Foster Care is a temporary living arrangement for children who are abused, neglected or dependent. They need a safe place to live when their parents or caretakers cannot care for them. Foster parents are substitute parents. This does not mean replacement parents because birth parents will always be a part of the child’s life. Foster care is a service to keep families together; not drive them further apart.
Foster Care Process
A District Court judge makes the decision that a child should be removed from their home due to the risk to the child. When a child comes into the custody of The Department of Social Services, the social worker, birth parents, and foster families work together to return the child home safely as quickly as possible.
The length of foster care varies from a few days to much longer; maybe up to one year or longer. Human Services Agency (HSA) is required to develop an Out of Home Family Services Case Plan with the family to identify the issues that brought the child into HSA custody.
The court monitors the progress of the family and approves when the child can return home. If the parent(s) do(es) not correct the conditions that lead to the removal of the child within one year, HSA can petition to terminate parental rights and the child can then be adopted.