Foster care is a system by which adults care for minor children or young people who are not able to live with their parents. Responsibility for the young person will be assumed by the relevant authority and a placement with another family found. The foster placement will be monitored until the biological family can provide appropriate care or the biological parental rights are terminated and the child is adopted. Voluntary foster care may be required in circumstances where a parent is unable or unwilling to care for a child. For instance, a child may have behavioral problems requiring specialized treatment or the parent might have a problem which results in a temporary or permanent inability to care for the child(ren). Involuntary foster care may be implemented when a child is removed from the normal caregiver for his/her own safety.
Foster Family Care is temporary care for children who are unable to remain in their own homes and are placed in the custody of the county children and youth agency by the courts. Foster parents are individuals who are committed to providing a safe, temporary home for children who have been abused and neglected and are unable to remain living in their own homes. Both public and private foster family care agencies recruit foster parents to provide these services for children. Each foster family care agency, including county children and youth services agencies, accepts applications from individuals interested in becoming foster parents.
Requirements to be a foster parent vary by jurisdiction, as do monetary reimbursement and other benefits foster families may receive. Foster care is intended to be a temporary living situation for children and young people. The goal of foster care is to provide support and care for the young person in order that either reunification with parent or guardian or another suitable permanent living arrangement can be facilitated. This may include an adoptive home, guardianship, or placement with a relative. At times, the bond that develops during foster care will lead to the foster parents adopting the child. In some instances, children may be placed in a long-term foster placement. For older adolescents, a foster care program may offer education and resources to prepare for a transition to independent living.
The children who come into your home will present both challenges and opportunities. The challenge is parenting children who have begun their lives under difficult circumstances. But the opportunity is that they are children for whom the love and care of adults can make a huge difference.
Foster parenting is about changing lives one child at a time. It is about believing and investing in the future.