Health Watch - Family Matters: Foster Families

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.


This week on Health Watch, we’ve been talking about planning a family, whether you’re trying to have a family now or planning not to have one anytime soon. But not all families are formed by giving birth. Some families come together when children need a home away from their parents.

Children who are mistreated at home may be sent to live with relatives or to a foster home. Those living with relatives generally fare better than those in a foster home, but may have a higher risk for substance abuse and teen pregnancy. Dr. Glenn Flores, a pediatrician at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says kinship caregivers tend to be single, unemployed, older and poorer than unrelated foster parents, and yet they receive fewer support services. Kinship caregivers may need additional financial support and services like parenting classes. Children living with a relative are more likely to be in a permanent home after three years and have fewer behavioral problems, but they still need to be closely monitored and mentored.

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May 2011


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