What is foster care?
Foster care is the temporary care of children whose families are having problems and the children cannot safely remain in the home. Children in the legal custody of the Department of Social Services (DSS) are placed in a licensed foster home or group care facility that can best meet their needs while their parents work with DSS to resolve their problems.
During this separation period, the department works first toward returning the children to a safe home environment. If reuniting with their biological family is not possible, then permanency is sought through termination of parental rights and adoption. Youths remaining in foster care receive assistance to make a successful transition into adulthood.
Who are the children?
Children enter foster care because they cannot remain in their homes and be safe. The children have unique strengths and needs. Some are experiencing a variety of social, emotional, and behavioral or physical difficulties because of abuse and/or neglect. The children range in age from birth to 18 years old.
Most children are in foster care temporarily. They need nurturing family homes for the duration of their stay in foster care.
Some children in foster care are waiting for adoption and are in foster homes, group homes, or treatment facilities. They need families who will give them a home lasting into adulthood.
Who are foster parents?
Foster parents are special people who recognize the special needs of children living in a troubled family.
With an investment of time, energy, love, and guidance, foster parents can make a difference in the lives of the children and families in need.
Individuals or couples can be licensed as foster parents. Foster parents receive financial reimbursement to meet the basic needs of the children. Children in the legal custody of DSS may also be placed with relatives that can provide full-time care (kinship foster care), protection, and nurturing. Relatives who become foster parents may access the same services for children as non-relative foster parents.