Wanslea Family Services (WFS), a non-government family welfare agency in Perth, has provided foster care placements for the Western Australian Department of Family and Children's Services for many years. Data about these children and their families is held in a comprehensive electronic database that covers the period 1991-1999. This 9-year data set is unique in Western Australia and may be unique nationally.
An analysis of this data indicates no significant variation across the nine year period for age at admission of children to foster care. In contrast, a statistically significant cubic trend was found for length of episode of care indicating that the duration of foster care placements significantly varied across the nine year period. Analyses of gender for both age at admission and length of foster care showed significant differences but only for particular years. In 1995 females were significantly younger than males while in 1998 males were significantly younger than females. Only in 1998 was length of episode of care significant when it was shorter for males than females. Possible explanations for these results are discussed.