Doctoral Dissertation Research: Parental Opioid Addiction and Kinship Care

Project: Research project

Project Details


This project examines kinship care of children as a result of parental addiction in the opioid epidemic. Recently, attention has been drawn to the secondary effects that the opioid epidemic has inflicted on families of drug users. One such effect has been a significant rise in the numbers of children living in kinship care arrangements, that is, placed under the legal custody of grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts/uncles, and other relatives. Data will come from interviews with and observations of the families of children who have at least one parent who has lost custody because of drug addiction. This research will illuminate the specific challenges that such families face and point to strategies that could help improve child, birth parent, and kin caretaker outcomes.

This study is based in one of the epicenters of the opioid epidemic, where nine percent of all children live in a kinship care arrangement. The sample will consist of 60 families, either currently or recently in a kinship care arrangement. Data collection will consist of two parts: interviews with members of these families and sustained observation of a subset of these families. Researchers will study how kinship care arrangements are formed, conceptualized, and experienced. Through tracking custody shifts, they also will investigate the interplay between the state and family.

This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

Effective start/end date7/1/196/30/21


  • National Science Foundation: $15,613.00


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