What is Foster Care?
Foster care is the temporary placement of a child between the ages of 0-18 who have been separated from their biological family. These children are placed in homes that are intended to foster their emotional,spiritual,and physical development in a safe,loving,nurturing,and consistent environment. Foster care is the process of restoring a child whose world has been unexpectedly turned upside down,who has been taken from the only family they have known and placed without choice in the home of a stranger. These children have been removed from their families due to sexual/physical abuse,neglect,or abandonment. The number one goal of foster care is reunification of the child and their family. However this is not always possible and the child may then be adopted by a state approved family.
Being a foster parent can mean you have a child anywhere from one day to many years. There are varying levels of fostering.
- Receiving care - These are licensed families that will receive a child anytime- day or night -when the child is first taking into custody and placed in the foster care system. The child will stay with the receiving family anywhere from 1-30 days (until a long term foster family that is a match for the child is found).
- Respite care - These are licensed families that will provide respite care or a "break" for long term foster families. Sometimes this is care for a few hours or for a few days.
- Long term care -These licensed foster families receive children into their home not knowing exactly when the child will be reunified or adopted. These families commit to fostering children anywhere from a week to many years. (Of course, if a child and home are not a good fit,the foster parents can request the child be placed elsewhere.)
- Foster to Adopt-These licensed families are not only licensed, but also get their adoptive home study done so that they are a family that is able to be readily considered for a pre-adoptive placement. These families are families that would like to adopt a child from the foster care system.
- What children can be adopted from the foster care system?
- Currently there are over 500 children in Washington State that are legally free and waiting to be adopted.
- Children that are in a dual track or fast track for adoption,along with reunification
- Any child who becomes legally free due to a parent(s) relinquishing their rights or their rights being terminated.