Fostering Health: Examining health care systems for children and young people in Out-of-Home Care

Project Details

This completed project examined the health care needs of children and young people in statutory out-of-home care (OOHC) and conducted an analysis of national and state policies and programs which respond to those needs.

In this field the Group is also currently conducting exploratory research around particular issues including:

  1. barriers to immunisation for children in OOHC
  2. the health service experiences of teenage parents who have lived in OOHC;
  3. health records systems for children and young people in OOHC

Previously completed research has

  1. examined factors affecting GP willingness and readiness to provide health assessment for children in OOHC; and
  2. examined health system and policy challenges and enablers in health needs assessment and health care planning through qualitative research with a multi-disciplinary sample of health providers.

In 2015 Dr Webster supported a Victorian Public Service Graduate Program project in Loddon Mallee Health in an exploratory study of health records systems for children and young people in OOHC. The Group are interested in building further participatory research with key policy advisers, child protection practitioners, community service organisations and carers.



  • Loddon Mallee Health, Department of Human Services, Victoria


Australian Postgraduate Award 2010-2014

Office of the Child Safety Commissioner Victoria

General Practice Victoria

M.A. Bartlett Scholarship Fund

Melbourne Travelling Abroad Scholarship

Research Outcomes

PhD Thesis

Webster SM (2014) Fostering Health: An Australian health policy and systems study of health assessment for children and young people in Out-of-Home Care.
Read Publication

Community Newsletters

Listening to young mothers from out-of-home care (March 2017).
Read Community Report

Fostering health in out-of-home care. What is so important about child and adolescent health records (October 2014).

Fostering Health: Comprehensive health needs assessment in out-of-home care: Factors influencing policy advisors and health professionals (June 2013).

National Symposium Report. Health, hope & resilience: Fostering better health for Australian children and young people living in out-of-home care (January 2011).

Policy submissions and Briefing Papers

Webster S.M. (2016) Children and Young People in Statutory Out-of-Home Care: Health needs and health care in the 21st century. Victorian Parliamentary Library Fellowship Paper No. 1, March 2016.
Read Publication

Webster, S.M. (2012) Discussion Paper: Fostering better health in out-of-home care. Prepared for Southern Health, March 2012.

Webster, S.M. (2011) Fostering better health: improving health care planning for children and young people living in out-of-home care.  Background paper (written for MacKillop Family Services in support of funding application in which University of Melbourne was named partner)

Webster, S.M. (2011) Submission to the Protecting Victoria's Vulnerable Children Inquiry. April 2011

Webster, S.M. (2011) Fostering Better Health in Out-of-Home Care. Discussion Paper for the Expert Clinical Advisory Group on Health Assessment for Babies, Children and Young People in Out-of-Home Care (OOHC) October 2011.

Webster, S.M., (2010) Comprehensive health assessment of children and young people entering out-of-home care in Victoria: Issues paper for the Victorian Department of Human Services.

Webster, S.M. (2010) National clinical assessment framework for children and young people in out-of-home care, Submission to consultation by NOUS Group for the Commonwealth Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs.

General Practice Victoria & Webster, S.M. (2010) Joint Submission to Commonwealth Department of Health & Ageing, Child and Youth Health, Population Health Division. Review of MBS and needs of children in out-of-home care.

Research Publications

Webster S.M. (2016) Children and young people in out-of-home care: canaries in the coal mine of healthcare commissioning. Australian Journal of Primary Health, 22, 15-21.

Webster, S.M., Temple-Smith, M.J. The red tape waltz: Where multi-centre ethical and research governance review can step on the toes of good research practice. Monash Bioethics Review, 31 (1), 77-98.

Webster, S.M., Temple-Smith, M.J. Smith. (2012) A. Children and young people in out-of-home care- improving access to primary care. Australian Family Physician, 41(10): 819-822.

Vimpani, G.V., Webster, S.M., Temple-Smith M.J. (2012) Improving the health of Australian children and young people entering out-of-home care: Assessing health status is only the beginning. Medical Journal of Australia, 196 (2): 91-92.

Webster, S.M., Temple-Smith, M. (2012) A whisper or roar? The Australian research conversation about health in out-of-home care. Developing Practice, 30, 63-71.

Webster, S.M., Temple-Smith, M. (2010). Children and young people in out-of-home care: are GPs ready and willing to provide comprehensive health assessments for this vulnerable group? Australian Journal of Primary Health 16, 296-303.

Research Group

Children and Young People’s Health

Faculty Research Themes

Child Health

School Research Themes

Child Health in Medicine, Critical Care

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact the research group leader.

Department / Centre

General Practice and Primary Care

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