For children whose parents cannot take care of them properly, and this has been brought to the attention of child welfare workers, foster care is an alternative living situation for the child. Children in foster care may reside with family members such as grandparents, foster families, or in group homes. When children are placed into foster care, only about half of them are returned to their parents or other primary caregivers. Others are either adopted or age out of the system at 18, when they are no longer minors. Contact a lawyer to learn more.
As you might expect, many children placed in foster care suffer from immense psychological trauma. They have been ripped from their parents, most times through no fault of their own. They have essentially been made “orphans,” without their parents. As a result, they are often counseled and medicated with anti-psychotic drugs such as serroquil. This can have a nightmare effect on a child’s life. On top of dealing with a sometimes woefully inadequate foster care system that fails to protect them, they have to come to terms with being away from their families.
One recurring theme that keeps showing up in foster care is bullying. Kids that feel out of place and helpless may try to assert themselves on other children in the home, to establish their dominance and gain a feeling of control.
Yes, you read it right. Sometimes CPS, or the agency on charge of the foster care, neglects to run a thorough background check of all members of the household to make sure it is absolutely safe for the children being placed there. Or, Child Protective Services may do everything right when it comes to a safety check, but things fall through the cracks. An example of how this might happen would be a biological daughter of the foster parents has a boyfriend who is a known pedophile and she brings him to the house, unbeknownst to the parents.
An example of this might be if CPS checks everyone out and all seems safe, but the foster mother starts dating a convicted felon or a pedophile. She may even be unaware of this. The problem is, if she leaves that person around the children, unsupervised, the worst can happen.
Being a foster parent can be overwhelming. Period. You may be taking care of multiple children, some may have “elevated” needs, not to mention the rest of your life going on. It can be impossible to cope with at times- and foster parents may “lose it”! The unthinkable can happen: the foster parent becomes the abuser. Sometimes they may not even realize they are doing it. A foster parent may lock a child in a closet for hours or not feed them if they don’t comply with the rules. They may tie them to the bed. Simply put: the foster parents forgot they were dealing with a broken child and put their own needs in front of the child’s.
See the Horrific Case of a Former DHS Worker Who Killed her foster daughter
Children may enter foster care for any number of reasons; one or both of the parents are drug addicts, the parents are both locked up, the parents have abused or maltreated the children, or they just don’t provide the care the children need.
A newborn infant can be placed in foster care if a mother fails a drug test before or after giving birth. As horrible as this may sound, if a parent tests positive for drugs, it should be looked into, for the sake of the child. Basically, any child under the age of 18 years old can be placed in foster care, if the situation warrants it. If your child is taken from you by CPS, you will have your day in family court. This is certainly a time to have a qualified family lawyer by your side.
First and foremost is the immediate safety and well-being of the children. After this is taken care of, temporary care of the child is of primary importance. One of the main goals of foster care is reunification of the child with their parents, if this is practical. If it isn’t, other permanency plans must be explored by the agency and the court. Child Welfare Agencies’ goals are to make sure the child has a safe and stable environment to grow in, while the courts and parents sort out the rest.
Sometimes children go from foster care to being adopted. The parents may have decided they don’t want their children anymore, or the courts may have terminated their parental rights, for cause. Keep in mind that if your children are placed into foster care, you may eventually lose them – permanently. It’s not always the case, and some foster parents do a wonderful job, even better than the biological parents. Sometimes parents whose children are placed in foster care straighten themselves
out, follow all the court mandates, and eventually get their kids back. The goal of the court is to keep the family together, whenever possible.
A family court judge will ultimately determine if a child is to be placed in foster care. While Child Protective Services may initially remove a child from an imminently dangerous household, it is the court’s decision on whether or not the child will be returned to its parent/s, or remain in foster care pending further proceedings.
A CPS or DHS caseworker is assigned to the case. It is their job to carefully monitor the safety and progress of the child, including making sure the child is attending school, getting the medical care they need, and on the whole, making sure the child is well cared for. The caseworker will also make sure that court ordered visitation takes place. If the court orders supervised visits, the caseworker may monitor the visits, or another responsible family member may be allowed to do it. Sometimes, for whatever reason, a caseworker assigned to your child may neglect their duties. This neglect can result in harm coming to the child. Having a good family lawyer to make sure everything is on course can help prevent harm coming to your child while they are in foster care.
Four hundred seven thousand four hundred ninety-three children and teens were estimated to be in foster care in 2020. These kids lived with relatives in one-third of the cases. There are more boys than girls in foster care at any given time.
7% of children in foster care nationwide are infants, and this statistic has remained largely stable since 2005. Children ages 1 to 5 comprise the largest age group and account for one-third of all children in foster care.
In 2020, the percentage of babies in care at the state level was very consistent, ranging from a
low of 4% in Kansas to a high of 10% in Oklahoma and Arizona.
In 2020, 14% of children in foster care were between the ages of 16 and 20, and more than 40% were younger than six years old. The adolescent years are a crucial time in a child's development. Support services for adolescents in foster care are especially vital since young people require stability. However, older adolescents spend more time in foster care and experience more tranquility in their foster homes compared to their younger peers.
The typical length of stay in foster care in 2020 was 21 months. 54% of children in foster care remain there for between one and seventeen months. Just 6% of the children in care, or around 23,000 children overall, had been in the foster care system for five years or more as of September 2020.
How long children are in foster care is influenced by various factors. The child’s welfare, the family’s circumstances, and the existence of policies, programs, and services at the local, state, and federal levels that support reunifying children with their families are all taken into account.
Local and state agencies in America handle foster care and child welfare cases.
This method most likely plays a role in the significantly different experiences that children and families in foster care have across the country.
Across the nation, a few major trends have become apparent. Children of color, for instance, are overrepresented in foster care. Black children made up 23% of children in foster care in 2020 but just 14% of children overall. Native American and American Indian children comprised 1% and 2% of children in care, respectively. At the same time, although they made up around 50% of children, white children made up 43% of those in foster care.
Foster parents are adults who temporarily take on the responsibility of raising children who have experienced abuse or neglect or whose biological parents are incapable of doing so. Foster parents work to maintain normalcy for each kid in their care while preparing them for adoption or family reunion. Resource parents, often known as foster parents, are qualified and licensed by the state. They occasionally, but not always, have a relationship with the kids in their charge.
Some children in foster care live in group homes, sometimes known as congregate
care, rather than with their families. In this arrangement, staff members care for a
group of kids living together in a shelter, residential treatment center, or a similar
communal setting while working shifts.
Quality residential settings are essential components of any child welfare system.
Still, an excessive number of children are occasionally unnecessarily put in group
settings, leading to state, local, and federal reform initiatives.
The Family First Prevention Services Act, which Congress passed in 2018, sought
to reform the way child welfare monies are allocated. This law has reduced
funding for clinically unnecessary group placements and improved support for
keeping children in their families and preventing the need for foster care.
Fewer than 50% of children who leave foster care in recent years go back to their parents or a previous caretaker. One in four children was adopted out of foster care in the past two years, 2019 and 2020, while around one in six children left foster care to live with a relative or guardian.
Thankfully, the majority of kids who leave foster care do not go back. For instance: Administration for Children and Families data shows that only 18.5% of children entering the foster care system in 2018 had previously been in care. About 20,000 young people “age out” of foster care each year, and when they do, they frequently lack the support and connections they need to succeed as adults.
Compared to peers who have attained permanent residence, emancipated youth are more likely to report being unemployed and without a place to live. Additionally, they are much more likely to go through early motherhood and conception.