Kinship care and service utilization: A review of predisposing, enabling, and need factors

Kanisha L. Coleman, Qi Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Research has shown that relative caregivers are less likely to use formal supports and services than non-relative foster parents. However, less is known about factors influencing kinship caregivers' help-seeking behaviors and service use. This systematic review identified research studies examining factors associated with service use among kinship caregivers using key search terms in five computerized bibliographic databases and four journals. The search identified 337 potentially relevant studies. After screening and study eligibility assessments, a final sample of 13 studies was reviewed. Findings suggested that although children and their kinship caregivers were clearly in need of services, service use was low. Results suggested a need for more rigorous research designs and that the following factors may influence service use: child behavioral problems, caregiver mental health status, resources, provider characteristics, caregiver perceived need, and social support. More research examining help-seeking behaviors, perceptions of formal services, and effectiveness of kinship caregiver services in relation to child outcomes is needed to improve the wellbeing of kinship families in the child welfare system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)201-210
Number of pages10
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Child welfare
  • Kinship care
  • Kinship caregivers
  • Mental health service use
  • Systematic review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Kinship care and service utilization: A review of predisposing, enabling, and need factors'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this