About Foster Parenting
What is the difference between foster care and adoption?
- Foster care is a temporary arrangement for a child who cannot live safely with her birth family.
- Adoption is a legally binding transfer of all parenting rights and responsibilities to an adoptive parent forever. An adoptive parent's legal status is the same as if the child was born to him or her.
Children in foster care live with their relatives, foster parents or, if neither of these is available, in group facilities. Children are removed from their families due to neglect (such as not providing enough food for a child or leaving a child who is unable to care for herself alone) and/or physical, sexual or emotional abuse. In almost all cases, when children are removed from their parents, parents must be provided help so that they can safely parent their children. Slightly more than half of children who go into foster care return to their birth families. When parents are provided with help and they are still unable to parent safely and their children remain in foster care for 15 of the most recent 22 months, the state files with the courts to legally terminate the parents’ rights. The children then become available for adoption. Most children are adopted by their foster parents or relatives. However, if this is not possible, states try and find other adoptive parents.
How do I become a foster parent?
You can call AdoptUsKids at 1-888-200-4005 or request to be contacted by a team in your state or territory that can help you find a local agency. The foster parent licensing process is often similar to or the same as the process to become licensed to adopt. It requires preparation classes as well as an application process. The application varies but may include: a minimum age, verification that your income allows you to meet your expenses, a criminal record check at local, state and federal levels including finger printing and no prior record of child abuse or neglect; a reference from a doctor to ensure that all household members are free from diseases that a child could catch and in sufficient health to parent a child and; letters of reference from an employer and others who know you.
Reprinted with the permission of the Adoption Exchange Association. © 2002 - 2008 Adoption Exchange Association. All rights reserved.
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