Does Placement Type Matter? Comparing the Well-Being of Care-Experienced Young Adults in Northern Ireland

Montserrat Fargas, Dominic Mc Sherry

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review


Young children who enter the care system, often as a result of abuse or/and neglect, are provided with different types of long-term placements, including returning to their birth parents, kinship and non-kinship foster care, or (in certain countries like the UK) adoption. In Northern Ireland, they might also be placed under a Residence Order. Research has been conducted looking at different outcomes for these children in some of these placements, but longitudinal research of care-experienced young people across a range of placement types has been scarce. This poster will report findings of a longitudinal study that has been following all the children who were in care in Northern Ireland and under 5 years old on 31/3/2000. The study has examined a range of issues across the different types of placements the young people ended up moving into (i.e. adoption, foster care, kinship care, returning to their birth parents, and Residence Order). We are currently in the study’s Wave 4, and data collection is ongoing with the young people (now aged 18-23) and their parents or carers.

This poster will present findings on the young people’s state of physical and mental health, life satisfaction, self-concept, and it will be broken down by the type of long-term placement they were provided with. The poster will also show the type of factors that appear to impact the young people's wellbeing. The data is being collected through an online survey for parents/carers and one for young people (with a range of psychometric instruments, including the ASEBA Adult Behaviour Checklist and the Tennessee Self-Concept Scale TSCS2), and a semi-structured interview with the young people and another with the parents/carers. So far, data has been collected for 48 young people. The data for this phase of the study has not yet been analysed. However, data from Wave 3 suggested that all the children that we interviewed (all being in long-term placement types at the time, aged between 9 and 14) were securely attached to their current carers and were happy about themselves, but differences were noted in terms of their behaviour and their carers’ parenting stress, where the adopted children and those in kinship care seemed to do better. The poster will reveal whether their well-being at this stage of their lives follows a similar pattern or not. Implications for policy and practice will be outlined.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 2018


  • Outcomes
  • Long-term placement
  • Foster care
  • Kinship foster care
  • Rehabilitation
  • Residence Order
  • Behaviour
  • Parenting stress
  • Attachment
  • Self-concept


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