Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Children and youth in the child welfare system experience significant benefits from placement with custodial kin caregivers in psychological, social, relational, and educational domains (Winokur, Holtan, & Batchelder, 2018; Vasileva & Petermann, 2018). Additionally, the extant literature suggests that non-custodial kin and non-custodial fictive kin, or individuals unrelated by blood or marriage though afforded the same unofficial status as family (Taylor, Chatters, Woodward, & Brown, 2013), also contribute positive outcomes (Smetana, Campione-Barr, & Metzger, 2006). However, little research has examined the ways in which custodial kin, non-custodial kin, and non-custodial fictive kin work together to provide social support to children and youth in the child welfare system. Thus, the current study seeks to add to existing literature by identifying distinct profiles of caregiving among these social support persons using the person-centered approach of latent profile analysis.

Results of the latent profile analysis indicated four optimal profiles: (1) Multigenerational Predominant Cousin (n = 13, 4.09%), (2) Bigenerational Lower Involvement (n = 224, 70.44%), (3) Bigenerational Predominant Fictive Kin (n = 34, 10.69%), and Multigenerational Predominant Aunt/Uncle (n = 47, 14.78%). Results suggest that amount and type of social support differs by profile, where children and youth in the Bigenerational Lower involvement profile experienced relatively lower levels of social support activities, those in the remaining three profiles experience higher levels of support that are spearheaded by specific caregivers. Additionally, while few demographic differences emerged across profiles, children and youth in each profile experienced significantly different social support activities. This suggests that social support persons use specific forms of social support activities in order to care for children and youth in the child welfare system. Implications for child welfare practice and future research are discussed.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.