Dorval A, Hélie S, Lamothe J, Poirier M-A. (2020). Different profiles, different needs: An exploration and analysis of characteristics of children in kinship care and their parents. Children and Youth Services Review, 108(1), 104531.
The characteristics of children and their parents before placement in kinship care are poorly documented in the literature. The present exploratory study aimed to describe and profile the characteristics of children placed in kinship care and their mothers, as reported before placement. A latent class analysis performed on a cohort of 172 children aged 0-–12 years and placed in kinship care revealed 3 distinct profiles. The first profile accounted for 25% of the whole cohort and is characterized by high rates of child functioning difficulties (ADHD, learning problem, mental health and developmental delay). The second profile (55%) had the youngest children with the fewest number of reported psychosocial difficulties out of all three profiles. Finally, the third group stood out with the highest prevalence of three variables: attachment problems in children, a history of maltreatment experienced by the mother and a high probability of permanent placement. Despite a high prevalence of mothers with a history of maltreatment, children in this group were often placed with their maternal grand-parents. Results suggest that families affected by kinship care have different vulnerabilities that may translate into different needs for services. Clinical implications are discussed.