Their father is accused of killing their mother. What happens to their three young boys?

The three young boys of Brian and Ana Walshe have lost their mother, allegedly by their father’s hand. With Brian Walshe charged with killing his wife and discarding her body,

many have worried who will care for the children, none older than 6, amid such terrible loss. Friends of Ana Walshe, 39, have said their main priority is to keep the

siblings together, and two said recently that they have urged the state’s Department of Children and Families not to separate them as the child protection agency decides their

immediate future. A DCF spokesperson said the children are in state custody but would not specify who is caring for them, citing state and federal privacy requirements. But

child welfare specialists said the agency would try to place the children with relatives or someone they know well if at all possible. Whenever a child is placed in DCF

custody, the agency’s first objective is to find “relatives or a trusted adult already known to the child” to serve as foster parents, which is known as “kinship” or

“child-specific” foster care, the spokesperson said. Placing children with a relative or trusted adult, such as a teacher, coach, or family friend, can provide some measure

of stability in a traumatizing situation, specialists said. Jacquelyn O’Brien, managing director of the children and family law division at the Committee for Public Counsel

Services, the state’s public defender agency, said it has become more common for children to be placed with relatives or another adult they know than put in foster care, in part

because of a shortage of foster families in Massachusetts.