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Prior work using nationally representative data of children in the child welfare system suggested that Latino foster parents were less likely to identify children in their care as having chronic conditions. Hispanics comprise over one-fifth of children in foster care, the majority of whom have special health care needs, and there is a growing need to recruit qualified Latino families into the child welfare system. Little is known about Latino parents’ health perceptions regarding chronic conditions, and potential reasons for differing identification rates of children with special health care needs. We conducted 17 home-based, in-depth interviews with Latino foster parents to explore health perceptions and cultural beliefs for children in their care around the concept of chronic illness. We found that Latino foster parents’ understanding of conditions that occurred “over and over again” related to emotional and behavioral health problems. In contrast, their perception of “chronic” was associated with terminal, biological conditions that had limited treatment options, such as cancer, HIV, and hepatitis. Latino foster parents did not interpret the survey question on chronic illness as it was intended, and their view of recurrent conditions did not reflect chronic health conditions. Developing survey questions that are culturally sensitive should improve accuracy in assessing chronic health conditions for this high-risk population. Sensitivity to cultural interpretation for this high-needs population is vital to enhancing communication between families and health providers caring for children in foster care.
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- Latino Foster Parent Health Perceptions of Chronic Conditions: A Qualitative Exploration
Sandra H. Jee
Mary Del Balso Salter
Nancy P. Chin
- Springer US