When children need foster care, relatives are the preferred choice to care for these children. When family members step forward to care for a relative’s child, the child or children are able to retain a sense of belonging and acceptance.
Kids need time to adjust to living in a new home and with different family members. Depending on the situation with the parents they may feel abandoned, angry or depressed. Provide support for children as they work through feelings and encourage them to talk to you about their feelings.
Work hard to make sure a child feels accepted and loved in your home. Allow him or her time to adjust and to build a relationship with you. Continue to be loving and supportive, even if they don’t immediately respond to your efforts.
Try to establish a routine so the child knows what to expect and maintain a safe, consistent environment so the child can begin to build trust – something that may now be more difficult for him or her. It is highly recommended that you seek counseling for the child and at times you may need to participate in these sessions as well.
Facts and Figures
- Children placed with relatives have fewer behavioral problems three years after placement than children who were placed in foster care.
- Children in relative care were less likely to have unstable placements than children in foster care.
- There are more than six million children being cared for by relatives.
- Children living with relatives are more likely to remain in their own neighborhood, be placed with siblings and have consistent contact with parents than children in foster care.