Summary: Across the English-speaking world, child protection authorities are increasingly placing children with extended family rather than in foster care or residential care. Many more children are in such arrangements informally. A number of surveys of kinship carers have been conducted in recent years in Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. This paper systematically reviews these surveys to identify messages for policy and practice about the characteristics and support needs of kinship care families. Some comparisons are made with population studies of kinship care. The review will be of interest to Commonwealth and state government policy-makers, service providers and caseworkers, as well as kinship care families.