Foster care is a program designed to provide a substitute family life experience for a child who has been temporarily removed from his/her birth family. Resource families must meet state mandated requirements for approval. The primary goal of foster care is to reunite children with their birth families/previous caregivers and if this cannot happen foster care ensures that children leave foster care to a permanent placement.
Foster care is founded on the premise that all children have the right to physical care and educational and emotional nurturance. Becoming a Resource Family is very different than parenting biological children. Resource parents are trained by the Department and have legal obligations to the Department, the biological parents and the foster children.
The provision of foster care services is based on the belief that every child's most urgent need and right is to have a safe, permanent home and family of his/her own. When it is not possible for a child to receive the care, nurture and protection he/she needs from his biological parents, the opportunity for a substitute family life and substitute caregivers should be available to him/her.
The goals of foster care are:
To reunify the child to his/her birth family (or previous caregivers).
To place the child with relatives.
To place the child in a permanent home through adoption.