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Grandparents, aunts, uncles and other relatives provide an important safety net for children whose parents are unavailable or unable to safely care for them. For many years, child welfare agencies largely overlooked relatives as resources for the foster care of children who had been abused or neglected.
Initially, relative foster care was seen primarily as an emergency response to provide care for children entering foster care. Over time, however, practitioners began to observe, and research confirmed, that many children placed with relatives fared better than children placed with non-related foster families.