Young and ‘care-full': The support needs of young kinship carers

Project Details

The University of Melbourne is conducting research into kinship care arrangements with young kinship carers (age 30 years or under). These include older sisters and brothers, aunts and uncles, cousins, family friends, etc. We know from the Australian census that there are over 10,000 young kinship carers living in their own independent households, and far more living in multi-generational households.

toddler holding hand

Previous research has focused on young people who have a caring role with frail aged family members or those with disabilities. This research has revealed that these young carers experience significant disadvantage in relation to educational and employment opportunities, as well as a lack of needed social supports. However, there has as yet been no attention to the circumstances and support needs of young kinship carers. We want to understand these care arrangements so that children and young carers can be better supported.

Download the Project Brief and Research Project Report.

Research Interviews

A central component of the project has been 40 interviews with young kinship carers and 15 interviews with young people who have experience of care by a young kinship carer. The interview component of the project is now complete.

Pilot support service for young kinship carers

We are working to develop a pilot program to provide support to young kinship carers across Australia with a Queensland community service, IFYS (Integrated Family and Youth Services) on the Sunshine Coast. See the Project Brief. The first step was a co-design workshop with 11 young kinship carers who came together from three states in late November 2018.

toddler having soup

For more information about any aspect of the project, please contact Meredith Kiraly



  • R E Ross Trust
  • Sidney Myer Fund
  • Oz Child

Research Outcomes

Presentation to the 2017 National Foster Care and Kinship Care Conference

Presentation to the 2018 ACWA Conference, Sydney

Literature about sibling kinship carers

Roth, D., Lindley, B., & Ashley, C. (2011). Big Bruv Little Sis: Research findings on sibling carers raising their younger sisters and brothers. London: Family Rights Group.

Selwyn, J., & Nandy, S. (2012). Sibling kinship carers in England: Evidence from the 2001 population census. Children and Youth Services Review, 34(1), 194-199.

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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