Most people are aware of the role the foster care and adoption system plays in our community, but knowing how it all works is a different story.
When Child Protective Services (CPS) identifies concerns and a judge determines it is not safe for children to remain in their home, they call on agencies like PCHAS to provide Foster Care. Foster Care is intended to be temporary, so a team of professionals works swiftly to ensure the safety and wellbeing of each child. They also support the court in finding the best possible permanent outcome.
Foster Families are part of this team and provide children with safe, loving, nurturing care when they have to be away from their birth family.
While their children are in foster care, the birth family will be working to make their home and family environment safe so that the children can return. We call this Reunification and it is the initial plan for every child. The court aims to reach this goal within 12 months.
Keeping children connected to their stories is a high priority, so the team is also continually trying to find placement options with family or close friends, called Kinship Caregivers.
Foster Families focus on providing children with as much Normalcy as possible. That means sharing family meals, celebrating holidays, participating in extracurricular activities, going to church, and everything else that families do.
Foster Families also take children for Visitation with their birth family. A caseworker supervises these visits. They are vital because they help children maintain a connection with their birth family. They also offer Foster Families great opportunities to show respect for the whole family and to learn more about the children and their story.
While it’s never easy to say, “Good-bye,” Foster Families and PCHAS staff celebrate when birth families are restored and children can return home.
When this is not possible, the court often terminates the parental rights of the birth family. We grieve when a child’s story will contain yet another loss. Only then do we begin to focus on other paths, like Adoption, to provide permanency for children. Adoption is a commitment that parents make with children, joining their stories for the rest of their lives.
When children become legally available for adoption, the team usually gives their foster family first consideration. We call this Foster-to-Adopt or Foster-and-Adopt. Sometimes children become legally available for adoption without a forever family identified. The team continues working until they find a family that is best able to meet these children’s needs through a Matched Adoption.
If you’re thinking about fostering or adopting, you probably have a lot of questions. Our Foster Care & Adoption Guides are here to make sure you get the honest answers you need. Connect with us at 512-212-5700 or firstname.lastname@example.org.