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Foster Care Programs

Information on foster care programs and some foster care statistics. If you're interested in foster care parenting or adoption - read this article.

Most foster care programs are through state governments.  Every state has different requirements on what it takes for a person to become licensed to do foster care.  All states require some sort of training as well as home inspections.  States also require background checks and due to a recent law suit regarding foster care, all foster care providers need to have fingerprints on file with the state. 

Just because a person is a licensed foster care provider in one state does not mean that they are licensed in any other state.  The requirements for each state are quite different and your license will not transfer.       Naturally, if you have children placed with you, the state would most likely not allow the children to go with you should you decide to leave the state.  If the child has already been adopted through the foster care program then you can move wherever you like.

Foster care training is crucial.  Most states require a certain number of classes or educational hours.  These hours are so important.  The classes give insight to prospective foster parents as to what types of problems the children may have, what the statistics are, how to cope with foster children, and most of all, they give you the resources that you need to be aware of so that you are more able to help a child through the issues they will be dealing with.

In 2003, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported in the AFCARS report that the goals for the children in foster care were:
  Reunification with parents or caregiver 49%
  Live with other relatives    4%
  Adoption     23%
  Long term foster care     9%
  Emancipation      6%
  Guardianship      4%
  Case plan goal not yet established   6%

Prospective foster parents need to be aware that reunification is usually the main goal of the state.  Adoption is only considered after the termination of the parental rights (of both parents).  The requirements that the courts may impose on the parents of a child are done on a case by case basis, depending on the needs of the family.  The court also issues time frames in which these requirements are met.  All of these things, along with a waiting period in most cases, have to go well for a family to do reunification. 

Foster parents need to have the ability to cope with not knowing how long the child will be with you.  In most cases the foster parents are required to take children to visits with parents or caregivers.  Foster parents are also required to get all the needs of the child taken care which include medical and psychological.  States do give children Medicaid cards so that foster parents are not required to pay for the (sometimes extensive) needs of the child.  Depending on the state the foster parent may also receive monthly compensation for caring for the child.  This is never a lot of money and most states have begun to look at prospective foster parent's finance's to determine if people are only wanting to do foster care for the money they can get from the state.

For more information contact your state department of family services.

Related Article: Adoption Statistics >>

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