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NY Times: More Agencies Try to Place Foster Kids with Relatives

Carlos Lopez and social worker Liz Johnson search for relatives of foster children. Photo by Nicole Bengiveno of the New York Times.

Instead of finding adoptive homes for foster children, some agencies now try to place children with relatives when parents are not capable of caring for them.

The New York Times article, “Detectives’ quest: Find relatives of foster kids,” looks at the work of the Foster and Adoptive Care Coalition in St. Louis. That organization uses a detective and social workers to track down relatives.

“The lost relatives are a largely untapped resource for adoption,” director Melanie Scheetz said. “The system has overlooked all these amazing, strong people who are out there and willing to help.”

To read the full story click here.

To learn more about how social workers help foster children visit the National Association of Social Workers’ “Help Starts Here” Adoptions and Foster Care Web page by clicking here.

Q: When parents are not capable of caring for children, do you think it is better to place foster children with relatives rather than  non-related foster parents?

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  1. I think that should be common sense to place children with their relatives, but only if the relatives are decent and capable of providing for them.

  2. There is a long tradition among many ethnic communities of the informal placement of children among relatives and extended family members. This maintains a continuity in terms of family ties, language, diet and customs, as well as remaining in a familar settings of school and community. The public child welfare programs in Cleveland and NYC actively seek out relatives when a child is in need of placement and adoption. These programs have come to the realization that in order for these placements to succeed, the families require the opportunity to avail themselves of service and financial supports that are offered to non-related foster and adoptive parents.

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