It takes a village: The support needs of non-familial kinship carers

Project Details

teens on street

The University of Melbourne is conducting research into kinship care arrangements with adults known to a child through family or community connections, a component of kinship care. These carers are sometimes known as ‘kith carers’, or ‘family friends’. There is very limited international research to date about such carers. Anecdotal reports suggest that non-familial kinship carers in Victoria are a diverse and poorly understood group who may have different characteristics to familial kinship carers.

We are undertaking an exploratory project to identify the characteristics and support needs of non‑familial kinship carers and children in their care. We are conducting a survey of carers, in‑depth interviews with carers and young people, and focus groups with kinship care support staff.

We are currently recruiting young people who have experience of care by a carer known to them through their community, school or friendship network. Because of limitations in permission for young people in statutory care to participate in research, young people need to be either in informal (not statutory) kinship care arrangements, or to be 18 years or over.

If you would like to be interviewed, or you know someone who might like to be interviewed, please contact Meredith Kiraly.


Grandmother holding baby girl

If you have information or ideas about this work we would like to hear from you. You can contact Meredith Kiraly.



  • R E Ross Trust
  • Oz Child

Research Publications

Sallnas, M., et al. (2004). "Breakdown of teenage placements in Swedish foster and residential care." Child and Family Social Work 9: 141-152.

Perry, G., et al. (2012). "Placement stability in kinship and non-kin foster care: A Canadian study." Children and Youth Services Review 34: 460-465.

Research Group

Partnership for Innovation in Out-of-home Care

Faculty Research Themes

Child Health

School Research Themes

Child Health & Well-being, Practice and service improvement

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact the research group leader.

Department / Centre

Social Work

Unit / Centre

Partnership for Innovation in Out-of-home Care