Unaccompanied refugee minors and foster care: A narrative literature review

Frank Van Holen, Lenny Trogh, Elke Carlier, Laura Gypen, Johan Vanderfaeillie - Child & Family Social Work


This article describes the results of a narrative literature review on empirical research examining the outcomes and/or experiences of unaccompanied refugee minors in family foster care. The limited research, in which only 17 references were identified, suggests that family foster care is an important type of care for this group and is associated with better health and psychosocial outcomes compared to other types of care. Nevertheless, breakdown of family foster care placements is a cause for concern. Four groups of factors that influence the course of family foster care placements are discussed, namely, foster family characteristics, differences in expectations between foster parents and refugee youth, cultural differences, and contextual factors. Furthermore, practical implications and suggestions for further research are described.