CEI has developed an evidence and gap map for the NSW Department of Family and Community Services.

Evidence and gap maps provide visual overviews of existing evidence and help to highlight any gaps in knowledge.

For this project, the evidence and gap map specifically explored existing and missing evidence for out-of-home care services.

This map presents an overview of current best evidence on the impact of different types of out-of-home care on a broad range of child and youth outcomes, including safety, permanency, health and wellbeing.

We worked closely with the University of Melbourne’s School of Health Sciences to develop the evidence and gap map.

Ninety-three primary studies and twenty-eight systematic reviews, which included 717 studies, were identified.

The largest amount of evidence existed in the area of general and intensive foster care and related to mental health outcomes, covering children and youth’s emotional intelligence, self-efficacy, coping skills, internalising and externalising behaviours.

The biggest knowledge gap identified was the lack of studies examining interventions aiming to maintain and develop the cultural and spiritual identity of children and youth in out-of-home care.

The map could spark future research in areas where more evidence is needed and is currently being used to strengthen foster care, adoption, adolescent residential care, and family support services in NSW.

Please find the report here Evidence and Gap Map final report.