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Foster Care provides a safe, nurturing, stable, and temporary environment for children who can no longer remain in their own homes due to the risk of abuse or neglect. This care may be provided by unlicensed or licensed relatives, as well as licensed non-relative foster parents. The foster parent and relative caregiver’s role includes:
1. Participating in Child and Family Team Meetings or Case Plan Conferences
2. Supporting the Case Plan goals
3. Participating in court hearings when notified
4. Providing for the child’s basic needs (e.g., food, clothing, and shelter)
5. Maintaining confidentiality
6. Supporting the approved Visitation Plan
7. Supporting the child’s positive identification with his or her family of origin
When possible, children are placed in close proximity to their families, particularly when reunification is the case plan goal. Placement may occur until reunification with the child’s family takes place or another permanent placement is established.
Permanency for a child means having a safe, stable and secure home and family, love, unconditional commitment, and lifelong support in the context of reunification, adoption, or legal guardianship, where possible. Permanency may occur when children are placed with members of their extended family in guardianship or adoption. Permanency may also occur when children become members of new families through adoption.
Once a family has met all of the requirements for licensure, a standard foster family home license will be issued by DCS for foster parents to provide care for appropriately matched children in need of a foster home placement setting. This requires 10 hours of Pre-Service training, along with First Aid, CPR, and Universal Precautions training. Fifteen hours of In-Service training is required each year to maintain this license.
Licenses are issued for a period of four years. Annual reviews are conducted by the Regional Foster Care Specialist in order to update the foster family’s personal information and determine that the family continues to meet the requirements for licensure.