Foster Care

The Foster care is a program designed to provide a family life experience for a child at a time of crisis or need in their life. Court ordered placement in a foster home may be necessary when the child's family is unable or unwilling to keep their child safe at home. Placement with relatives or into a family with whom the child or his/her parents has a prior relationship is preferred. This type of placement is known as Kinship Care. If Kinship Care is not possible, placement into a traditional foster home occurs. Every effort is made by the Agency to keep siblings together while in placement. 

Foster care is time limited. Foster families make a commitment to nurture and provide parental care & supervision while working with Agency staff to assure a child's safety and well being for the duration of the child's involvement. 

The changing role of foster care

On November 9, 1997, President Clinton signed the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997, which includes these key principles: All decisions made must be based on the child's safety, permanence, & well-being. Although foster care is a temporary setting, our Agency practices concurrent planning. Concurrent planning means working in two directions at the same time. A plan to reunify the child with their natural family is implemented at the same time that an alternate plan for permanent home is created. The foster family will be asked prior to the placement of a child if they are willing to consider being a potentially permanent family, should the parents be unable or unwilling to complete the reunification plan authorized by the Court. While adoption can be an outcome for some foster placements, should birth families complete the tasks in the reunification plan, the child will return home. In other cases, relatives may come forward to care for the child. A foster child may be in placement for a period of 15 months out of the most recent 22 months. Once a child has met the 15-month time frame, unless there is a compelling reason, the Agency must petition for the termination of parental rights.

Visits between the foster child and the natural family (parents, siblings and/ or other important members of a child's life when ordered by Court) are required and play an important part in keeping the child connected with their family.

As a foster parent, you can expect reimbursement, dependent upon the child's age, for room and board, clothing and allowances. The child in your care will receive medical assistance. The birth parent, the Agency staff, and the Juvenile Court System jointly determine the length of time a child will remain in your home. The child's caseworker will discuss the anticipated length of stay prior to your foster child's placement and will assist you in planning for a successful placement experience.
The rewards of Foster Care include:

  • The satisfaction of motivating and preparing a child for the future.
  • The satisfaction of sharing your blessings.
  • The satisfaction of responding to the needs of children in your community.
  • An enriched family life.
  • Seeing a child thrive and grow in your care.
  • The time that a child may spend in foster care is limited, but the effect that foster parents have is endless.

Foster parents come from all walks of life. They are of all races, nationalities and economic situations. To meet regulatory requirements, Foster Parents must be:

Foster Parents must be:

  • 21 years of age
  • In good physical and mental health
  • Agreeable to the use of nonphysical means of discipline
  • Willing to meet foster parenting requirements as set by the department of Human Services
  • Willing to complete the home study process which includes favorable State and Federal Criminal and Child Abuse Clearances
  • Willing to attend training
  • Willing to manage the feelings and behavior of children who have had a difficult childhood
  • Willing to facilitate visitation and work toward reunification with the family 
  • Willing to work cooperatively with Agency caseworkers and other service providers
  • Willing to provide the care and safety essential to foster children
  • Willing to consider being a potentially permanent family resource, should reunification not be possible
For more information about becoming a foster parent call: (717) 780-7200 and ask for the Foster Care Program Manager.