What is Foster Care?

Understand what foster care is, how it works, and how you can adopt a child from foster care.

Many of us have heard about the foster care system. Much of what we have heard focuses on the negative aspects of foster care and foster parents. Some of what we have heard is incorrect.

What the foster care system is: a temporary arrangement in which adults provide for the care of a child or children whose birth parent is unable to care for them. Foster care is not where juvenile delinquents go. It is where children go when their parents cannot, for a variety of reasons, care for them.

Foster care can be informal or arranged through the courts or a social service agency. The goal for a child in the foster care system is usually reunification with the birth family, but may be changed to adoption when this is seen as in the child's best interest. While foster care is temporary, adoption is permanent.

Adoption from the foster care system can happen in two ways. Foster adoption or fost-adopt, is a form of adoption in which a child is placed in an approved home, with the expectation that the child will become legally free and be adopted by those fostering them. Some children are not adopted by their foster parents. Their birth parents rights have been terminated, and they are legally free for adoption. A family can find out about those children through services such photolistings on Meet The Children.

We invite you to look through our resources to find out more about this type of adoption.