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Case Study: Pathways of Care Longitudinal Study (POCLS)

The Pathways of Care Longitudinal Study (POCLS) is funded and managed by FACS Insights, Analysis and Research (FACSIAR) within the NSW Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ). It is the first large-scale prospective longitudinal study of children and young people in out-of-home care (OOHC) in Australia. Information on safety, permanency and wellbeing is being collected from various sources. The child developmental domains of interest are physical health, socio-emotional wellbeing and cognitive/learning ability.

The overall aim of this study is to collect detailed information about the life course development of children who enter OOHC for the first time and the factors that influence their development.

The following processes aim to build a collaborative approach and stakeholder buy-in to accelerate actionable insights:

  • To ensure alignment with OOHC’s most pressing challenges and priorities, regular consultations take place with OOHC stakeholders through the POCLS Study Working Group, POCLS Advisory Group, POCLS Evidence to Action Working Group and DCJ operations and policy executive committees
  • Once priority data analysis topics are decided, analysts work closely with the data manager, policy and practice colleagues to ensure the project scope is feasible and answers the policy and practice questions. Ongoing consultation during the analysis process ensures the data is interpreted accurately
  • FACSIAR implements a rigorous quality assurance and review process to ensure the POCLS evidence is robust and of high quality
  • FACSIAR work alongside the authors of reports to draft Evidence to Action Notes which draw out the main policy and practice insights
  • A POCLS Evidence to Action Working Group has been established to draft recommendations to inform systems, policy development, practice innovation and service delivery. The membership are subject matter experts from OOHC policy, Aboriginal Outcomes, Office of the Senior Practitioner (responsible for practice in DCJ), Districts and relevant peak organisations. Consultation with children, parent and carer reference groups will also occur where relevant
  • Relevant executive committees are briefed to determine action required and monitor policy or practice implementation
  • The DCJ Executive Board is briefed bi-annually on the POCLS progress 
  • The POCLS Evidence to Action notes form part of the ongoing POCLS publication series and will be available at
Figure: Pathways of Care Longitudinal Study process to ensure research is policy and practice relevant


Last updated 07 Jun 2021