The foster care system operates under the auspices of the Division of Social Services which is a part of the Department of Health Care and Human Services A foster home may provide care for an emergency situation which renders the parents unable to care for a child, or may serve as more permanent or stable structure for children in need. If you are interested in finding a child to adopt from a foster home, or if you are trying to reunite with your child who have been placed in foster care, specific procedures should be followed under the guidance of the child's caseworker.
Locating a Child in Foster Care
Locate the caseworker(or social worker) responsible for your child. Contact the Division of Social Services in your state if you need information about the particular agency in charge of our child. Provide your child's name, your name, the particular details of the case, and the date when your child was placed in foster care. All foster children are assigned a caseworker to handle all the particular details. This is the case for private agencies as well as state run agencies. Private agencies are licensed by the state The caseworker is responsible for determining the special needs of the child and for finding suitable foster parents or a foster home. The caseworker trains the foster parents and determines when a child may be reunited with his biological parents.
Contact the caseworker for your child. Make an appointment with the caseworker to discuss the details of your child's case. The goal of the foster care system is to protect the child and to ultimately reconcile the child with his or her family. The foster care system encourages parents to stay active and involved in their child's lives even though the child is not currently living with them. Parents should attend medical appointments, sporting activities, school activities and continue to participate in their child's life. The caseworker will monitor the child and the parent -child relationship. The caseworker determines if and when reunification with the parent is desirable, however, a judge makes the final decision.
Schedule a possible reunification date with your child. Each case is different and some are more severe than others. Traditional foster care homes are designed to provide a home and safe environment for children from several months to several years. Other foster homes are only intended for short emergency situations, 24 hours to several days. The caseworker has information and authority to reunite you with the child or to delay reunification if she thinks the child is still in jeopardy.
Adopting a Child in Foster Care
Contact an adoption agency in your state. The number of adoption agencies varies from state to state. A list of adoption agencies may be found by contacting the Bureau of Child Welfare Services in your state or by looking them up in the local telephone directory.
Visit or telephone an adoption agency and inform them that you are interested in finding a child to adopt from the foster care system. They may ask you if you are interested in a particular age and if you are interested in adopting a boy or a girl. The agency will schedule a "home study" which involves a number of steps: (1) an interview with the caseworker to determine if you are qualified and meet state guidelines, (2) a background check, (3) a financial review, (4) at least one home visit by the caseworker to determine if the home is a suitable environment for a child.
Identify the child that you would like to adopt. After you successfully pass the home study evaluation, you are in a position to adopt a child from foster care. The adoption agency may assign you a child if one is available. You will be presented with a photograph and case history of the child and you will be asked to decide if your are interested or not.