Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




For youth involved in the Child Welfare System (CWS), maltreatment and ecological losses pose enormous challenges to healthy development. Kin and fictive kin involvement, a current CWS priority, may have the potential to aid in strength development; however, little is known about its role in this process. The current study explored the following aims: (1) identify the role of kin and fictive kin in strength development (2) investigate the impact of maltreatment on initial strength levels and their development over time and (3) examine the extent to which kinship involvement interacts with prior maltreatment to buffer the impact of maltreatment on strength development. Applying a four-factor structure of strength items from the Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) assessment, the current study investigated these aims in a CWS population (n = 300) across three time-points. Using Hierarchical Linear Modeling and Multiple Regression, results demonstrated that kinship involvement was positively associated with Relationship, Community, and School strength development. Maltreatment was negatively associated with initial Psychosocial, Relationship, and Community strengths and negatively associated with the development of Psychosocial and Relationship strengths over time. Finally, kinship involvement moderated the association of prior maltreatment on Community strength development. Future work should continue to explore how to apply these findings to promote wellbeing among youth involved in the CWS.

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.