FOSTER CARE OVERVIEW
During 2008, 25,230 children were in substitute care in Ohio. Foster care is temporary care given to a child that cannot remain in his home due to abuse, neglect or dependency. When a child is removed from his home, temporary custody of the child is given to the public children services agency. The child's caseworker will first attempt to place the child with a suitable relative to help maintain family bonds. When a suitable relative is not available, the caseworker will try to place the child with a suitable non-relative with whom the child or family has a relationship. If neither a relative or suitable non-relative is available to care for the child, the agency will place the child with a licensed foster family. The child's stay in foster care may last anywhere from one night to years.
If a child cannot be reunified with their biological family, the court will grant permanent custody to the agency. At this time, the foster child will become available for adoption. Many foster parents adopt the children placed in their care.
Agencies consider foster parents to be part of their child welfare team. They are asked to not only provide care for children in their home, but also to work with biological families for successful reunification with their child, provide respite care for other foster parents and some foster parents are asked to provide specialized care for challenging teenagers and medically fragile children.
Foster parents care and are needed for children of all ages, but currently there is an increased need for foster parents willing to care for:
- Newborns and toddlers;
- Sibling groups; and
A foster parent may be:
- Married, single, divorced or widowed;
- Male or female;
- With or without children of your own;
- A renter or home owner; and
- Employed or a stay-at-home parent.
To become a licensed foster parent you must be:
- 21 years or older;
- Committed to caring for children;
- Able to show your household has an income sufficient to meet the basic needs of the household; and
- Able to provide support and be a strong role model of positive family life.
To learn more about becoming a foster parent, please contact your local children services agency. A listing of all Ohio public children services agencies can be found at the following website: http://www.pcsao.org/AboutPCSAO/2010/2010PCSAODirectory.pdf