Foster care is a system by which a certified, stand-in "parent(s)" cares for minor children or young peoples who have been removed from their birth parents or other custodial adults by state authority.
Responsibility for the young person is assumed by the relevant governmental authority and a placement with another family found. There can be voluntary placements by a parent of a child into foster care. Foster placements are monitored until the birth family can provide appropriate care or the rights of the birth parents are terminated and the child is adopted. A third option, guardianship, is sometimes utilized in certain cases where a child cannot be reunified with their birth family and adoption is not right for them. This generally includes some older foster children who may be strongly bonded to their family of origin and unwilling to pursue adoption. It also may include cases where children are placed with grandparents or other relatives, where the placement is likely to be permanent but those relatives don't want to fight the birth parents in court. Voluntary foster care may be utilized in circumstances where a parent is unable or unwilling to care for a child. For instance, a child may have behavioral problems requiring specialized treatment or the parent might have a problem which results in a temporary or permanent inability to care for the child(ren). Involuntary foster care may be implemented when a child is removed from their caregiver because it is believed such removal is necessary for his/her own safety. A foster parent receives monetary reimbursement from the placement agency for each child while the child is in his/her home to help cover the cost of meeting the child's needs. The amount of financial assistance typically varies from state to state and even city to city.
Children found to be unable to function in a foster home may be placed in Residential Treatment Centers (RTCs) or other such group homes. In theory, the focus of treatment in such facilities is to prepare the child for a return to a foster home, to an adoptive home, or to the birth parents when applicable. But two major reviews of the scholarly literature have questioned these facilities' effectiveness.
Nearly half of foster kids in the U.S. become homeless when they turn 18.
Throughout the 1990s experimental HIV drugs had been tested on HIV foster children at Incarnation Children’s Center (ICC) in Harlem. "Since then, ACS has been under fire from charges of inappropriately enrolling as many as 465 foster children in HIV clinical trials. The agency has also been accused of racism, some comparing the trials to the Tuskegee syphilis experiment, as 98 percent of children in foster care in New York City are persons of color.
A law passed by Congress in 1961 allowed AFDC (welfare) payments to pay for foster care which was previously made only to children in their own homes. This made aided funding foster care for states and localities, facilitating rapid growth In some cases, the state of Texas paid mental treatment centers as much as $101,105 a year per child. Observers of the growth trend note that a county will only continue to receive funding while it keeps the child in its care. This may create a "perverse financial incentive" to place and retain children in foster care rather than leave them with their parents, and incentives are sometimes set up for maximum intervention. A National Coalition for Child Protection Reform issue paper states "children often are removed from their families `prematurely or unnecessarily' because federal aid formulas give states `a strong financial incentive' to do so rather than provide services to keep families together.
Time limits were in federal legislation as early as 1980, but they were never enforced. ASFA requires that the state identify a permanent plan for children who enter foster care.
Opponents of ASFA argued that the real reason children languished in foster care was that too many were taken needlessly from their parents in the first place. Since ASFA did not address this, opponents said, it would not accomplish its goals, and would only slow a decline in the foster care population that should have occurred anyway because of a decline in reported child abuse.
Ten years after ASFA became law, the number of children in foster care on any given day is only about 7,000 fewer than when ASFA was passed Children continue to languish in care and to be moved from placement to placement.
The Foster Care Independence Act of 1999, also created by Bevan, in association with members of Congress, AKA The Chafee Program, helps foster youth who are aging out of care to achieve self-sufficiency. The U.S. government has also funded the Education and Training Voucher Program in recent years in order to help youth who age out of care to obtain college or vocational training at a free or reduced cost. Chafee and ETV money is administered by each state as they see fit.
WLKY 32 News broke a story about mass corruption in child protective services.
In the last 24 months, family rights groups in North America and worldwide have been springing up, sharing the stories of children who face physical and sexual abuse in foster care and in the system.
Statistics show the 70% of the jail populaces have been in foster care.
In some cases children are placed in home-based care following a child protection substantiation and where they are found to be in need of a safer and more stable environment. In other situations parents may be incapable of providing adequate care for the child, or accommodation may be needed during times of family conflict or crisis. In the significant number of cases substance abuse is a major contributing factor.
There is strong emphasis in current Australian policy and practice to keep children with their families wherever possible. In the event that children are placed in home-based care, every effort is made to reunite children with their families wherever possible.
In the case of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in particular, but not exclusively, placing the child within the wider family or community is preferred This is consistent with the Aboriginal Child Placement Principle.
Respite care is a type of foster care that is used to provide short-term (and often regular) accommodation for children whose parents are ill or unable to care for them on a temporary basis. It is also used to provide a break for the parent or primary carer to hopefully decrease the chances of the situation escalating to one which would lead to the removal of the child(ren).
As with the majority of child protection services, states and territories are responsible for funding home-based care. Non-government organisations are widely used, however, to provide these services.
The Centre For Excellence In Child & Family Welfare has found that in Victoria the number of foster carers is declining while the number of children in care is increasing. This is putting a great strain on the foster care system of the state.
In Victoria, the largest provider of foster care is Anglicare Victoria, providing respite, emergency, long term and short term foster care, disability foster care and teenage foster care for children and youth up to age 18. Anglicare Victoria is currently involved in the Victorian Government’s pilot program in a move towards therapeutic approaches to foster care.
The effects of early chronic maltreatment are seen in various domains which may require a multi-modal approach that directly addresses the underlying causative trauma and which seeks to build healthy and secure relationships with permanent caregivers. These children may require specialized treatment.
Although foster care is one solution to protecting children from abuse, it is an imperfect system which is also associated with relatively high rates of abuse and risks. In Texas, the Family and Protective Services Crisis Management Team was created by executive order after the critical report Forgotten Children of 2004. Texas Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn made a statement in 2006 about the Texas foster care system. In Fiscal 2003, 2004 and 2005, respectively 30, 38 and 48 foster children died in the state's care. The number of foster children in the state's care increased 24 percent to 32,474 in Fiscal 2005, while the number of deaths increased 60 percent. Compared to the general population, a child is four times more likely to die in the Texas foster care system. In 2004, about 100 children were treated for poisoning from medications; 63 were treated for rape that occurred while under state care including four-year old twin boys, and 142 children gave birth.
The report stated that children were being unnecessarily neglected and abused and dying. A 12-year-old boy died in December 2005, suffocated while being restrained from behind by an employee of the facility. Another died May 30, after drowning in a creek during a bicycle outing. A three-year old was treated for poisoning from an atypical, mind-altering antipsychotic drug.
According to liftingtheveil.org, 28% of children in state care were abused in Baltimore. 21% of abuse or neglect cases involved foster homes In Louisiana. 57% of those in Missouri placed in foster care settings in 1981 were at a high risk of abuse or neglect. 25% of children in Kansas City foster care were the subject of abuse or inappropriate punishment. In Arizona, over 500 of an estimated 4,000 foster children, a figure representing at least 12.5 percent of the state's foster care population, have been sexually abused while in state care.
In the Wenatchee sex ring of the mid 1990s, a foster child who accused nearly every adult she knew placed with a detective sparked the one of history’s most extensive child sex abuse investigations. The investigations later fell apart with accusations of abuses by police and state social workers, and false confessions, child witnesses, and the discredited “recovered memory” theory.