Maintaining culture and supporting cultural identity in foster care placements

Manjula Waniganayake, Fay Hadley, Matthew Johnson, Paul Mortimer, Tadgh McMahon, Kathy Karatasas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This article reports on an exploratory study about maintaining and supporting the cultural identity of children from culturally and linguistically diverse family backgrounds in foster care placements. In this study, we spoke with foster carers and caseworkers who respectively live and work with children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds in the state of New South Wales. Foster care is one of the most common placement types in out-of-home care where a child or
young person is placed with an alternative caregiver on a temporary or long-term basis, usually due to neglect or abuse. The importance of nurturing a sense of belonging through cultural, linguistic and religious affiliations is recognised in Australian curriculum policies that guide teachers in early childhood and school settings. Teachers, however, may not be fully aware of their potential contribution in supporting these children to maintain their connections with their cultural heritage. Our findings provide evidence for extending the public discourse on cultural responsiveness and supporting cultural maintenance in foster care placements. We consider implications for foster care practice and future research involving key stakeholders such as children and young people in
care, as well as teachers in early childhood and school settings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)365-377
Number of pages13
JournalAustralasian Journal of Early Childhood
Issue number4
Early online date11 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019



  • cultural maintenance
  • culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD)
  • foster care
  • identity
  • out-of-home care (OOHC)
  • teachers

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