Examining Needs of Informal Kinship Families: Validating the Family Needs Scale

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Families who provide informal kinship care are a critical part of child welfare, yet our understanding of their needs is limited due to the challenges of identifying the population. The absence of validated and reliable instruments for kinship families is an additional barrier. This study tests the psychometric properties and construct validity of the Family Needs Scale. A sample of 303 informal kinship families recruited through local child welfare and social services completed the scale as part of a demonstration project. An eight-factor structure emerged from psychometric testing. The FNS is strongly associated with other predictors of the needs such as income and parenting stress, suggesting the instrument's potential as a need assessment tool for kinship families. Further replication and robust analyses of the FNS structure will build stronger support for the scale as a needs assessment for kinship families.



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