Who goes where?: Young children's pathways through care in Northern Ireland
This is one of a series of articles reporting on the largescale Northern Ireland care pathways and outcomes study (McSherry et al, 2008). The study has been examining a population of young children (n = 374) who were in care under five years of age in Northern Ireland and followed up across a four-year period (2000–2004). It has mapped these young children's care careers and explored factors relating to five care pathways that these children progressed along: towards adoption, long-term non-relative foster care, long-term relative foster care, residence order and return to birth parent/s. The authors, Dominic McSherry, Kerrylee Weatherall, Emma Larkin, Montse Fargas Malet and Greg Kelly, examine the children's care pathway patterns from 2000 to 2004 and identify the background factors that have influenced their specific care pathway. These background factors relate to the age of child, length of time in care, the child's health, the child's behaviour and regional variation. The findings indicate that although the care pathway patterns were to some extent similar to those found in England and Wales, there were differences peculiar to the Northern Ireland context.
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