Professional Carer Experiences of Working with Young People in Specialist Care Placements in South Australia

Damien Riggs, Ryan Ogilvy

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Despite the emphasis within Australian child protection upon family-based care as the preferred placement option, it has been increasingly recognised that some young people may be best served in specialist care placements, such as residential or therapeutic care. This paper presents a thematic analysis of 20 interviews undertaken with professional carers who, at the time, were working in a specialist care programme in South Australia known as Individual Packages of Care. The analysis suggests that three key issues were at stake for participants: (1) the impact of role conflict between engaging in caring relationships with young people and maintaining professional boundaries; (2) the impact of additional stakeholders (such as mental health professionals) upon the stability of the placement; and (3) the use of restraint as a form of behaviour management. The paper concludes by discussing the interesting relationship identified in the data between caring relationships and the use of restraint, and makes recommendations from the data for issues requiring further consideration with regard to specialist care placements.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)361-366
    Number of pages6
    JournalChildren Australia
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2015


    • placement stability
    • Professional care
    • restraint
    • role conflict
    • specialist care


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