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

Project Details

teens on street

The University of Melbourne has been 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 conducted an exploratory project over the years 2014-2017 to identify the characteristics and support needs of non‑familial kinship carers and children in their care. The study included a survey of carers, in‑depth interviews with carers and young people, focus groups with kinship care support staff and a search of administrative data about the prevalence of non-familial kinship care arrangements.


  • Download the Project Brief here
  • Download the 2018 Research Report Fairy godparents and fake kin: Exploring non familial kinship care here

Grandmother holding baby girl

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

Literature about non-familial kinship care

  • 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.



  • R E Ross Trust
  • Oz Child

Research Group

Partnership for Innovation in Out-of-home Care

Faculty Research Themes

Child Health

School Research Themes

Child Health

Key Contact

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

Department / Centre

Social Work

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