Foster Care Frequently Asked Questions

Foster Care Frequently Asked Questions

I'm not only the Host of the Digital Savage Experience Podcast and Founder of Nova Zora Digital, but also a foster dad who has fostered 29 kids since June of 2018.  I've learned a lot about myself, parenting, and the foster care system in that timespan.  Many people that haven't fostered have misconceptions about things involving foster care because they don't live it or see it first hand.

  1. What is foster care?

Foster care is a temporary arrangement in which a child is placed with a substitute family or caregiver when their biological parents or legal guardians are unable or unwilling to provide a safe and nurturing environment. Foster care aims to provide a stable, caring, and supportive environment for children in need.

  1. Who are foster children?

Foster children are minors who have been removed from their biological families or legal guardians due to abuse, neglect, or other circumstances that make it unsafe for them to remain in their homes. These children are placed in the foster care system until they can be safely reunified with their families, adopted, or transitioned to another permanent living situation.

  1. What are the different types of foster care?

There are several types of foster care arrangements, including:

  • Traditional foster care: A child is placed with a licensed foster family.
  • Kinship care: A child is placed with a relative or someone they have a pre-existing relationship with.
  • Group homes: A residential facility that houses multiple children in a more structured environment.
  • Therapeutic or treatment foster care: A specialized type of care for children with behavioral, emotional, or medical needs.
  1. Who can become a foster parent?

To become a foster parent, individuals or couples must meet certain requirements, which can vary by state or country. Generally, prospective foster parents must be at least 21 years old, pass a background check, complete a home study, and attend pre-service training. Foster parents should also be emotionally and financially stable and have the capacity to provide a safe, nurturing, and supportive environment for children.

  1. How long do children stay in foster care?

The length of a child's stay in foster care can vary greatly, depending on their individual circumstances and the progress made towards achieving a permanent placement. The goal is always to reunify children with their biological families whenever possible, which can take weeks, months, or even years. If reunification is not possible, adoption or another form of permanent placement becomes the priority.  The goal is reunification to begin with and often times the unofficial timeline for a first time case is a year based on experience.

  1. What are the challenges foster children face?

Foster children can face various challenges, including adjusting to new living situations, dealing with the trauma or neglect they have experienced, and coping with separation from their biological families. They may also face difficulties in school, developing social skills, and forming healthy attachments due to their often disrupted backgrounds.

  1. What support is available for foster parents and children?

Foster parents and children may receive various forms of support, including financial assistance, access to medical and mental health care, educational support, and ongoing training. Additionally, social workers, therapists, and support groups can offer guidance and resources to help foster families navigate the challenges they may encounter.

  1. Can foster children be adopted?

Yes, foster children can be adopted if reunification with their biological family is not possible or deemed to be in their best interest. In such cases, the child's legal guardianship is terminated, and adoptive parents gain full legal and parental rights and responsibilities.

  1. How can I get involved in supporting foster care?

There are many ways to support foster care, including becoming a foster or adoptive parent, volunteering with local agencies or organizations, mentoring foster children, donating goods or funds to support foster care programs, or advocating for policy changes to improve the foster care system.

  1. Where can I find more information about foster care?

To learn more about foster care, you can consult your local child welfare agency, non-profit organizations specializing in foster care, or online resources such as those provided by government agencies or national foster care associations.

  1. How many children are in foster care in the us?

Approximately 400,000 children in foster care in the United States, according to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This number fluctuates over time due to children entering and exiting the foster care system.

  1. How much does foster care pay?

Foster care payments vary depending on the location, the specific foster care program, and the individual needs of the child. Payment rates can differ from state to state and even within counties in the United States.

Foster parents typically receive a stipend or reimbursement to help cover the costs associated with raising a foster child, such as clothing, food, transportation, and other expenses. This stipend is not intended to be a salary or income for the foster parents but is meant to alleviate some of the financial burden that comes with providing for a child's needs.

Factors that may influence the payment rate include:

  1. Age of the child: Older children may have higher rates due to additional expenses related to education, extracurricular activities, or personal care items.
  2. Special needs: Children with physical, emotional, or behavioral challenges may require specialized care, therapy, or equipment, which can result in higher payment rates.
  3. Level of care: Some children need specialized or therapeutic foster homes, which have higher licensing and training requirements, and therefore may receive higher payment rates.

In the United States, monthly stipends can range from around $400 to over $2,000 per child, depending on the factors mentioned above. Keep in mind that these figures are subject to change and should be verified with your local child welfare agency for the most accurate and up-to-date information.

In other countries, foster care payment rates will vary based on local regulations, government funding, and other factors, so it's essential to research the specific rates in your area.

  1. How many newborns are in foster care?

The number varies as some parents come in real time and have newborns placed in foster care while other mothers are monitored and in the system ahead of time.

  1. What is tpr in foster care?

TPR stands for termination of parental rights.  Meaning the parent or guardian loses parental rights and the child is potentially able to be adopted.

Based on fostering 29 kids in 4 years, I've seen firsthand the cracks in the foster care system.  I've done my best to be an advocate for foster care reform.