When Child Protective Services (CPS) identifies concerns and a judge determines that it is not safe for children to remain in their home, agencies like PCHAS are called upon to provide Foster Care. Foster Care is intended to be temporary, so every child is provided a team of professionals that work swiftly to ensure their safety and wellbeing and 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.Read More
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. This process is called 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 story is a high priority, so the team is also continually trying to find placement options with family or close friends. These people are called Kinship Caregivers.
Foster Families focus on providing children with as much Normalcy as possible. That means sharing family meals, holidays and celebrations, participating in extracurricular activities, interacting with teachers at the local school, taking kids to appointments, going to church, and everything else that families do.
Foster Families also take children for supervised Visitation with their birth family. These visits are vital to helping children maintain connection with their birth family and 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 for a child to leave, Foster Families and PCHAS staff celebrate when birth families are restored and children are able to return home.
When this is not possible, the court often terminates the parental rights of their birth family. We grieve when a child’s story will contain yet another loss. Only then do we begin to focus on other options, 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, their foster family will almost always be the first considered. This is what is commonly referred to as Foster-to-Adopt. There are some children that become legally available for adoption for whom a forever family still needs to be identified. The team continues working until they find a family that is best able to meet the children’s needs through a Matched Adoption.Read Less