FAQs About Foster Parenting

Are you interested in foster parenting? If this is your first experience with the foster care system, take a look at what prospective parents need to know about child placement services, the benefits of opening up your home to someone in need, and the fostering process.

How Many Children Are In the Foster Care System?

The answer to this question depends on your state. Each state has its own placement services system. While the specific number of children in need of placement varies by area, the U.S. Administration for Children and Families notes that in 2020 there were about 407,000 children in foster care. This includes 117,000 children who were for adoption (placement in a permanent home).

Why Do Some Children Need Placement Services?

How do children end up in the foster care system? This system serves children who are in need of a temporary living situation. This includes children who the state or local welfare agency has removed from their homes or parents' care. Removal happens for a number of different specific reasons.

An unsafe living environment, neglect, or abuse are some top reasons for removal from a parent's care. Some children in the foster care system need temporary homes while their parents get the help they need to overcome mental health, substance abuse, or other serious issues. Other children may need permanent homes. According to the U.S. Administration for Children and Families, in 2020 parental rights were terminated for the parents of an estimated 63,800 children. 

How Can You Become A Foster Parent?

Again, each state has its own foster care system. This means each state has its own guidelines, rules, and application process. The first step is to verify that you meet all of the state's requirements. These requirements could include age minimums for foster parents (many states only allow adults 21 and over to apply), a medical exam that shows the prospective parents are free of communicable diseases and are physically able to care for a child, pass criminal and child abuse clearances, and possess the ability to provide a safe, healthy living environment/home for a child.

What Are the Benefits of Foster Parenting?

Do you want to make a difference in a child's life? The foster care system provides a way to help children in need. While you won't take the place of their biological parents, you will help your foster child through a challenging time, create a safe living space for them, and give them the chance to grow, develop, and learn without fear, neglect, or abuse.