Research Into Unaccompanied Refugee Minors in Family Foster Care: promoting adaptive functioning?

Roman Trenson, Johan Vanderfaeillie, Ann-Kathrin Thiele, Lenny Trogh, Frank Van Holen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Unaccompanied Refugee Minors (URMs) are at high risk for trauma and maladaptive functioning. Although foster care is best suited to come forth to their needs, obtaining a better understanding of the strengths and flaws of foster care for URM can help to improve their development and psychological wellbeing. Twenty-seven URM cared for in family foster care filled in questionnaires measuring trauma, behavioural difficulties, resilience and contact with persons from the home and host country, whilst their foster care workers assessed the quality of the living environment. URMs had more trauma symptoms than other immigrants and Belgian adolescents. Furthermore, compared to Belgian counterparts, levels of resilience were low. However, URM did not have more behavioural problems. The quality of the living environment in kinship care was worse than the quality in non-kinship foster care, and social support and cultural sensitivity were protective factors. This study found evidence for developmental risks for URM in foster care. Integration, social support and a connection with the home culture were protective factors. Contrary to other studies, no evidence was found of kinship foster care being preferential.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)86-95
Number of pages10
JournalChild and Family Social Work
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2023

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© 2022 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

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