In Australia, approximately half of all children who are removed from their birth parents due to issues of abuse and neglect live in a foster placement. A significant number of these children remain in a foster placement for the long-term. Fostering is thus a growing mode of family formation. Some people may choose to both foster and give birth to children. Other people may only become parents through foster care. The infographic below produced by Clare Bartholomaeus and myself outlines something of the history of child protection in Australia.
Since 2006 I have been writing on the topic of foster care. All of my early work was undertaken in collaboration with Martha Augoustinos and Paul Defrabbro, and funded by an Australian Research Council Discovery Grant. More latterly, I have undertaken research with Ryan Ogilvy on the topic of other forms of care, such as specialist and residential care. My work on this topic has been reported to senate inquiries, in the media, and has been utilised in the production of guidelines for working with foster parents.
Riggs, W. (2015). Australian foster carers’ negotiations of intimacy with agency workers, birth families and children. Families, Relationships and Society.
Riggs, D.W. & Ogilvy, R. (2015). Professional Carer Experiences of Working with Young People in Specialist Care Placements in South Australia. Children Australia.
Ogilvy, R., & Riggs, D.W. (2014). Young people’s experiences of receiving individual packages of care in South Australia. Children Australia, 39, 49-54.
Riggs, D.W. & Willsmore, S. (2012). Experiences of disenfranchised grief arising from the unplanned termination of a foster placement: An exploratory South Australian study. Adoption and Fostering, 36, 57-66.
Mclean, S., Kettler, L., Delfabbro,P.H., & Riggs, D.W. (2012). Frameworks for understanding challenging behaviour in out-of-home care. Clinical Psychologist, 16, 72-81.
Riggs, D.W. (2011). Australian lesbian and gay foster carers negotiating the child protection system: Strengths and challenges. Sexuality Research and Social Policy, 8, 215-226.
Riggs, D.W. (2010). Angels and saints: The impact of lay understandings of foster care upon carers. In J.A. Jaworski (Ed.) Advances in sociology research (pp. 217-228). New York: Nova Science.
Riggs, D.W., Delfabbro, P.H. & Augoustinos, M. (2009). Foster fathers and carework: Enacting alternate forms of parenting. Fathering, 8, 24-36.
Riggs, D.W., Augoustinos, M. & Delfabbro, P.H. (2009). The role of foster family belonging in recovery from child maltreatment. Australian Psychologist, 44, 166-173.
Riggs, D.W., King, D., Delfabbro, P.H. & Augoustinos, M. (2009). ‘Children out of place’: Representations of foster care in the Australian news media. Journal of Children and Media, 3, 234-248.
Riggs, D.W. & Augoustinos, M. (2009). Institutional stressor and individual strengths: Policy and practice directions for working with Australian lesbian and gay foster carers. Practice: Social Work in Action, 21, 77-90.
Riggs, D.W., Delfabbro, P.H. & Augoustinos, M. (2009). Negotiating foster families: Identification and desire. British Journal of Social Work, 39, 789-806.
Riggs, D.W. (2009). Developing a ‘responsible’ foster care praxis: Poly as a framework for examining power and propriety in family contexts. In M. Barker & D. Langdridge (Eds.) Understanding non-monogamies. New York: Routledge.
Riggs, D.W. (2008). Towards a ‘non indifferent’ account of child protection. Australian Feminist Studies, 23, 375-388.
Riggs, D.W. & Delfabbro, P.H. (2008). Economies of care: Recognition and remuneration of foster carers. Journal of the Association for Research on Mothering, 10, 94-104.
Riggs, D.W. (2007). Re-assessing the foster care system: Examining the impact of heterosexism on lesbian and gay applicants. Hypatia, 22, 192-212.
Riggs, D.W., Augoustinos, M. & Delfabbro, P. (2007). ‘Basically it’s a recognition issue’: Validating a foster parent identity. Family Matters, 76, 64-69.