Unrecognized: Kinship care by young aunts, siblings and other young people

Meredith Kiraly, Cathy Humphreys, Margaret Kertesz - Child & Family Social Work


Much literature about kinship care has focused on grandparents, with limited attention to other kinship carers. This article describes results from the second part of an Australian research project that explored the prevalence, experiences and support needs of kinship carers aged 18–30 years through interviews with 41 kinship carers. Most were sisters or aunts. Findings included deep commitment of the carers to children in their care and the children's positive development over time. Young kinship carers described personal costs of caring, including sudden adjustment to the task of parenting distressed children, suspension of studies, jobs and career development, pressures of intrafamilial conflict, a lack of recognition of their existence and support needs, and above all, financial stress. The need for multifaceted support to be available to this group of kinship carers is identified.