Foster care is a system in which children who cannot live with their biological parents are placed in the temporary care of a foster family or a group home. The foster care system is intended to provide children with a safe and stable home environment while their parents work to resolve the issues that led to their removal from the home.
Foster care is overseen by state and local government agencies, and there are a variety of programs and services that support children in foster care and their foster families. These may include:
- Placement services: These services are responsible for finding appropriate foster homes or group homes for children who are in need of out-of-home care.
- Training and support for foster families: Foster parents are trained and supported by the foster care agency to provide safe and nurturing environments for the children in their care.
- Medical and mental health services: Foster children may have a range of medical and mental health needs, and these services are provided to ensure that children receive appropriate care and treatment.
- Educational services: Foster children may need additional support in school due to their experiences, and educational services may be provided to help children succeed academically.
- Independent living services: These services are provided to older youth in foster care to help them transition to adulthood and independence.
The goal of foster care is to provide children with a safe and supportive environment while their parents work to address the issues that led to their removal from the home. Whenever possible, the goal is to reunite children with their families. However, when this is not possible, alternative permanent placement options such as adoption or legal guardianship may be pursued.