6 Things to Know About Foster Care in the U.S.
The system of foster care in the United States is one that has been in place for a long time. However, it is not without its flaws. Foster care is often a last resort for many children who have been abandoned, neglected, or abused and their parents are unable to take care of them.
The U.S has a large number of children in the foster care system. In 2016, there were over 400,000 children in the foster care system, but this number has been increasing and it is expected to continue to grow as more children come into contact with social services agencies due to economic pressures on families and other factors such as substance abuse.
1. What is Foster Care?
Foster care is the temporary care of children who are not related to or living with their parents. The goal of foster care is to provide a safe and nurturing environment for children until it is safe for them to return home or be adopted. Foster care can also be used as a type of intervention for parents who have violated certain laws, such as drug abuse, child neglect, and so on.
The foster system in the United States can be broken down into three different types:
2. Types of Foster Care
Public Agency Foster Care
Public agency foster care is a system where the government pays for the care of children who have been removed from their homes by social service agencies.
Public agency foster care is often used when the child’s parents are unable to take care of them due to some form of abuse, neglect, or mental health issues.
Private Agency Foster Care
These agencies are privately owned and operated by individuals who are licensed through the state. Private agencies provide a range of services to children, families, and communities. They may be linked to an adoption agency or they may be independent.
Private agencies are responsible for recruiting, screening and training foster parents as well as providing ongoing support to them. They also work with birth parents, adoptive parents, and other professionals in the community to find permanent homes for children that they have placed in foster care.
Private agencies are often more expensive than other forms of foster care.
Independent (or Kinship) Placement
Independent placement is when a child is placed with a family member or close friend who has no relation to the child by blood. This type of foster care is usually used when there are no relatives or friends to take care of the child, or if there are but they cannot take care of the child for some reason.
The goal of this type of placement is to keep the child close to their extended family and community.
3. What Are The Risks Associated With Foster Care?
There are many benefits to being in foster care, but there are also risks.
The first risk is emotional trauma. Many kids who go into foster care have had a rough life and the experience can be hard on them emotionally. They may have been abused or neglected by their parents, and the experience of being in foster care can be tough for them as well.
Another risk is physical safety. Foster kids may not have the same access to food or healthcare as other people, which can lead to illness or injury that would not happen if they were living with their biological parents.
For more risks associated with foster care, check out our blog post on 7 issues facing teens in foster care.
4. What Does it Take to Become a Foster Parent
Becoming a foster parent is not an easy task. It takes a lot of time, patience and the willingness to care for children who are not your own.
In order to become a foster parent, you must be at least 21 years old and you need to go through a screening process which includes:
-A home study with social workers and other professionals
-A criminal background check
-A drug test
-Interview with the Department of Social Services (DSS)
-Training on how to care for foster children and what is expected of them
If you are interested in becoming a foster parent visit the website www.fostercareamerica.org
5. Foster Care's Biggest Problems
The foster care system in the U.S. is a fragmented system that is overseen by different levels of government. This makes it difficult for the system to be efficient and effective because there is no one set of guidelines for all states.
The system is not designed to help children in the long term and instead focuses on short-term solutions, which are not sustainable.
Some of the biggest problems with the foster care system are:
- Lack of resources for children with disabilities
- Children aging out of foster care without a family
- Lack of support for young adults aging out of the foster care system
- Inappropriate placements and lack of safety for children
There are many ways to solve this problem: increasing public awareness for adoption, providing better protection for foster families and more financial support for them, and creating more opportunities for people to become foster parents.
6. Common Misconceptions About Foster Care
Some people mistakenly believe that foster care is a way to punish children, when in reality it is a way for the state to take care of children who are in need of protection. Foster care is not a punishment; it's an intervention.
Foster care is not just for abused or neglected children. It can also be used as a resource for children who have disabilities or special needs. In these cases, parents may be unable to provide the necessary care and attention that these types of children need.
Other misconceptions about foster care are based on the myths that foster parents are not qualified, foster parents cannot adopt the child, and that children in foster care are not well taken care of. These are general assumptions, and their truth varies per foster home and child.
How to Support Your Local Foster Care Agencies and Make a Difference for Kids Today
The American foster care system is in need of support. We can all make a difference by donating our time, money, or supplies.
Support us at Rezvan Foundation and help teenagers in foster care obtain the education they deserve by becoming a mentor or donor today!
Keywords: Foster Care In The US, What Is Foster Care, Foster Care, Foster Care System