The Australian Tracking Study (ATS) is a two-year longitudinal study. The study followed a sample of 235 children who had been admitted to care in South Australia between May 1998 and April 1999. Outcomes were measured using standardized behavioural scales that were completed by social workers.
The ATS provides an opportunity to examine some of the assumptions that drive policy and practice decisions regarding optimal foster care conditions. The two important assumptions are:
- placement moves are inherently harmful,
- family contact promotes reunification and psychological adjustment.