Foster Care is a temporary living arrangement for children who need a safe place to live when their parents or another relative can not take care of them.
Once a judge determines that a child should be removed from his or her parent's custody and placed in foster care, the birth parents and child are assigned a social worker with the local Department of Social Services. The family's social worker develops a service plan which defines the steps necessary for the child to exit the foster care system. A "permanency goal" will be established and approved by the courts. Most of the time, the goal will be "Return Home." If families are unable or unwilling to make life changes to ensure the child's safety, other permanency options are investigated. Alternatives can include but are not limited to kinship care (placement with relatives), adoption or independent living.
Children who enter the foster care system have experienced trauma due to abuse or neglect by their caregivers. Some of the children are scared, confused and hurt. Many do not understand why they are not living with their families. Children may internalize the emotional pain and feel guilty, anxious or hopeless. However, children are resilient! They have the ability and desire to develop appropriate bonds with adults and parent figures.
Foster Families are individuals or couples who have a desire to make a lasting positive impact on the lives of children. Agencies may have different requirements, but in general you need to be in good health, financially stable, have clean background checks and have the desire to help children.