Chief Investigators

Dr Melanie Spallek (ACU)

Professor Michele Haynes (ACU)


This project investigates post-compulsory educational pathways among young people who spent some time growing up in out-of-home care (OOHC). Adolescents who have experienced OOHC are among the most vulnerable, disadvantaged, traumatised and socially excluded groups in Australia, yet we know little about the educational pathways post compulsory schooling. Knowledge about these pathways is important for interventions that can help them reach their potential and most importantly break the cycle of disadvantage. Due to their high level of social exclusion, inconsistent schooling, and high prevalence of poor mental health, adolescents leaving care are a distinct heterogenous group for investigating educational aspirations, achievements, barriers and promotive factors for not only adolescents who experienced OOHC, but for all socially excluded adolescents. This project is novel since we are using large scale longitudinal administrative data and statistical methodology to provide a national overview and in-depth analysis.

Funding Australian Catholic University




Spallek M, Haynes M. (2020). Post-school transitions for children in out-of-home care: evidence from the Australian Census Longitudinal Dataset. Journal of Youth Studies. doi: 10.1080/13676261.2020.1781803

Research Status



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